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Points of Interest & Landmarks in Colombo

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by Lavinia Woolf Lavinia (subscribe)
Intrigued by history, art and food, Lavinia Woolf is a writer who is passionate about the extraordinary and writes of the exhilarating and enchanting.
Published January 18th 2018
Your Travel Checklist When in Colombo
Featuring unique designs, iconic landmarks in Colombo include Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara, Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque & Cargills Department Store.

With a rich cultural diversity as well as scenic tropical beauty, the city of Colombo features a multitude of significant sites. These religious and historical landmarks and architectural buildings signify just how exciting it is to visit the commercial capital of Sri Lanka.

Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara

kelaniya, temples around colombo
Kelaniya Temple is much venerated by the Sri lankans

Michael Gunther, Kelaniya 001, CC BY-SA 4.0

Located on the outskirts of Colombo, the Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara is a significant Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka. Buddhists consider the temple grounds as a hallowed site as it is believed to be the final location of Lord Buddha's visit to Sri Lanka. Renowned for the paintings of local artist Solias Mendis, the temple is a magnificent cultural epicentre within easy reach of Colombo.

Sri Kailawasanathan Swami Devasthanam Kovil

An ornate Hindu temple located in the heart Colombo, the Sri Kailawasanathan Swami Devasthanam Kovil is renowned for its beautiful carvings and statues. Considered as the oldest Hindu temple in Colombo, the temple is dedicated to the deities of Ganesha and Shiba.

The temple also hosts many fascinating Hindu wedding ceremonies and is located within quick reach of several accommodation options in the city, be it a 5 star, budget or boutique hotel in Colombo including popular choices such as Colombo Courtyard.

Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque

mosques in colombo
Jami-Ul-Alfar Mosque (Pettah Mosque)

McKay Savage from London, UK, Jami-Ul-Alfar Mosque Pettah, CC BY 2.0

A popular tourist attraction in Colombo, the Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque is better known as the "Red Mosque" or the "Red Masjid". Found in Pettah along Second Cross Street, this sacred site is amongst the oldest mosques in the city.

Cargills Department Store

The Cargills' Department Store on York Street
The Cargills' Department Store on York Street

Dan arndt, Cargills (10), CC BY-SA 4.0

Featuring a splendid Victorian red brick facade, the Cargills Department Store is a fine example of the glorious British colonial administration in Sri Lanka. Found on the corner of York Street and Sir Baron Jayathilake Mawatha, the building now features a small shopping museum.


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