#4 of 14 Places to Visit in Colombo
Distance (From Colombo Fort Railway Station): 5 Kms
Trip Duration (Including Travel): 30 Mins
Place Location: Near Beria Lake
Transportation Options: Cab / Auto
Travel Tips: Like most temples, visitors are required to dress conservatively that means no sleeveless tops and shorts.
At a distance of 1.5 km from the National Museum and 5 km from Colombo Fort Railway Station, Gangaramaya is an ancient Buddhist temple located in Colombo. Situated near Beria Lake, it is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Colombo and among the most important places to visit as part of Sri Lanka Packages.
Gangaramaya Temple was started by the famous scholar-monk Hikkaduwa Sri Sumangala Nayaka Thera in the late 19th century CE. After the Venerable Sri Sumangala, Sri Jinaratana Nayake Thera took on the administration of the temple and convert the little temple to an institute of international reckoning. It is much more than a temple in the conventional term, but a place of worship, a seat of learning and a cultural center.
The Gangaramaya Temple is a unique blend of architectural styles from Sri Lanka, Thailand, Chinese and India. It is exceptionally beautiful with the Beira Lake on one side and statues & carvings paving the way inside. It features a Vihara, the main temple, Cetiya (which is a pagoda), Seema Malaka which is the assembly hall for monks, the Vihara Mandiraya, and the relic chamber where all the relics are stored. The main sanctuary has a huge Buddha statue while the ceilings portray his stories. The exterior of the temple is boldly decorated in elaborate designs and golden adornments.
The temple's most distinguishing feature is its treasure-trove museum that holds numerous colorful Buddha statues in different positions like sitting, standing, sleeping and meditating, made of metals like bronze and gold. The temple museum proudly houses the smallest Buddha statue on the island, carefully encased in a glass box, which visitors can view with a magnifying class. It also houses buddha's hair, colossal ivory tusks, ancient manuscripts, old paintings and gifts from devotees like expensive cars, watches, ornaments, and artifacts.
Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple has a replica of Borobudur temple of Central Java, complete with Buddha figures and stupas. There is an old bodhi, which was first planted as a Bo sapling brought from Maha Bodhiya in Anuradhapura. Besides, one can also visit Seema Malakaya, another temple opposite to the Gangaramaya Temple on the calm waters of Beira Lake. It is a suitable place for meditation and observing some moments in peace. It is part of the Gangaramaya Temple and is connected to the mainland via pontoon bridges.
The main religious event held here is the Nevam Perahara procession held on the poya day (full moon) every February. Hundreds of monks take part in the procession in which sacred relics are carried in a casket on the back of a highly decorated elephant.
Timings: 6 AM - 8 PM
Entry: Free for locals, LKR. 300 for Foreigners