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Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple

Possibly the most photographed Buddhist building in Colombo, is the Seemamalakaya of the Gangaramaya Temple , located on the waters of the waters of the Beira Lake . Desinged by Sri lanka’s famous architect , Geoffrey Bawa, its blue –tiled roof and white walls create a beautiful reflection on the waters. A Bo tree even grows in the middle of one of the platforms on the lake . The plateforms are accessible via a wooden walkway from the road.

Back from the placid waters of Beira Lake in Hunnipitiya is the Gangaramaya Temple itself. Although its is difficult to picture it now , the temple was originally only a small hermitage on marshy land . The credit of transforming the little hermitage to today’s nationally and internationally famous vihara ( temple ) goes to the Venarable Dewundara Sri Jinaratna Nayaka Thero.He won the hearts of Buddhists as well as the non Buddhists of the area and had their support in all his activities. Although thin , he possessed indefatigable energy . It took him only a short time to transform the temple in memory of his reserved guru/ teacher , the Venerable Hikaduwe Sri Sumangala Nayaka Thero. The temple features many sections within its compound , a Bodhi tree, dagaba , beautifully painted shrine room/ image house and various other platforms , some pagoda – style . Many influences can be found from Buddhist temples of Thailand.

One of the unique features of this temple its museum ,housing a vast collection of objects that ranges from ivory carvings and preciuous stones and even vintage cars ! The annual Navam Perahera is hosted by the Ganagaramaya temple each February. Its is a spectacular sight to see decorated elephants in procession along the streets of Colombo . The Ganagaramaya temple looks particularly impressive at night when it is beautifully lit.