Gangaramaya Temple and Seema Malakaya

Taking its seat in the heart of Colombo, beside the calming waters of the Beira Lanka, the Gangaramaya Temple is one of the foremost Buddhist monasteries in Sri Lanka.  This prestigious temple acts as an epicentre of Buddhist activities and services in Sri Lanka.  However, this is not the only reason why the Gangaramaya Temple is deemed to be exceptionally fascinating so much so that it is a mandatory site to visit when exploring Colombo.

Within the Gangaramaya Temple premises, one would find themselves entranced by a number of interesting features that adds to the importance of the temple.  The architecture of the Gangaramaya Temple in itself, (which has been in existence for approximately 120 years) is an amalgamation of Thai, Chinese, Indian and Sri Lankan architecture.  The Buddhist temple hosts a phenomenal library that is a treasure trove to the scholar and a museum with an extensive collection of antiques and Buddhist artefacts.  One of the highlights of the Gangaramaya Temple is the smallest Buddhist statue in the world.  Not larger than a grain of rice, the smallest Buddha statue in the world is made of gold with intricate carvings.

Another fact that adds to the allure of the venue is that its Seema Malaka (assembly hall for Buddhist monks) is designed by the distinguished, world renowned architect, Geoffrey Bawa.  The bo tree within the temple precincts is a sapling from the great Sri Maha Bodhiya (the holy tree which provided shade to Buddha) in Anuradhapura.  In parallel, elevating Gangaramaya’s colourfulness are the numerous statues and ornaments displayed throughout the premises.

Gangaramaya Temple is also the host of the most talked about and celebrated cultural procession in Colombo, the ‘Navam Perahera’ held annually on the full moon day (‘poya’) of February.  It is one of the most delightful and vibrant portrayals of Sinhala and Buddhist culture in the country.  Moreover, the Gangaramaya shrine is the focal point of the most lavish and exuberant Vesak celebrations that take place annually during the month of May.  Its placid lake lit with various Vesak pandols that comes in various designs, the Gangaramaya Temple during the month of Vesak is as exuberant as the Navam Perahera celebrations.

Title image by: KnowSL


Culture and Heritage

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