Colombo fascinated me by simplicity of the people, and the roads cleanliness…even a stray piece of trash will surprise you, serene beaches, local boys playing football so passionately, Buddhist temples and their architecture is a mix of Sri Lankan, Thai, Indian and Chinese.
I went to Colombo as a Business Development manager from my ex-company, though my ever wayfarer soul didn’t left any chance to explore the city even it was a two days trip.
1st day: 5 Am (IST) I still have 4 hours to meet the client. I was craving for my morning tea. But, hotel restaurants were not opened yet. Then I remembered Dilmah a very famous Ceylon brand. Bingoo!! I found it in my hotel room kitchen.
Finishing my exotic Dilmah cup of tea, went to the beach which is facing my hotel room. Local boys are laid back, some playing football, few kids learning scuba diving. Realized, despite being poorer county than India, Colombians (Srilanka) have no lack of zeal and finding out all opportunities that mother nature provided!
Winding up the client meeting at 4 PM, first thing galloping for a cold shower since it was little humid in mid November. Thought to visit Gangaramaya Vihara Temple which was just 7 Km away. A ride on auto-rickshaw to remember!!
This Buddhist temple includes several imposing buildings and is situated not far from the placid waters of Beira Lake on a plot of land that was originally a small hermitage on a piece of marshy land. It has the main features of a Vihara (temple), the Cetiya (Pagada) the Bodhitree, the Vihara Mandiraya, the Seema malaka (assembly hall for monks) and the Relic Chamber. In addition, a museum, a library, a residential hall, a three storeyed Pirivena, educational halls and an alms hall are also on the premises.
Gangaramaya serves not only as a place of Buddhist worship; it is also a centre of learning. The temple is involved in Buddhist welfare work including old peoples’ homes, a vocational school and an orphanage. The temple is uniquely attractive and tolerant to congregation members of many different religions. It has also been instrumental in establishing the Buddhist temple on Staten Island (U.S.A.) the Buddhist Center in New York and the Buddhist Centre in Tanzania, thereby helping to propagate the Dhamma in other countries.
The Sri Lankan elephant is the largest of all the Asian elephant. Sri Lankan elephants are highly intelligent, self-aware, social, emotional as well as strong. It is reported that they move to safer places when natural disasters occur. A classic example is that in 2004 when the tsunami hit the island, elephants that were roaming in the coastal areas at the time had moved inland moments before the tsunami reached after sensing the looming calamity.
I know the best way to observe them in wild! But, just had to visit an Elephant orphanage in post haste.
Shopping and Food: Day 2: Post meeting
Tranquilness on Mt Lavinia Beach:
Mt Lavinia is one of Colombo’s more laidback suburbs filled with great restaurants on the golden beach and is named after Lovinia, the gypsy dancing girl who had a secret romance with one of Sri Lanka’s governors.
Some Last Minute Shopping : One of Sri Lanka’s best kept secrets is the shopping opportunities in Colombo –sleek department stores and cool shopping malls are filled with designer clothing, shoes and handbags, plus handicrafts, home furnishings and more.