A city that boasts of cultural diversity and tradition blending with progressive values. The city with a tropical climate that can be visited any time of the year. A sprawling city that is cosmopolitan and traditional at the same time. That is Colombo for you.
After my 3-day stay in Colombo, I am back with heartfelt experiences that are sure to linger on.
I wanted to start my trip with the Independence Memorial Hall and that is where I began. A national monument built for commemoration of independence of Sri Lanka from British rule, Memorial Hall was built at the location where the formal ceremony marking the start of self-rule – opening of the first parliament – occurred on February 4, 1948. Located at the head of the monument is the statue of the first prime minister of the country Rt Hon Don Stephen Senanayake "Father of the Nation." Currently, it is a venue for religious events and annual national day celebrations.
Gangaramaya Temple was my next stop. This bustling temple complex has a library, a museum, and an extraordinarily eclectic array of bejewelled and gilded gifts presented by devotees and well-wishers over the years (plus one lonely and chained temple elephant named Ganga). Gangaramaya is the focus of the Navam Perahera on the February 'poya' (full moon) day each year. This is the centre for the most extravagant Vesak celebrations in Colombo.
Next was a quick stop at the Beira Lake. It is said that this lake is one of the most prominent landmarks in Colombo as it is located right at the centre of the city. The lake was believed to be much bigger over a century ago, however as of today, it has been scaled down to about 150 acres as a result of the rapid urbanization.
On the east side of the South Beira Lake is where the Seema Malakaya Meditation Centre is located. Just like the name suggests it is used for meditation and rest by most of the people. Here I was able to witness foreigners and nationals taking some time off from their busy itineraries to take a breath or two, reminding me that is in essential to take everything one step at a time.
My last stop on the second day was the Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque. Very appealing to the eyes, it is nothing compared to the mosques we usually see around. It was a showstopper with its candy-striped red and white brickwork.
The last day of my 3-day trip was solely restricted to get my adrenaline pumping and so, I headed to the beautiful and breathtaking Hikkaduwa town. The scenic beauty of this gem of a place truly took my breath away. Hikkaduwa is known for its strong turf and beaches. It was a truly an overwhelming experience to paddle through the turf waves and being able to get a foothold on the 9-feet board and surf right up to the shores. It was an experience that I will definitely come back for.