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The Gangaramaya Temple is one of the grand Buddhist temples in Colombo. Inside the premises you will start to feel that you are away from the capital of the country but in a calm and quiet place far away from civilization. Located very close to most of the luxury hotels in Colombo, it is definitely not a site to be missed on your visit to Colombo.
Gangaramaya temple is situated near Beira Lake, in the heart of Colombo. Originally built many years ago, the temple gradually grew into the vast place you see presently, with a monastery, pagoda, a building which is full of colorful Buddha statues, a Seema Malaka, a Bodhi Tree and a Relic Chamber, as well as a library and a museum. At the far end of the courtyard are rows of elevating steps on which Buddha statues of the Thai style have been sequentially placed. Another of the many unique features about the temple is its museum. The collection ranges from small relics to large thrones and elephant tusks.
Before deciding to visit the temple you should be aware of the fact, as a sign of respect, you have to remove and keep your shoes in a shoe shelf outside the entrance of the temple. Also you will need to cover up your legs so revealing clothes are not allowed inside sacred premises. Some travelers always carry around a long fabric, to cover them when they visit places of worship.
Navam Poya, full moon day in February, is significant to Buddhists for a number of reasons. It was on this day that Lord Buddha laid down a code of discipline for Bikkhus (ordained monks). It was also on this day that Lord Buddha’s chief disciples, Saripuththa and Moggalana, entered the Order of the Sangha (monastic order).
To mark these events, every February, the streets of Colombo become a venue for celebration. Whip crackers, fire dancers, flag bearers, traditional dancers, drummers, flutists, and hundreds of elephants adorned in richly designed costume participate in this vibrant pageant. If you happen to be in Sri Lanka during February this is an event you should not miss.