Places of Interest:
The Gangaramaya Temple complex and Bikkhu Training Centre is spread around the Beira lake and also across the main road. It's imposing buildings with Buddhist artifacts from all over the world is a must see site in the tourist itinerary. The Simamalakaya or the circular Buddhist shrine erected in the centre of the lake is absolutely beautiful at dusk against the light of the setting sun and also in the night lighted up with jet bulbs. The peaceful, calm atmosphere you experience at this shrine is an absolute surprise amidst the noise of the vehicular traffic on the busy roads.
There are many Buddhist temples in the city which depict the art and statuary styles of the Buddhist revival in the 19th Century.
Vajiraramaya at Bambalapitiya and Raja Maha Viharaya at Bellanwila, Dehiwala (are famous as centres of Buddhist learning). Gotami Viharaya, Borella (modern mural paintings by internationally famed artist George Keyt, Dipaduttaramaya, Colombo 13. (oldest Buddhist temple in the city built in 1806) and Paramananda Purana Viharaya, Colombo 13 (also built in 1806). Asokaramaya and Issipatana-ramaya at Thimbirigasyaya (with beautiful mural paintings), Buddhist Cultural Centre at Nedimala, Dehiwala (famous for the rare collection of books published on Buddhism nationally and internationally). Karagampitiya Temple at Dehiwala (with Buddha statues with sapphires for eyes and frescoes) are few of the many Buddhist institutions in the city.
Bauddhaloka Buddha Image (Avukana)
Facing the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall stands a beautifully executed statue of the Buddha in the standing posture. The elbow in the Abhaya Mudra with left hand holding the folds of the robe. The statue is 36 feet tall and is the largest Buddha statue in the city of Colombo. It is a replica of the Avukana Statue on the banks of the Kalawawe Anuradhapura. In addition to the above other places to visit in a typical tour of Colombo would include all, or some of these locations. The Wolvendhal Church (built by the Dutch in 1757) St.Anthony's Church and St. Lucia's Cathedral & New Kathiresan Kovil (largest Hindu Kovil in the city)
Built in 1877, is a treasure trove of articles depicting Sri Lanka's historical and cultural past and present including regalia of the last king. Town Hall (built with architectural similarity to many state capital buildings in America). Independence Memorial Hall (in the style of medieval Kandyan audience hall). BMICH (1971 - Octagonal shaped conference hall with modern facilities - main hall could accommodate 1500 persons. Viharamahadevi Park (for lush green and large flowering trees).
An open - air Art Gallery:
In the heart of Colombo Paintings or works of art are rarely organized for public viewing in open spaces. Such displays of art and artistic skills are often held inside galleries and halls for security reasons and for better display and management. However in the heart of Colombo at Green Path with the green foliage of the Vihara Maha Devi Park as a back-drop you may view an array of exhibits of local artists of exceptional talent.
Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara:
In the immediate suburbs of the city are two very important visitor attractions. One is the Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihar. a very important Buddhist temple in the North East of the city, and one of the three places in Sri Lanka where Lord Buddha visited has very fascinating wall and ceiling paintings by famous artist Solius Mendis. Its site dates to the very early days of the Sinhalese Buddhist civilization in Sri Lanka.
South of the city, at Dehiwala is the National Zoological Gardens, which is one of the largest zoological gardens in the South East Asia which has a very large collection of animals, birds and reptile species from the world. Every evening the elephants at the Zoo give a very entertaining performance of light-footed dancing and many other impressive tricks.