The city of Colombo in Sri Lanka is one that is not always on top of many people’s list of travel destinations. However, for those who are looking for that peaceful and religiously enlightening retreat, you may find that the place is just what you are looking for. Churches and temples are some of the best attractions in Colombo and these cater to the diverse religions of Sri Lankans.
This Buddhist temple is one of the most architecturally interesting structures in Colombo. This is because it makes use of a mix of various cultures in its construction and is rather influenced by Indian, Chinese and Thai architecture. Unlike other temples, this one is different because it is composed of several buildings which include a museum, educational halls, and a library. As such, it does not only fulfill its religious responsibilities but also functions for welfare services as an orphanage and vocational school.
Sri Kailawasanathan Swami Devasthanma Kovil
The original name of this temple is quite long so many locals and tourists prefer to call it simply as the Hindu Temple. This is known to be the largest and oldest Hindu temple in all of Colombo and is one of the most important religious structures not only in the city but in the whole country. The temple is constructed to pay homage to the Hindu gods Shiva and Ganesh. The temple towers are amazing and the facade is adorned with miniatures and statues of various Hindu gods and deities. The cultural and religious importance as well as the colorful aesthetics make this a must see in Colombo.
All Saints Church
This is Catholic Church is easily one of the most beautiful of its kind in the place, both inside and out. Its outside design boasts of a wonderful gothic architecture, with the traditional red roof and the intricately designed white tower. The tower and walls of the church are lined with arched windows which enhances the gothic feel of the place. Inside the church are stained glass windows depicting the life of the Lord alongside statues of saints. The quiet ambience of the church makes it conducive for that peaceful afternoon of prayer and rest.
This is probably the most famous mosque in Sri Lanka as it houses the remains of a revered Muslim saint. The mosque itself is about 150 years old or so. However, the age is not so prominent as can be seen in its white walls. The minarets and the domes are aesthetically wonderful, especially their ornate designs, carvings and windows. As much as possible, try to avoid visiting the mosque during weekdays, and instead go on weekends where there are lesser devotees and tourists.
St. Paul’s Church
This is another old church in Colombo and is an Anglican Church. It is not as ornate as other churches, but it boasts of simple and charming designs which are notable of many Greek Basilicas. The inside of the church is just as simple, with quaint altars and minimal decorations. What makes this church a great tourist destination is the peaceful and serene feeling it provides to the tired and weary travellers seeking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Catholic or a Muslim or whatever religious sects have you. Here in Colombo, there is always a church or temple that you can run to whenever you feel the need to reflect and give thanks for your day’s safe travel.
Photo by mal-b on Flickr