Colombo

Your gateway to the stunning tropical island of Sri Lanka, Colombo serves as the commercial capital of the country. Colombo has a long history of serving as the trade route between the east and west of the country during the days in which the land was ruled by the Dutch, Portuguese and British. And ever since it has brought forth this heritage which is reflected in the architecture of the city, with its amazing mix of high rise buildings interspersed with colonial structures which ends up giving you a great blend of the past and the present. The mix of cultures that you can experience in this city has made it a must see destination during your visit to Sri Lanka, and will be an excellent place for you to kick start or end your Sri Lankan adventures. The name Colombo has been derived from the Sinhala word ‘’Kolamba’’ of which the first part means harbor or ferry. And this name is apt when you come to think of it because Colombo has one of the world’s largest man made harbors, and thanks to its ideal location at the cross roads of the Indian ocean trade route, in the 19th century people gave it the name of ‘’Charring Cross of the East’’. The Colombo Fort is the business hub of the city (although the fortress no longer exists). Here you will find the forty storied Twin Towers called the World Trade Center that houses the Colombo stock exchange, the Sri Lankan Airlines offices and many other commercial establishments. The Dutch Hospital is one place that you cannot afford to miss out on when you are at Fort. This splendid colonial era structure dating back to the 1600’s has been extravagantly restored to make this complex a vibrant centerpiece of Fort. It houses some of the best known restaurants and cafes in town along with some amazing outlets packed to the brim with cultural trinkets for you to shop from. The National Museum at Albert Crescent is one of the country’s premier cultural institutions, housing a complete collection of artistic and archeological carvings, art and statuary some of them dating as far back as 1877, all which gives you a great insight into the rich history of the island. The resplendent Town Hall at the heart of the city with its white dome reminds you of only one place – the White House in Washington D. C. Right opposite this building is the Viharamahdevi Park. This is the biggest park in Colombo and was originally known as Victoria Park, but in 1950 was renamed after the mother of King Dutugemunu. The Kelaniya Temple which is located on the banks of the Kelaniya river is one of the most sacred sites in the country. Historically, it is said that the Lord Buddha arrived with 500 Arahats at Kelaniya, on a Vesak day during the Buddhist era of 2531. The Duruthu Perahera which is held annually on the pre-full moon day of the month of January, is an occasion that tends to attract large crowds of devotees. Although Sri Lanka in general is not famously known for its pub culture, in the more recent times you will find that there have been some amazing karaoke bars and night clubs coming up around Colombo, all of them showcasing amazing local talent and great music. From constantly adapting itself to new changes and staying true to its roots, Colombo is definitely the spot that will give you an all-round, one stop Sri Lankan experience.

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