Gangaramaya Temple in Colombo is one of the popular Buddhist shrines in Sri Lanka built in the early 19th century. Although a recently-built edifice, Gangaramaya Temple showcases a stunning architecture works and brilliant artistic representation. Set against the backdrop of Beira Lake, the temple is home to a plethora of worth-seeing places and entities like statues and carvings. Easily reached, Gangaramaya Temple is essential for a perfect Colombo visit.
In addition to a captivating amalgamated architecture of Thailand, Chinese, Sri Lanka and Indian styles coupled with Buddhist and Asian cultural essence, Gangaramaya Temple has a plethora of attractions to show its visitors. There are several carved sculptures and paintings studded across the passages and the interior of the temple with the ceiling is furnished with the stories of Buddha. The temple infrastructure is defined by the main sanctum with a Buddhist statue, pagada, an assembly hall (Seema Malaka), and an antiquity chamber. There are a museum and a library as supplements to the cultural showcase of the place. The surrounding Beira Lake enhances the beauty of location all the time.
It was in the late 19th century, Silva Jayasuriya Goonewardane Mudaliyar, who was a famous shipping merchant in the country, has decided to put up a temple for the Matara Sri Dharmarama thero when the Buddhist culture needed to survive the hardships from the colonial period. Although he found an appropriate place, he had to splash out a large amount of money to prepare the land for the construction. Initially, the temple was named the Padawthota Gangaramaya Viharaya. Mudaliyar has erected several edifices on the premises like a Chaitya, a thorana, and a 'Sandaka pahana'. Much of the architecture was modeled on those found in Anuradhapura.
One of the best-visited tourist attractions in the capital city of Sri Lanka, Gangaramaya Temple is located on Sri Jinarathana Road in Colombo. From Colombo city, the temple is just two Kilometers away; go for a cab or tuk-tuk. If you are heading from the airport, you shall have to commute in a car or bus for one hour to reach; take Colombo - Katunayake Express Highway E03. The nearest bus station is Gangaramaya, on Sir James Peiris Mawatha street. The temple is open from early morning to 10 in the pm. Although there is no fee to visit the temple, you shall have to pay LKR 100 to take a tour of its museum.
When visiting Gangaramaya Temple, you have to be a bit considerate about your outfit. Your trousers should be covering the knees and sleeveless tops are not recommended. Long-sleeved shirts and shorts are perfect for wearing inside the temple, especially women! If needed, shawls and cloths are provided to cover your exposed portions of the body. Remember taking photos inside the temple is not allowed, but you can request sanction. Entry is free of cost but you have to pay for visiting the museum. Beware of getting ripped off by tuk-tuk drivers sometimes.