Gangaramaya Temple / Colombo, SRI LANKA

Here it is – today we’re flaying to Sri Lanka 😀
With my new guest writer and expert for that part of the world.

Who is my new guest writer? Let me show you 🙂

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I’m Bobo, a meatatarian (people who never eat vegetables) and slipperaholic (hope to find a job with casual wear and allow me to wear sandals during work). I start to share my travel experience, book reviews and even my academic studies for my website. My thirst for knowledge has helped shape my confidence and given me the courage to be decisive. I’m still on my way to find my life goals and favorite things to do.

Bobo’s work you can follow on social media:

After we met Bobo, it’s time to see what Sri Lanka has to offer! 😀

 

the most famous attraction in Colombo?
felt shocked with the temple here…
Way to negotiate in “Sri Lankan” style

 

Gangaramaya Temple

Gangaramaya Temple is the most famous temple in Colombo, where the president of the country would visit here as well. The temple’s architecture demonstrates an eclectic mix of Sri Lankan, Thai, Indian, and Chinese architecture. This Buddhist temple includes several imposing buildings and is situated not far from the placid waters of Beira Lake on a plot of land that was originally a small hermitage on a piece of marshy land.

It has the main features of a Vihara (temple), the Cetiya (Pagada) the Bodhitree, the Vihara Mandiraya, the Seema Malaka (assembly hall for monks) and the Relic Chamber. In addition, a museum, a library, a residential hall, a three-storeyed Pirivena, educational halls and an alms hall are also on the premises. Most notable for tourists is the architecture of the Simamalaka Shrine, which was built with donations from a Muslim sponsor to the design of Geoffrey Bawa.

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Way to the temple

The temple is located in the center of Colombo, where takes a few walks from the hotel residence area with like Hilton Residence and Residence 360…It is our first few days in Sri Lanka, we were getting used to the temperature, environment and the lifestyle.

It was about 30 degrees and quite uncomfortable to have a walk. If you decide to take a tuk-tuk (cab without air conditioner), you have to take one with a meter in order to prevent being overcharged. Some drivers claimed their meters are not worked and charge you with their own prices. It is important to check whether the meter is working.

 

Manners of entering the temple

Like many other temples in Sri Lanka, you have to put off your shoes in front of the entrance. Some other temples might forbid vehicles parking nearby so you may walk without shoes for more than 10 minutes. It’s way of experiencing the Sri Lankan culture.

They don’t have standard admission fee for most of the attractions. Basically, they charge you according to their moods HAHHAA It is quite normal for them to charge foreign tourists over 3-4 timesthan the “local price” Even though Gangaramaya Temple is one of the most famous tourist attractions of the city, only Sinhala tour guide is available here.

I believe things would become better after Sri Lanka opens up for tourism. But at the moment, Sinhala is the main language used for tourist boards here.

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Temple managed in Sri Lankan style

I used to describe the chili attitude and informality as “Sri Lankan” styles. It is quite rare to have a temple consists of different religions as if all “gods” are living together. You could say they have a wide range of religions here. Or to make it clear, the collections are demonstrated in a messy way. It is the first time for me to see aChinese Buddhist statue put next to Thai Theravada Buddhist statue. I’m an atheist but obviously, these statues are from different religions.

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More in the museum…

It is even more shocking to visit the museum. Literally, the storage room without air-conditioner looks like a second-hand store, rather than a museum of a tourist attraction. In a shelf, you could find some Chinese plates while a statue is put next to them. Different currencies are shown without indicating which country is it from. The collections are donated from different countries over the world, seems like they put them together without organizing.

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Another way to show their culture

I found so funny about the sign, which saying do not use mobile phones inside the temple. Isn’t it usual for us to put the sign in front of the entrance or somewhere in our eye level, so visitors could notice the sign? However, they didn’t put one near the entrance of the museum. I found a few on the floor, where is hard for visitors to notice the signs.

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Ceremony with Elephant

Elephants are important elements for temple festivals. For centuries, captive elephants in Sri Lanka have had a noble or royal role. Buddhists and Hindus alike associate them with valour and strength. It was walking around the temple and was restrained by chains. I can’t imagine baby elephants are captured in the wild and are taken from their mothers. These are young, dependent animals. But at the same time, there is no prospect of the tradition being abandoned. I believe this would be a tough issue when Sri Lanka is developing and concerning more on the animal right one day.

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Gangaramaya Park

Rather than the park, the unconstructed area next to tourist attraction impressed us a lot. Who could imagine a smelly place with lots of unidentified materials, where is only 5 minutes walk to the famous tourist attraction. I would say it is the realistic side of Colombo, the most advanced city in the country. Even though we were staying in residence area, where the high-flyers and oversea talents live, the road is still under construction.

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Way to negotiate in Sri Lanka

We have passed by a temple and though it is the Gangaramaya park when the time we visited. We asked for the admission fee out of curiosity, they said the admission fee is Rs300/pc. Since my friends are Christians and I’m atheist, we didn’t feel interested and trying to leave. Then they offered us to buy two get one free, eventually Rs300 for 3 people.

The price level of Sri Lanka is low, it is affordable even if the locals charge you 3-4 times more. However, pretend leaving is a good way for negotiation if you are so desperate to bargain. The same rule applied for taking a tuk-tuk, there are so many drivers here so don’t rush on getting into a vehicle. You shall take the tuk-tuk only if both driver and you agree with the price.

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How I feel about Sri Lanka

As I mentioned above, it was the first few days of my placement started. When we are on the way walking back and saw so many skyrocketing buildings, I was a bit frustrated about whether I’m in Sri Lanka or other well-developed countries. If you eat out in these “Western area”, it costs 10€ per meal. In contrast, some locals are wandering around the street and beg for money. There is a huge wealth gap, which probably a critical social issue of the country.

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I hope that you enjoyed in this walk around Sri Lanka – I did! 🙂

 

For further information – feel free to contact Bobo.

 

Until some new guest posts, safe travels to all! 😉

66 thoughts on “Gangaramaya Temple / Colombo, SRI LANKA

  1. theaveragetourist says:

    This temple looks incredible! Such history and interesting insights into the culture. Your comment about meatatarian made me laugh! Looks like your Sri Lankan adventure was a great experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. shreyasaha1987 says:

    The temple name is similar to the names of temple from south of India. It’s great to come across new cultures. Nice pictures. However, I got hugely saddened to have seen the poor elephant kept in the animal instead of having an independent wildlife. Hope people stop using animals for dumb reasons, someday.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. traveloptician says:

      Ohh really?! I didn’t know that, thanks for letting me know 🙂
      For me that’s one of the worst things that humans can do to animals (if the people like that we can even call humans). I hope that one day it will all stop and that they gonna live a life that they really deserve.

      Like

  3. Christina says:

    All of the temples look amazing. Definitely want to visit as many as possible when I make my way to Sri Lanka one day. Definitely interesting how the fees to enter somewhere can change on a whim.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kristie Probst says:

    I enjoyed reading about these adventures in Sri Lanka. I was especially intrigued by the fact that they don’t have a set fee to get in and charge whatever they want! I’ve never encountered that before. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Federica Provolenti says:

    Nice post with some interesting insights on this country. To what pertain your lasts impression on the gap between the poorest and the richer I fell that this doesn’t affect only Sri Lanka but it’s a global social issue.

    Liked by 1 person

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