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Holiday in Columbo: The 5 Must-See Sights of Sri Lanka’s Capital City

Sri Lanka sculpture (photo: 4Neus)

Sri Lanka sculpture (photo: 4Neus)

Columbo, Sri Lanka – How could one choose anything to see or do in this wonderfully cultural city, with its beautiful array of architecture and diverse religions?

Luckily, I have come across a few things that might help you to see the full spectrum of things to see during your holiday in Sri Lanka. Enjoy!

1. Temples

The Pettah area of Columbo is home to three Hindu Temples – The Goneshen, The Old Kathiresan and the New Kathiresan.

Each are intricately carved with beautifully coloured doorways; the Old Kathiresan and New Kathiresan Temples are both dedicated to the war-god Murugan, who is sometimes referred to as Skanda.

It is an area definitely worth checking out in the months of July and August, as this is when the annual Hindu Vel festival is in full swing.

During this time Pettah is used as the starting point for the religious procession where a large chariot is dragged to various Hindu Kovils temples on Galle Road.

Personally, this one would be a must for me as it is filled with colour, culture and even an experience you don’t have everyday, however, if you’re criminally insane and are not impressed with these spectacular temples there are some jewelry shops along the way.

2. National Museum

A spectacular white building which encases the long and rich history of Sri Lanka. The Natural History Museum is also included at the back of the property.

At Sri Lanka’s National Museum, the ground floor alone could intrigue you with the history of this astonishing place; the history lesson starts in the prehistoric era through to the present day; the history rooms have information ranging from politics to architecture and literature.

Upstairs, there are plenty of different displays available to observe, including watercolour paintings of Sri Lanka’s landscapes and a gigantic skeleton of a blue whale suspended from the ceiling.

There is an admission fee of Rs 500, and there are no personal cameras allowed inside, but you can check them in at the door. Be sure to check out the gift shop on your way out!

The National Museum should well and truly be considered as one of the key tourist attractions for anyone planning Sri Lanka holidays.

3. The Elephant Orphanage

In the north western town of Kegalla sits a wonderful discovery for anyone who loves animals. Pinnawela Orphanage is situated halfway between Columbo and the ancient royal residence, Kandy.

Established in 1975 this twenty-five acre orphanage is also a breeding ground; Pinnawela holds the largest herd of Elephants in the world, currently consisting of seventy-five impressive beasts.

Originally it was designed to give care and protection to baby elephants that were found in the jungle without their mother, who was either absent or dying (think of Dumbo and it's sad!).

There aren’t many elephant orphanages and this one just so happens to be one of the largest in the world, and thus it is definitely worth a look.

4. Cinnamon Gardens

Picture wide avenues lined with majestic trees, colonial mansions and shaded boulevards – sounds amazing, well readers its real.

The cinnamon gardens, built from the massive profit made by the spice plantations, are a definite must see for anyone with eyes, really.

To tempt you, I will divulge that there are some of Columbo’s most fashionable and exclusive shops, cafes and bars here. At the centre of the Cinnemon gardens is the Vihoramahdevi Park which is the city’s largest open space.

The only thing to watch out for is that Cinnemon Gardens house Sri Lanka’s richest residents who seem to like armed guards stood outside their homes who are of course trained professionals.

5. Sri Pada

Sri Pada (or Adams Peak) is regarded as a very sacred and holy site by Buddhists, Hindu’s, Christians and Muslims.

This amazing mountain stands at 7353ft and at its peak there is an indentation which resembles a footprint.

This supposed footprint of Buddha/Shiva/Adam/St. Thomas (they like to argue), is covered by a very handsome roof and is guarded by the priests of a very wealthy monastery, who reside halfway up the mountain.

Take note that there are many, many steps to reach the footprint and it takes several hours however there are rest stops along the way. Peak pilgrimage is in April.


This post was provided in partnership with Travelbag.

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