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CAPITAL CITY

GANGARAMAYA BUDDHIST TEMPLE

Gangaramaya Temple is one of the most important temples in Colombo, Sri Lanka, being a mix of modern architecture and cultural essence.

Don Bastian (de Silva Jayasuriya Goonewardane, Mudaliyar), a famous 19th century shipping merchant who was looking for a suitable land to build a temple for the Matara Sri Dharmarama thero, bought a beautiful piece of land belonging to three Moors, and filled and prepared the land at great expense. The land bordered on two sides by the Moragoda Ela and the Pettigala Ela was used to build the temple, which was subsequently named the Padawthota Gangaramaya Viharaya. The Mudaliyar, with the assistance of the people built a great 'Chaitya' (Dagaba) of 30 Riyans, and built a great decorative arch (thorana) and a 'Sandakada pahana' modeled on the ones found at Anuradhapura, at the entrance to the temple. A 'Bo' sapling brought from the great Sri Maha Bhodiya in Anuradhapura, was also planted by his own hands and brought up. He also built a three-storied preaching hall and the walls, railings and the moat round the temple.

KELANIYA RAJA MAHA VIHARAYA

The Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara or Kelaniya Temple is a Buddhist temple in Kelaniya, Sri Lanka, seven miles from Colombo. The Chief Incumbent (Chief Priest) is Venerable Professor Kollupitiye Mahinda Sangharakkhitha Thera.

Buddhists believe the temple to have been hallowed during the third and final visit of the Lord Buddha to Sri Lanka, eight years after gaining enlightenment. Its history would thus go back to before 500 BCE.

The Mahawansa records that the original Stupa at Kelaniya enshrined a gem-studded throne on which the Buddha sat and preached.

The temple flourished during the Kotte era but much of its land was confiscated during the Portuguese empire. Under the Dutch empire, however, there were new gifts of land and under the patronage of King Kirthi Sri Rajasingha the temple was rebuilt. It was refurbished in the first half of the 20th century with the help of Helena Wijewardana.

The temple is also famous for its image of the reclining Gautama Buddha and paintings by the native artist Solias Mendis which depict important events in the life of the Buddha, in the history of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, also incidents from the Jataka tales. It is the venue for the Duruthu Maha Perehera procession each January. An 18-foot stone statue of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara has been erected at the temple.

PLANETARIUM

Sri Lanka Planetarium is a public planetarium located in Colombo, Sri Lanka. It is the first and only planetarium in the country and maintained as an institute under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Research.

The Planetarium was established on 1 February 1965 by the State Engineering Corporation as a special feature for the Ceylon industrial exhibition held in Colombo same year. The planetarium was designed by the chief engineer from the State Engineering Corporation of Ceylon, A. N. S. Kulasinghe, and was constructed by engineers from Germany. The building takes elements from the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral (Sir Frederick Gibberd - 1960) and the Cathedral of Brasília (Oscar Niemeyer - 1960). The building has a reinforced concrete floor and a pre-stressed concrete folded plate roof, which was pre-cast on-site. The building was funded by the German Democratic Republic as a gift to Ceylon.

With the aid of a universal projector stationed at the centre of this building, the artificial sky is created on the domed screen above a 570-seat auditorium.The universal projector is a product of Carl Zeiss AG East Germany.

NATIONAL MUSEUM

National Museum of Colombo, also known as the Sri Lanka National Museum is one of two museums in Colombo. It is the largest museum in Sri Lanka. It is maintained by the Department of National Museum of the central government. The museum holds contains a collections of much importance to Sri Lanka such as the regalia of the country, including the throne and crown of the Kandyan monarchs as well as many other exhibits telling the story of ancient Sri Lanka.

ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS

National Zoological Gardens of Sri Lanka (also called Colombo Zoo or Dehiwala Zoo) is a zoological garden in Dehiwala, Sri Lanka, founded in 1936. Its sprawling areas are host to a variety of animals and birds. The zoo exhibits animals but also places an emphasis on animal conservation and welfare, and education.

The zoo has 3000 animals and 350 species as of 2005. The annual revenue is LKR 40 million.

The zoo exchanges its residents with other zoological gardens for breeding purposes.

WATER WORLD AQUARIUM

Welcome to Water World Kelaniya, the only public aquarium in Sri Lanka! Located on a scenic 5 acre property on the banks of the Kelani River, Water World is an aquatic wonderland which is home to a diverse collection of over 500 varieties of fish and invertebrates. Our unparalleled range of aquatic life includes fresh water, marine and brackish water fauna and flora, from eco systems around the globe. At Water World, you will witness rare and fascinating species such as Arapaima (The largest fresh water fish in the world), Lung fish (A fish that has real “lungs” like that of a human), Electric eel (The world's most dangerous electricity generating fish) and Fresh water sting rays from the Amazon River.

Water World is truly unique as it is the only local facility that offers the thrilling experience of observing majestic sharks and graceful eagle rays in action.

NATIONAL ART GALLERY

The National Art Gallery in Colombo, Sri Lanka is the country's first national art gallery.

The gallery is ocated in Cinnamon Gardens near the Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre, Viharamahadevi Park, the National Museum of Colombo, the Town Hall, Colombo and Colombo Public Library.

FLOATING MARKET

The Pettah Floating Markets are located on Bastian Mawatha in Pettah, a neighborhood in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and consist of 92 trade stalls, with a number of the stalls established on boats on Beira Lake. The floating market serves as a tourist attraction selling local produce and local handicraft.

The development of the floating market and beautification works were carried out by the Urban Development Authority (UDA) at a cost of Rs. 150 million. Engineering units from the Sri Lanka Army in collaboration with the Urban Development Authority transformed Bastian Street, the street linking the Central Bus Stand in Pettah and the Colombo Fort railway station, into a green environment. The Sri Lanka Navy rehabilitated the polluted canal running alongside Bastian Street. The unique simple architecture of the stalls along the canal, designed by Thushari Kariyawasam, with grey cemented floors and minimalistic décor, tries to reflect the calm and undisturbed water of lake.

The markets were officially opened by the Minister of Health, Maithripala Sirisena, on 25 August 2014.

One of the objectives of the development was to relocate unlicensed street vendors off the footpaths, particularly in congested areas like the Pettah, where they had no facilities and were forcing pedestrians onto the road. Priority was given to those traders who were impacted by the redevelopment on Bastian Street. Businesses however have struggled at the floating markets due to high rents and low sales. Traders have also criticised the open nature of the stalls and boats, which restrict their ability to secure their goods overnight. The UDA has advised that it will be undertaking promotional campaigns and improving accessibility to the area in an attempt to improve visitations to the area.