One of the most prominent Buddhist temples in Colombo city, Gangaramaya Temple houses an extensive collection of artefacts and crowds. Located in the bustling inner-city Colombo, nearby the picturesque Beira Lake, this fascinating temple complex is simultaneously a massively popular tourist attraction, a sacred place of worship and a learning and vocational training centre.
Established over 120 years ago, this once little hermitage nestled on a piece of marshy land, has transformed into a must-see attraction. Hordes of people, including local and foreign devotees gather at this bustling space, which is neither tranquil nor serene but rather fervently revered for its embellished architecture and statues showcasing Sri Lankan, Chinese, Thai, Burmese and other artistic styles.
Boldly embroidered in elaborate designs and golden beautification, the exterior of the temple exhibits various statues including Buddha, lions, nymphs, and china vases placed randomly.
Standing like sentinels at the door, two medium-height golden Buddha statues guide the throngs to the main sanctuary of the temple. A magnificent work of art and craftsmanship, the door with intricate wood carvings of elephants and swans is reminiscent of the island’s ancient artisanship.
The fascinating treasure-trove museum is the temple’s most distinguishing feature, protecting an innumerable number of Buddha statues from all over the globe, as well as statues of Hindu Gods, old watches, Dutch coins and many other antique collectibles. The pièce de résistance is the smallest Buddha statue on the island, carefully encased in a glass box, whereby visitors can view it with a magnifying class.
As in many other temples in Sri Lanka, visitors are advised to dress conservatively and cover their shoulders and the legs below the knee when entering the temple premises. There is no fee to enter the Gangaramaya Temple.