The exciting day starts with pick up from your hotel by a representative of Sanota Walkers. Then you will be whisked to visit one of Sri Lanka's highly venerated temples called Gangarama Temple which is located on the famous and picturesque Beira Lake in the middle of the city of Colombo. The Gangarama Temple was established about one hundred and twenty (120) years ago and is one of the most important Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka. Originally built to be a small hermitage on a piece of marshy land in the 19th BCE, the temple has grown to include several imposing buildings and become an internationally known place of worship, a centre for learning, as well as an assembly hall for monks while also hosting a museum, a library and a Relic chamber among others.
Galle Face green
Once you have had your senses excited with the old and the new at Fort & Pettah, it is now time to visit the world famous Galle Face Greenand relax in the soothing sound of waves lapping at the shores. Overlooking the magnificent Indian Ocean, adjoining the beautiful Galle Face beach and the famous colonial styled Galle Face Hotel (which is known as Asia's Emerald on the Green since 1864) is an elegant promenade lined with swaying palm trees and frequently visited by both locals and visitors alike called the Galle Face Green. The Green, as it is affectionately known, is a meeting ground of the old and the new with cannons, that were once mounted on the rampart of the old fort of Colombo, are now laid out for observance and prestige while families and children play sports, fly kites, health enthusiasts take their evening walks and others indulge in some delicious piping hot local street food sold at numerous food stalls.
Fort & PettAH
After wandering around the Gangarama Temple you will then visit the harbour and fort areas of Colombo. The two notable places to visit are the Fort and Pettah towns. During 16th century, the Portuguese used this area, now known as Fort or Kottuwa(earlier known as (Kolonthota) as one of their trading posts and developed it into a fortified base. Then in the 17th century, the Dutch conquered the fort and demolished part of the fortification and reconstructed to the Dutch specifications. By the 19th century, the British had acquired control and since they considered it unlikely that they would face a direct military threat and that the fort was obstructing urban development of the area, the Colombo Fort was demolished. However, several buildings belonging to the Dutch and British era still remain in existence in the area of Fort including the Dutch Hospital, which is now converted to include high end boutiques and fine dining as well as al-fresco dining restaurants and Old General Post Office building which was constructed in 1895 with Edwardian architecture. Pettahor Pitta – Kottuwa (meaning outer fort) is a busy and vibrant town located close to the Colombo Fort area.
Now let us head on to a very special place called theIndependence Squarelocated just a few minutes away from the Old Parliament building. This building was built to commemorate Sri Lanka’s independence from colonial rule and is situated at the same location where a special podium was constructed in 1948 to mark the ceremony of Sri Lanka’s start of self-rule and new parliament. The Independence Square building also houses a museum displaying a history of all the individuals who struggled and fought for Sri Lanka’s independence.