Amidst the Colombo’s hustle and bustle, lies the amazingly artistic Temple and Vocational center, The Gangaramaya.Established more than 120 years ago by most venerable Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala thero, this institution is now taken care by the Galboda Gnanissara Thero.
The entrance is very easy to locate as it is on the road right in front of the Seema Malaka on Beira lake. The map of course gives right direction to this establishment. Upon entrance, they charge the foreigners LKR 200/- per person while the locals walk in free. This LKR 200/- is donation to a Children’s fund and done as a donation to the fund that spends all collection to the welfare of the children. In this case, this LKR 200/- is a much notable donation.
Right from the start you can see lots of Buddha statues belonging to various styles and art. The first thing you see as soon as you enter is the designs made of elephant tusks. The beautifully crafted Ivory ornaments are on display and yes, Photography is Allowed!
On the right is the museum and a visit to the Museum is advised. There you can see various types of Historical artifacts and hundreds of Status of Lord Buddha. My favorite was the statue of the World’s Tiniest Buddha statue. This is kept locked up in a cupboard and you can view the Tiniest Buddha Statue through the magnifying glasses that’s fixed right in front. It is amazing on how precise the crafter was as the statue is very detailed from the top to bottom.
Walking out, one can see the large collection of Buddha status kept in row by row like in a staircase. It is very beautiful and walking further gets you to another large Stupa (Oval shaped structure) with Buddha statues around it. Next to this is the museum where I guess that about a thousand or more small Buddha statues lies. It is very interesting and calm-feeling to have a glimpse of the statues.
Don’t forget to visit the large Hall area that had a huge Sitting Buddha statue. The walls were artistically decorated and painted with drawings and various types of gods (Hindu religion) are illustrated and kept all around this room. To my amazement, It was a little confusing why the Hindu gods of Gana and god Parvathi statues were kept inside this temple premises as a Temple is much related to Buddhism. But to my understanding, Buddhism in Sri Lanka is must combined with Hinduism and other beliefs as well. This also is verified with the Laughing Buddha and Feng Shui statues at the temple premises.
My friend wanted to see the Elephant and we asked a staff member if we can see the elephant. He directed us towards another area (much closer to Staff-quarters) where we found our elephant friend. After asking a guy walked by, he provided with a packet of biscuits to my friend and she fed the elephant and it loved this!
At last what I have to say is that this was an interesting visit I had in Colombo. All should go visit this place and see the beauty of this amazingly artistic temple in Colombo.