commercial capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo is a city which holds the
fascination of the visitors with its harmonious blend of East and the
West as well as the old an the new. The city is noisy and frenetic, but
an easy place to find ones way around.
Regular international flights connect Colombo to all the important
cities of the world. The airport is at Katunayake, 30 min away from
Colombo. Also, it is a prime international sea port of the country.
From Colombo to Other Spots
Since domestic air connectivity is not available in Sri Lanka, the
favourite option for the tourists for commuting from Colombo to other
places is the railway. Buses are available too, but more often than not
they remain stuffy.
Places to go and Things to
Originally a simple fort during the Portuguese and the
Dutch periods, it has now emergd as the commercial nerve centre of the
city. Within the Fort there are several places of interest which can be
accessed on foot. The colonial buildings the Presidential Secretariat,
the Grand Orient hotel, built as a barrack for soldiers in the the 19th
century, the Lighthouse an dthe clock Tower.
Adjacent to Fort, it is the main shopping hub of
The oldest and the largest park in Colombo,
it is a riot of colours with flowering plants blooming from March to
May. Also a feast for the eyes is the Cinnamon Gardens, where the
elegant tree lined streets houses the palatial residences of the ruling
11 kms from the fort, this zoo has a rich
collection of flora and fauna from all across the world. It houses the
famous Mini Medura , an aquarium displaying over 500 varieties of
Galle Face Green:
This promenade on the sea face is the
favourite haunt for children, teenagers, lovers , vendors and all those
who want to indulge in their past time activities under the open sky.
Prominent centres of Buddhist importance are Vajiramaya
temple at Bambalapitiya, Raja Maha Viharaya at Bellanwalia and Gotami
Viharaya at Borella. There are also Hindu temples like the Kathiseran
temples at Pettah, dedicated to the war god Skanda; Sri Poonnambalam
Vaneswaram temple at Koch-chikade and Sri Bala Selva Vinayagar temple at
Colombo 10, dedicated to Lord Siva and Ganesha.
St. Peters Church near the Grand Oriental Hotel,
Wolvendaal Church at Wolfendahl Street are some of the oldest Churches
in Colombo which attract tourists of all faiths. Among others, mention
may be made of the famous Church of St. Anthony at the intersection of
the Sea Street and St. Anthonys Mawatha.
Two most famous mosques of Colombo are Jami-ul-Alfar
and the Memm Hamafi mosque, both located at Dr. C.W.W. Kannangara
Mawatha. The former is a red and white candy striped mosque dating back
to 1909 while the latter is a more traditional grayish one.
Colombo National Museum:
Showcasing the entire cultural heritage
of the country, this museum housed in a grand colonial building is the
first and the finest public museum in the country. Located at Sir Marcus
Fernando Mawatha, it remains open everyday from 9 AM to 5 PM except on
Apart from this, there is the National History Museum in the same
premises; the Dutch Period Museum at Pettah and the Bandarnaike Museum.
Slave Island: It has a varied picture consisting of elegant stores,
office buildings, Churches, the important Buddhist Gangarama Temple, a
residential colony as well as filthy stinking slums. Anyone looking for
peace of mind can visit the Sima Malaka meditation island which belongs
to the nearby temple.
Anyone yearning for a beach holiday will be sent
into ecstacy by the sandy beach and the ebb and flow of the waves at
Mount Lavinia, 8 miles away from the city. However, because of strong
undercurrents swimmers are forbidden from venturing into the sea.
Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya:
It is the most significant Buddhist
temple lying 11 kms away from the Colombo fort. It dates back to more
than 2000 years and contains images of reclining and preaching Buddha
along with frescoes depicting incidents from his life.
For the tourists taxis and tourist cabs are the best ways to commute
within the city. Tourists are advised to fix a fare beforehand.
Auto-rickshaws are also available.
Best Bargains: Leather products, Jewellery.
Where to Buy?
The most popular shopping complexes are- Crescat Boulevard, Landmark
and Liberty Plaza, all at Colombo- 03; Hilton JAIC Tower, Colombo- 02;
Majestic City and Unity Plaza at Colombo- 04.
The Night Crawlers at Peril!
Colombo has a lacklustre night life. But those with a fetish for night
life can step into the various Night Clubs, Casinos and Cinemas.
Colombo offers excellent staying facilities for the tourists. Check out
the various hotels ...