Asia,

Colombo Trip : Sri Lanka's commercial capital_Part1

7:44 PM Sneh Asnani 2 Comments

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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

2 comments:

  1. Great pictured and I enjoyed reading about Srilanka. It's on my list so I am going to bookmark this post and come back to read it all over again :)

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    1. Thanks a lot Parul :) I am big fan of your blog and read it regularly!!

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