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Cafe Buzzinga.. Cafe in Whitefield

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Bangalore Restaurant - Cafe Buzzinga Review
Last weekend I visited Cafe Buzzinga.. I used to always watch it while driving down to Kundalhalli from Whitefield .. so decided to try it out this weekend.
The name sounds offbeat and the place looked hippie from outside - so we went in. The parking is also available inside the galli.. which is an important factor to go to a restaurant.

Ambiance : 3/5 
This a home converted to a cafe.. a small sitting area inside and a large area in the open. The place looks offbeat with some weird cartoon character pictures on the wall.. bright lights inside and a dark natural light outside. The challenge with sitting outside was that there were mosquitoes.. the restaurant had put lots of mosquito coils under each table so the smoke from that was overpowering. This mixes with the smoke coming from hookah on tables.
Inside also there is sitting area, which is much quieter, covered with bright walls and images. The inside sitting is a small space, with only 2-3 tables. 
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Food : 3.5/5
This cafe offers western cuisine - The menu has Pasta, fries, Soups, Sandwiches, burgers, lasagna, Roasted chicken platters and much more. Zomato says they do not serve alcohol, but when we visited, we saw they serve wine and sangria. Many people were having wine along with Hookah. 
We have a young kid, so we avoided the hookah, but I noticed that people were really enjoying their wine, hookah and chicken.

We ordered a Cheese sauce Pasta and a Grilled chicken plate
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Chicken Grilled with peri peri sauce and served with 2 sides - French Fries and Onion rings : This was lovely. The platter was huge for one person to finish. The chicken was tender and well marinated in  sauces. 
The fries were also good, Onion rings were too oily apparently. Except Onion rings, the rest of the stuff was pretty good. 
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Alfredo Penne Pasta : Good cheesy sauce, with veggies and served with some bread. 

Service : Overall good, but a bit slow. The number of customers were more than the number of attendants. We had to remind the waiter many times before he could actually bring our meal. 
But the good thing is that the owner, a nice lady, is also there in the restaurant, she will ask if we enjoyed our meal and what is the feedback.

Price : Our bill was around INR 700/- for the above 2 dishes. The portion size of food is pretty good.

Location 1, Bright Farm, Thubarahalli, Varthur Road, Whitefield, Bangalore
When we go from Hope farm junction towards Kapoor's Cafe, this restaurant comes on the left side. Google Maps location is correct.

Overall I think it is a good place to hangout, I would love to visit there again.
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My Rating - 3/5

Cafe Buzzinga Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
P.S : All pictures on my blog are original and clicked from my iPhone 6. I visited this place with my family and paid for my food - the review is authentic !!

Around Bangalore.. Ideas for the long weekend

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Kabini backwaters
The next weekend is a Long weekend (Good Friday) and the best thing about Bangalore is that there are so many places nearby that it is worth to get out and get moving for the long weekends. 
I thought of compiling a list of all places that I have been to for a 2 day or a 1 day outing.

I have also linked each of the list to the detailed posts on my blog - in case you need more details to plan your trip

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Kabini
1. Kabini : This place has a charm of its own - Kabini Backwaters are known for its diverse wildlife and quiet atmosphere away from the hustle of the city.  This is around 210 Kms from Bangalore and only ~60 kms from Mysore.
We went there by our own car and stayed at Jungle Lodges. They have a 1 night and 2 day package which includes food, Nagarhole forest safari and a River safari. 
It was an amazing experience and I would recommend everyone to go there. This trip can be planned over a weekend, but bookings for stay have to be done in advance.

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Nagarhole Jungle Safari
2. Nagarhole Forest : Relating to the above post, the Nagarhole forest is an adventure in itself. 

Nagarhole forest is at the edge of karnataka and kerala border, and many of the fellow travellers have encountered this place on the way to ooty or wyanad or southern coorg. But what we see while passing through it is just tip of the iceberg, the wildlife and density of this forest is immense. Animals live in their natural habitat and can be visited during the Nagarhole safari.
There is a huge difference between the jungle safari at Nagarhole or Bandipur forest v/s the one in Bannerghatta national park. Here we are in an open jeep, in the midst of a jungle and we have to literally search for animals. The surroundings are more genuine and a bit scary too.

The distance from Bangalore to Nagarhole national park is 224 kms. The best way is to drive your own vehicle or take a hired cab. Public transport is not that great.

My Trip to Nagarhole National Park - Detailed post

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Butter falls @ Chikmagalur
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The iconic restaurant in Chikmagalur
3. Chikmagalur : This is a hill station with major attractions being the home-stays with coffee plantations, driving on the hills, and waterfalls.
Total distance from Whitefield Bangalore to Chikmagalur ~250 Kms
We drove our Honda Amaze from Bangalore and reached there in 5 hours.
Key places to see in Chikmagalur are Mulyanagiri (highest hill top), Baba budnagiri (another hill top) and Buttermilk falls

More Details about my trip to Chikmagalur
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Belur Temple
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Vishnu Varaha avtar @ Belur Temple

4. Belur Historical temples : In connection with Chikmagalur, there is another place Belur which is known for its famous Hoysala architecture temple. This can be visited on the way to Chikmagalur or a full day Trip can be planned to visit here. You can do a morning-evening run for Belur - overnight stay is not required. 
This is around 220 Kms from Bangalore and 30Kms from Chikmagalur. Many people plan day-trips to this temple and believe me, it is totally worth it.
It was built in 1117AD by King Vishnuvardhana and it seems this place was build to celebrate their military victory. You could find a lot of art-work covering their National emblem, Horses, Lions and war symbols. There is a main temple of Lord Vishnu and other small side temples of other deities. The main temple has 48 pillars and each pillar is unique in design and art. Outside the temple, each wall has a story to tell.. going around looking at those stone sculptures and figuring out the story which fascinated the artists of that era is indeed a magical experience.

Detailed post about Belur on my blog
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Periyar Lake in Ooty
5. Ooty : This place needs no introduction, it is by far one of the most popular hill stations in Tamil Nadu. Ooty is around 280 Kms from Bangalore. Known for its Tea gardens, Lakes and botonical gardens, Periyar Lake, it never stops attracting tourists.
Avoid during Peak season as it gets too crowded. 

Here is the detailed article on Ooty Trip
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Shivasamudram Falls

6. Shivasamudra Waterfalls are one of the most beautiful attractions around Bangalore. It is ~140 kms from the city and is the second biggest waterfall in the country. River Kaveri divides into two branches and each branch cascades down rocky cliffs as the Gaganachukki and the Bharachukki, both are one km away from each other. These spectacular waterfalls are surrounded by hill forests of the Kaveri Wildlife Sanctuary.

My Trip to Shivasamudra Waterfalls

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Rananathittu Bird Park

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Baby Crocodile @ Ranganathittu bird watching

7. Ranganathittu Bird sancturary : This Bird Sanctuary is located 140Kms from Bangalore, we visited here on our return journey from Shivasamudram falls - so this could be clubbed together. The best time to go to Ranganathittu is Feb-March because there are umpteem birds and even migratory species could be seen in this season.
We went in August - just after rains, so birds were less and the pool was full of water.
Nonetheless we enjoyed a lot, some pics here...

Here is the detailed article on Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary

8. Nandi Hills : Guess every Bangalorean has been here, so how could I miss such a beautiful place my list of Weekend ideas. Nandi hills is a beautiful hillstation in Bangalore. It is around 60-70 kms from the city and is an awesome picnic spot in any weather.. We drove to Nandi hills by our own car Honda Amaze, the drive is superb, easy (a bangalore road driver can manage the turns/ghats) but need to be careful in monsoons as the roads get slippery and visibility is limited.
There is a Karnataka tourism bus also which had a 1 day tour to Nandi hills.

My trip to Nandi Hills - detailed post
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Nandi Hills
9. Bannerghatta national park is not very far from Bangalore, just 20 to 30 kms range, depending on where you stay in the city. It lies towards the south of the city, in the hills of Anekal range. A small portion of this park is part of the zoo and safari, which can be visited by everyone on a ticket.
I found safari was a bit expensive but they take you to the inside of the jungle and closer to tigers, lions, bears, deer and more animals. The zoo is also nice with all animals under enclosures. I particularly found the butterfly park very beautiful.

Here is the detailed article on Bannerghatta National Park
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Bannerghatta National Park
10. Lalbagh Gardens : This is located within Bangalore - If you do not want to go anywhere outside Bangalore as it is a challenge to find quiet places and good hotels on long weekends - head to the Lalbagh gardens to spend your day. Leave early morning and reach by 8 or 9AM to avoid crowd and also to avail parking. You can also try Namma Metro - the Lalbagh metro station is very near to the west gate

Detailed article on Lalbagh Gardens on my blog
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Rose Garden @ Lalbagh

P.S:  All Pictures in this blog are original and clicked from my phone and camera

Chianti : Italian Wine and Dine in Whitefield

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Spinach and Ricotta Raviolli in Mushroom sauce
Yesterday I went to Park Square mall, since it is the closest to my place and I had not been there since its renovation. I stumbled upon this new place called Chianti, checked quickly its rating on Zomato and decided to try it out.

My kid enjoys Italian menu as it has a lot of cheese and low spice as compared to many of the Indian or Chinese cuisines. Chianti Restaurant is located on the Ground floor, besides Bakasur restaurant, you can enter from inside the mall or from outside (there are two entry gates).
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Food: 4/5
The food was delicious. The menu is completely Italian, not a Indianised version of Italy. It has stuff from Pasta, pizza, breads, bruschetta, soups, Risottos, Lasagnas etc.
As soon as we went there, every table has a DIY sheet on how to create your own Garlic Burschetta. The waiter got us some complimentary stuff for us to create our own Bruschetta.
First you rub your bread with garlic clove, then with Basil leave, then with Cherry tomato and finally drizzle some Olive oil to it.
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DIY your own Bruschetta
It tasted amazing and also gave us something to do while we waited for our food to arrive.
Then he got us some complimentary breads fresh from the oven along with some flavored butter, these were so soft that we devoured them.

Margarita Pizza : Traditional Pizza with Basil, Olive oil, Tomato sauce and lots of Mozzarella cheese.  I always order this as my little one loves a pizza with only chesse an no toppings
Very soft with chunks of mozzerella cheese and drizzled with some olive oil top. It was thin crust.. a slightly different taste but nice.
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Margarita Pizza
Ravioli Di Spinachi E Ricotta : Fresh homemade Ravioli stuffed with Spinach and Ricotta, served with mushroom and cream sauce. This was very well made, Spinach was complimenting the taste of Mushroom sauce.. enjoyed this dish

They also have different varieties of wine, but I did not try any of it.
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Spinach Ravioli in Mushroom and cheese sauce
Ambiance: 3/5
Nice quiet place. Well maintained, soft music in background. The lights are dim and the interior is woody brown shades. Good, but could be perked up for the younger crowd I believe

Service : Good service and fast too. The waiters knew many details about the menu and recommended us the Ravioli dish. Complimentary breads were too good!!

Price: The cost is at par with other Italian joints - a bit pricey I would say, but the food makes up for it. For the Pizza and Ravioli - we paid ~INR 1000/-
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Complimentary breads
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Location : Located at the ground floor of Ascendas Park Square mall on ITPL Main Road.
By the way, the parking in this mall is free on Saturdays and Sundays (on the purchase of something from the mall). If you will show the bill from restaurant in the parking lot, the security will waive off the parking charges. We did not know it, so left the bill at the restaurant and ended up paying 40 bucks.

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Ambiance of this place
Overall it was nice, and I would go there again!!
P.S : All pictures are taken from my iPhone 6
Chianti Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Colombo Trip..Part 2..Culture..Shopping..History.. Sri Lanka

This post is a continuation of the previous post on  Colombo trip where I had written about the city, places to visit, hotels and other info about this place.
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Lion statues @ the Independence square Colombo
As part of our Sri Lanka Itinerary.. we traveled to Colombo from Kandy by car (this took us about 3-4 hours) and stayed in Steward hotel. We had booked a car for our entire trip - starting from Colombo Airport and ending back at Colombo.
**Many people have reached out to me asking about the car booking, you can ping me on fb or connect with me on my gmail id, I will send you the driver's / agency phone number.

The first day in Colombo we visited the Gangaramaya temple and Galle Face green where we did lots of kite flying. (Details on Part 1 blog)
The next day we headed after breakfast to tour the city and also planned some time for shopping.
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Colombo Town Hall
Colombo Town hall :
This is the Mayor's office, which houses the administrative staff of the Colombo Municipal Council. The building is impressive and worth a photo-stop. It is not allowed to go inside, and if you take too many clicks or spend more that a few minutes, the security guards will start questioning you.

Viharamahadevi Park : This part is just opposite to the Townhall building, so you can visit both these places together. This is very green and quiet. Despite of being a weekend, we did not find any tourists or locals in this place - serene, quiet and very clean.
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Viharamahadevi Park
National Museum : Very close to the Viharamahadevi park, the National museum of Sri Lanka. This is one of the top listed places to visit on Tripadvisor - However, we always get bored in museums, so we decided to skip it.

Nelum Pokuna (Lotus Art) Theatre : This looks very beautiful - and my camera could'nt do justice to the actual look of this place. This is a performing arts center, and there are shows held for which you can buy tickets and visit this place.
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Lotus Art Theatre
Road-side Painters :
All the above attractions are very close-by within 1 kms radius. As you leave from this theatre, you will find a street which is full of Paintings. There are painters who can also make portraits of you. These look very beautiful and in-fact we even got down to see if we could buy them. The prices are reasonable - they will give the canvas roll to you. However, for international tourists, the concern is how do you carry this without getting crushed in the flight.
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Paintings of Sri Lanka
Independence War Memorial (Also known as Independence Square) : This is indeed the best place I found in Colombo. Vast empty gardens, greenery spread wide, and beautiful memorial hall. The best place about Sri Lanka is that it is extremely clean and not crowded at all (except some of the Buddhist temples). You can sit here for hours exploring the ponds, flags and green landscape.
Totally Loved it.
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Independence War memorial
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Lush Greenery at Independence sqaure
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Water ponds at Independence memorial
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Memorial Hall
Shopping : The first question is what to shop from Sri Lanka for your family and friends. Before I went there, people told me it is a Shopping haven. There is a currency advantage, so you can almost afford anything and shop a lot. Let me break the myth - I did not find Sri Lanka cheap or my currency being an advantage.
Things are reasonably priced, but they are definitely not cheap. Infact, many of the clothes are labelled as "Made in India" - so why buy it from Sri Lanka??
Nonetheless, we did end up exploring Shopping outlets and ended up stocking something for our family.
Odel Mall : This is a Hi-fi mall, with all the branded stuff. Clothes, Shoes, Designer bags, Food, Souvenirs everything is here. But the cost is equally high - I did not find any local Sri Lankans shopping at this place, all were tourists especially western tourists.
The food outlets outside this mall are pretty good, they have some Indian thali also which was quite nice.

Paradise Road : You will find lots of Off-beat stuff here for Homeware, designer items, collectibles, candles etc. This is good for buying small gifts for your friends back in India. This is a small store, so you can wrap this in half-hour.

House of Fashion : Have you been to Mega-mart or Big Bazaar in India. Yes, this is the Big Bazaar of SriLanka. This is on the way to the Airport, so we wrapped up everything, and on the way to the Airport, stopped by here and stocked the shopping bags. Lots of stuff, from toys, to candles, to specialized soaps, organic spices, Clothes, stolls, shoes, bags everything. It is reasonably priced. Look for the labels before you buy (as lots of stuff says 'Made in India').

Tea: When in doubt what to buy, the Sri Lankan tea is very popular. Some of the key brands being Dilmah, Ceylon tea, Zesta and many more. These can be purchased from any Supermarket in Sri Lanka. I brought lots of Dilmah tea for my family and myself. It is very good.

Post this, we headed to the airport and back to India. So this is the last in the Sri Lanka Series. I might write some more about the Budget of the trip and how to self-plan the Sri Lanka itinerary in a different blog post :)

Other Articles in the Sri Lanka Series :

1. Sri Lanka Itinerary
2. Bentota - Beach town
3. Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
4. Kandy
5. Sigiriya.. Ravan's fort
6. Dambulla.. Caves and Golden temple
7. Colombo Trip Part 1

P.S : All pictures in this article are original and clicked from my DLSR D5300 camera and iPhone 6 :)


Oregano Soul food.. Quiet little Italian cafe.. Whitefield

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Creamy Mushroom Risotto in Butter Chicken sauce
Its Friday again and every weekend I go out and try a new place in Bangalore.. Last weekend, I stumbled across this small little cafe in Whitefield called Oregano Soul food. Checked the ratings and went ahead for the evening.

Ambiance: 3/5
Low profile ambiance. Very quiet.. this is a house converted to a cafe.. so I could see a few tables. It is open with a shed on top.. so cool breeze made the mood for the day. Lights are dim and there is a mild music. Seats are wooden, nothing special.
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Food : 3.5/5
The menu is very limited - some smoothies, coffee, Snacks, sandwiches, Pizza, Pasta, Risotto etc. The pricing is very reasonable and menu is short and sweet. 
We ordered the following :
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Peach Smoothie with Cheese toast
Peach Smoothie - Nice sweet milkshake with Peach flavor

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Cheese Chilli Toast
Cheese Chilly Toast : It was more like a soft cheese bread, but very tasty though

Mushroom Risotto with butter chicken sauce : This was the best of all - very tasty, I suggest this is a must-try thing on the menu. The Risotto rice was very soft and creamy with lots of boiled mushrooms. The butter chicken gravy was amazing and mixed with the risotto rice, it was just magical. 

Margarita Cheese Pizza: This was nice, thin crust pizza with good cheese. But it was normal, not out of the world.
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Pizzaaaaa !!!
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Outer facade of Oregano Soul food
Price : I think it is reasonably priced. My bill for the above (Pizza, Cheese toast, Risotto, and Smoothie) was ~ INR 700

Location : Whitefield, Behind the new Brigade Lakefront. Coming from Hoodi, take the turn after Madhura office or before the Petrol pump. It is a small cafe inside that lane. Or you could follow Google maps - it is correct.

Address
61, Seetharampalya - Hoodi Road, Whitefield, Bangalore
Overall my rating : 3.5/5P.S - All pictures are taken from my iPhone 6 camera.


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Oregano Soul Food Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Colombo Trip : Sri Lanka's commercial capital_Part1

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Me @ Galle Face Colombo
Colombo is the largest city in Sri Lanka and is the modern commercial capital as well. During our Sri Lanka trip, this is the landing destination and cannot be skipped. So we allocated 2 days to this beautiful city for our itinerary. 
In many ways, this city reminded me on Bombay (India), as it has a sea-shore, port and is bustling with people all around you. The only difference being, it is much more cleaner and greener than our Mumbai.

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Gangaramaya Temple
It has a large harbor area and hence this city has always had a strategic importance in the Asian trade routes. You can see there is construction going on everywhere, on all sides, tall buildings are being created, a new port is being constructed, flyovers are being done and skyscrapers are looming all over the horizon. Our driver told us that Colombo is getting a lot of funding now from China which is causing a free hand for developers to build the modern infrastructure. In fact China is even constructing a port for them - for Free (our driver said this). This is something to think about.

Moving on to my trip. 

How to Go :
Colombo is closer to the airport, there are buses and taxis to and fro from the airport to the Colombo city.

International Airport (Bandaranaike Airport) -> Colombo city = 35 kms
Kandy to Colombo city = 133kms (3.5 hours)
Bentota to Colombo city = 81 kms (2 hours)

During our Trip itinerary - we circled from Colombo to Bentota to Kandy and back to Colombo. We left at Kandy in the morning after breakfast and check-out and reached Colombo around 3pm.

We checked into our Hotel in Colombo, freshened up in 1 hour and went for sightseeing.

Where to Stay :
There are plenty of hotels in the city for various type of travelers. We wanted to stay closer to the city and in a nice 4 star hotel, so we booked Hotel The Steuart by Citrus
Well, it was not great like a resort, but definitely a good hotel in the proximity of the beach and places to go. You can walk over to the Galle Face green, Clock tower, and the various amazing restaurants nearby. 
The place is quiet, they have a pub downstairs but its not noisy.
The room was really big and spacious - and I enjoyed my stay.

Places to Visit :
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Ganyaramaya Temple Diety

The most popular place to visit in Colombo is the famous Buddhist temple - Gangaramaya. This is around 3-4 kms from the city.

Gangaramaya Temple : 
http://www.bootsandbutter.com/We were lucky to visit this temple on Poya day (Buddhist prayer day), the temple was very crowded and there were people praying all over. There are immensely beautiful images of Buddha in its various forms. The temples in Kandy, Dambulla etc were very peaceful, but this one was different.
Anywhere you see, there were images of Buddha and other deities, there was not a single wall which was plain. They have a room (sort of a museum) inside which hosts 1000's of Buddha's, from all over the world, some in gold, crystal, metal, stone, granite, marble and what not. 
I am a person who is too overwhelmed with physical images and that too so many, so I couldn't focus on my prayers and ended up clicking pictures and exiting the temple.

There is also a huge Bodhi tree, this is supposed to enlighten us, hundreds of devotees were taking rounds of this temple and putting water onto the tree. There were prayer announcements on the loud mike.
Point to note - this is a Buddhist place of worship, so carry a stole and cover yourself up if you are wearing shorts, skirts etc. Even for men.

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The Part 2 of Gangaramaya temple - in middle of the lake
Once you exit the main temple, there is another Gangaramaya temple Part 2 - which is around 300 mts walk from the main temple. As you start walking, you will see a lake, this temple is situated in the Lake, with a pathway.
This was very beautiful indeed. 
They will charge tickets separately at both temples - well, but on Poya day these places are so crowded, that no one bothered to ask us anything and we did not have to buy the ticket.

After these 2 temples, we went to Galle Face Green.. this is a Beach.

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Galle Face.. Rocky beach
Galle Face Green : I don't know why it is called like that, but this will definitely remind you of the Juhu beach in Mumbai. It seems as if the whole city has come to enjoy the evening breeze here. It is very windy and hence the popular sport on this beach is Kite Flying. You will notice hundreds of kites lining the sky and you will be tempted to buy one. 
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Got this Sri Lankan Traditional dress :)

There are stalls setting the typical lobster fry wrapped on the Paratha. Being Indians, we were terrified at the sight of Lobster fry hanging on all the stalls. We asked the guy to give us the paratha and chutney without the lobster :) It was unhygienic but tasty.

Kite flying was a lot of fun !!!
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Thats my Kite!! High up in the sky
We enjoyed the late evening on the beach and then walked over to our hotel. 
The hotel is located on the Dutch hospital area, where they have some of the best restaurants in town. Ministries of Crab is located there, but it is very expensive.
There is also a Burger King and a food court just opposite to the hotel. The streets are safe and quiet at night.

The next day we went around the city, visited the Independence memorial, Theatre, museum etc. and also went shopping as well.
I will write that in my blog Part 2
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Prime Minister's residence @Galle face
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Twin towers of Colombo.. nearby to the hotel
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Ganyaramaya temple on Poya day
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The sacred Bodhi tree
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Clock Tower

Other Articles I have written on Sri Lanka