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iXiGOers Dec 09 2012

Which are the popular religious attractions in and around Colombo?

Benazir Khan DEC 10 2012
0 people found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

Colombo can easily be a classic example of a city that saw growth with the infrastructure with time but never left the spot it started from, its roots. Was it too heavy? Even if it was, fortunately that’s the truth. There are so many religious sites in Colombo that you will be thoroughly bewildered as to what should be your first stopover during the visit. Deeply rooted as I said, the city offers some of the best Buddhist and Hindu Temples. But that’s not it. It also has some very nicely built mosques and churches which explain the ultimate metropolitan feel that you get once you step in the city. Aren’t you excited to know more about these religious attractions? So, without further ado, here are snippets of what you really need to know.

  • Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara

    Located in Kelaniya, around 7 miles from Colombo, is considered to be one of the oldest Buddhist temples dating back to 500 B.C. Mahawansna, a historic poem written in Pali talks about the original stupa that had a gem studded throne on which Buddha sat and preached. Buddhists believe that the temple was hallowed when Lord Buddha came to Sri Lanka for the third and the final time. The temple also features a grand statue of reclining Buddha and several paintings that chronicle different life events of the lord. It is an important centre during the festivities of Duruthu Maha Perehera every January. Also, the temple has come to worldwide notice since an 18 foot long stone statue of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara has been erected at the temple.

  • Gangaramaya Temple

    Located on an island in Beira Lake, this temple is one of the most prominent ones in Colombia. Famous for featuring a blend of Thai, Chinese, Indian and Sri Lankan styles of architecture, this temple is visited by a large number of tourists and locals every day. The temple is known for displaying the main features of a Vihara, the Vihara Mandiraya, the Cetiya (Pagada) the Bodhitree, the Seema malaka (assembly hall for monks) and the Relic Chamber. Not only that, there is also a museum and a library which is also a treat in itself. Interestingly, the complex does not only act as a temple, it also is a hub of social welfare through an old age home, an orphanage and educational centres.

  • Isipathanaramaya Temple

    The temple that is often known for giving a tranquil experience to anyone visiting the place, Isipathanaramaya Temple is a sure shot chartbuster for any traveller. a combination of small temple and a museum, this temple complex is famous for the numerous Buddha statues and carvings on the walls. It also features various frescoes which add another level of charm to the whole experience. The calm that you feel when here is something which every traveller looks for in a visit to any religious spot.

  • Vajiraramaya Temple

    This temple is undoubtedly one of the most prominent Buddhist temples in the city. It is not only because of the grand statues of Buddha or the beautiful architecture of the place; it is also because it has been a centre of Buddhist learning since a century now. Vajiraramaya Temple is the place from where different groups of monks have taken the responsibility of spreading the message of the religion to the western countries. Not only that, the temple is amazingly built, grand in its nature and has a deafening silence associated with it. Don’t worry! It’s not that scary! You can still whisper in the temple.
    The temple is also a centre of learning to hundreds of Buddhist children in the form of a school on the weekends.

  • Sri Kailawasanathar Swami Devasthanam

    Believed to be one of the oldest Hindu temples in the world, Sri Kailawasanathar Swami Devasthanam has shrines dedicated to Lord Ganesha and Lord Shiva. Known for its rich architecture and historic values, this temple is the centre for celebrations during the harvest festival of Thai Pongal. This festival is celebrated in January every year which is the most vibrant time for the temple complex without a doubt.

  • Temple of Tooth Relic

    This is really an interesting one! A temple that has been a topic of discussion since couple of centuries is partly responsible for making Kandy, a city very close to Colombo, a World UNESCO Heritage Site. It houses the relic of the tooth of Buddha. Since the construction of the temple, it has been a centre of local politics as it is believed that whoever holds the tooth relic holds the power to rule/govern. Heavy stuff!

  • St. Anthony’s Church

    This church is going to blow your mind off with the beauty of architecture and religion together it has to offer. You might find queues of devotees here waiting for offering prayers to St. Anthony who is said to be endowed with majestic powers. You also might find mothers bringing in their pubescent daughters to protect them from any evil spirit and their actions. Photography is not really appreciated here.

  • Wolvendaal Church

    Built in 1749, this church is said to be one of the most popular Dutch buildings in Sri Lanka. How the church got its name is an interesting story. The time when the church was built, there was wilderness all around the complex. There, the Europeans mistook a pack of jackals for wolves and hence it was called Wolf’s Dale which translated into Wolvendaal in Dutch. Quirky, isn’t it? The stone floor at this church has tombstones of five Dutch governors. The paintings on the walls and also the statues that are offered with prayers are finely made and add a divine charm to the place. You have to experience the aura for yourself, words don’t do justice to them.

Not only this, you can also explore several mosques such as Borella Jumma Mosque and Jam Ul Far Mosque.

Such a religious city! You would have never imagined that an urban city such as Colombo would be full of such fine examples of religious inclinations and most importantly history.

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