Sadly not what it was.
I really wasn't having a good day that day! Readers of my other pages will know that two of my great loves are railways and canals. I had just left the rather disappointing National Railway Museum which had saddened me a little with the condition of the few exhibits there (see separate tip) and was feeling a little sad when I came on the scene you can see in the images which didn't exactly lighten my mood. I hate to see disused canals.
To be honest I was a little surprised to see a canal but thinking about it later it now makes perfect sense as both the Dutch and the British were colonial powers here and both are well-known for their ability to build a canal. I had just never associated canals with Sri Lanka somehow. I have mentioned elsewhere on VT and on my blog (a link is available on my homepage) that I rarely research a destination too much as I like to go with an open mind but perhaps a little preparation might be in order.
I did have a bit of a look about but there was no obvious way down to the canal other than through private property and the road layout did not suggest an obvious means of following the canal's route so I contented myself with a couple of images of the rather forlorn locks and a brief conversation with a lovely Sinhalese man who stopped to pass the time and went on my way. I have noticed this a lot in my brief time in Sri Lanka, people are always up for a chat, it is most refreshing as I live in a city where a stranger initiating a conversation may well be the prelude to a scam or a mugging attempt!
Today I have been researching as I am tip writing and I have actually learned a bit about this waterway. I know I keep saying it but I really do learn so much whilst researching tips, it is a great educational tool.
It appears that this is the San Sebastian Canal originally ran from Grand pass which is on the Kelani river and was itself an inland port, then trough several districts before terminating at the Colombo waterfront. It was important and various cargoes from the interior were able to be transhipped at the waterfront onto vessels travelling all over the world. I have also learned that a portion of the canal upstream of here remains active.
I have also read that parts of the canal system all over Sri Lanka have been refurbished primarily as a tourist attraction. The attached website is for an interesting article in the local Sunday Observer Englidh language newspaper which may be of interest to the reader.
If you are interested, these images were taken from Maradana Road and I shall certainly be seeking out the canals once I return to Colombo. I do hope they decide to restore this canal as it would be great to see it restored to it's former glory.
- Historical Travel
- Budget Travel
Last king’s Captive Place before leaving Colombo
The last king of Sri Lanka was captured in 1815 when the last kingdom kandy fell in to the British. The king was captured and kept in prison in Colombo for few months before he was deported to India.
To remember is days in captivity there is small structure built in the premises of the Ceylinco Building premises where the same place he was kept in captive.
It’s not too big! But a structure to remember our last king during his stay in Colombo!
It is situated next to California Grill of Galadary Hotel and in front of the Ceylon Continental. Hilton is the adjoining hotel to Galadary so travelers who are satying in those hotels please try to go. It won’t take even 10 minutes for all you staying here to go & came back.
The people who staying in Galle Face Hotel, Taj Samudra Hotel, Lanka Plaza (Lanka Oberoi), Trans Asia and all the rest of the hotels when you come the Galle Face Green make sure you visit this too.
Make sure you either in the evening or morning to see this. Don’t even think about going in the late in the night.
This is a very small structure but not a museum. So, don’t expect too..too much. If somebody is going with all the expectation please don’t scold me end of the day. Some times you have to follow the rules and regulation instructed as this is situated in the High Security Zone. If you were instructed by some one please follow the guide lines.
- Road Trip
- Museum Visits
The Dutch Museum In Fort
The Dutch Museum situate in Melbourne Street which is one of the sub rods of the Main Street in Colombo 1. The building itself is more than 100 years old. When come over here you can feel the European Architecture. It is quite bigger than the CMC Museum which is situated in one end of Main Street.
There are plenty of porcelains, old furniture, coins, plaque and many more. This is totally dedicated to the Dutch era. But here and there you can find other Sri Lankan Stuffs too. There are plenty articles written about Colombo city and about the things over there. Actually you need some time and patient for that.
In a particular article which is near the entrance I think has mentioned about the beauty of Colombo city around 15ht centaury.
“I have never seen a beautiful city like Colombo….
The well grown tree on the both side….. “
This article is my favorite at least I got to know the city was really beautiful than today. And small hand written painting also there displaying the early Colombo.
I would like to say so don’t expect too much. Even I will say it is sometimes not worth going purposely to see this museum. But if you go to Main Street for shopping or for some other reasons try to visit this museum too
- Museum Visits
- Road Trip
REPLICAS OF MAJOR BUDDHIST SHRINES
While visiting some Christian friends nearby Colombo, they took me to this large area where many of the major Buddhist shrines are replicated, called 'SRI MAHA DEVRAN VIYAHARA'.
Their English is limited and my Sinhala is almost non-existant, so I couldn't glean details.
It was raining heavily, so we had to jump puddles and huddle under the umbrella and rush through seeing the area, but it is quite extensive and seems to be still under construction, but is very well done and especially for someone not having the time to get around to all the island's Shrines, would be very beneficial to see many of them reproduced here.
Off PANAPITIYA ROAD. There was no entrance fee and you can roam at leisure.
- Religious Travel
- Arts and Culture
- Budget Travel
Old Town Hall Building & CMC Museum
It acted as the Town Hall Building sometimes back. Before the rulers change the office to the current Town Hall building which is situated in the Colombo -7. To remember its good old days 2/3 of the building has been converted to a Museum now.
It is situated at the one end of the Main Street in Colombo 1 there is this small museum. People do call it has Old Town hall Building and the people who knows about it call it as the CMC museum.
If your are in Main Street and planning to go here ask for direction saying “The Old Town Hall Building “ everyone here simply will tell you the direction. Don’t ask by saying the CMC museum because most of them don’t know about it.
You can find old vehicles, Name Boards, pipes and many more. It won’t take even 10 minutes to visit the both ground & top floor. Even I like to say that’s a poor museum because nothing much to see in there it is not popular here
One my friend was saying this is not a museum but some thing else but it is actually one.
And it is not mentioned in any tourist attraction book. And most of the locals also doesn’t know about it. Even I went to that museum few years back.
This is a very small museum so don’t expect too..too much. If somebody is going with all the expectation please don’t scold me end of the day. Even I will say it is not worth going purposely to see this museum. But if you go to Main Street for shopping or for some other reasons try to visit this museum too. I think it’s free of charge.
- Museum Visits
- Arts and Culture
The Dehiwela zoo is some thing always fascinate our locals because that’s the only place where most of the local take Sri Lankan take their children to see the animals. They rarely go to see any other wild parks due to various reasons. If I can specifically mention some thing the Dehiwela zoo is some thing that every traveler misses in his travel plan.
You can’t see every animal which dedicated to Sri Lanka in wild parks because every wild park is different from each other. You can either go to Animal Park or Birds Sanctuary and so on. But in zoo you can see them with safely.
The elephant dance in the zoo is really famous among the locals. I think it take place 4pm in the evenings (I am not sure whether it is there every day or only on weekends let check that later & up date it for you).
Travelers do go to Pinawella to see the elephants. They take photographs and feed the elephants. But you can’t see elephants prtcipating in any activity other than bathing and eating. Here the giants do various performances for to make you happy.
Wild Parks and Animal Sanctuaries are visited by almost every traveler but the you mostly see elephants here and few other animals too. There are static they will be moving every where so your luck plays major role when you go to see them. But here they are in cages and den you watch them until you get feed up them with ultimate safety.
Make sure you bring your water, food and other stuffs you need. There is a small canteen or boutique inside the zoo. But I think they won’t to cater your need most of the time. If you ran out of water you can buy them from the canteen.
- Jungle and Rain Forest
The rest of the city
Colombo is divided into districts 1 to 15. And apart from the lively markets of Pettah (Colombo 11), most tourists are unlikely to visit the city's districts 8-15. These are the areas of Borella, Dematagoda, Maradana, Hultsdorf, Kotahena, Grand Pass, and Mutwal, and are mostly in the northeast of the city. They are mainly residential areas but there are still parts of interest.
Borella's main junction is a crowded market and busy bus station very useful for getting around the city; some of the chaotic old Hultsdorf streets and narrow alleys and the crumbling buildings are a fascinating sight; as are that area's colourful and exotic street markets; if you're going to the international cricket you might need to go to the Premadasa Stadium in Dematagoda; and there are some very interesting temples in Maradana.
Otherwise the main points of interest are just a look at everyday Sri Lankan urban life away from the more modernised tourist areas.
Just a note of caution: Colombo is a safe city for tourists, but as with most places there are some areas best avoided, especially at night - in particular, some slum areas around Grand Pass and Kotahena and the edge of the city limits.
- Budget Travel
Lighthouse Clock Tower
It is a nice orientation point in the Fort, a Victorian building (1857), which is designed by the wife of a British governor. The meaning was to bring some punctuality to the Ceylon civil servants. Ten years later there was put a lamp on the top of the Clock Tower and it served as a lighthouse till the fifties of 20th century.
- Arts and Culture
Sri Kailawasanathar Swami Devasthanam
When we decided to visit Colombo, a hindu temple was part of the deal - so we chose the Sri Kailawasanathar Swami Devasthanam because it's supposed to be one of the oldest in Colombo.
Of course when we had to pronounce the name to the tuk-tuk driver it did not seem like a good idea anymore... it took us some minutes (and a passer-by translation) to let him understand where we wanted to go. The temple was as beautiful as we had expected it to be: richly decorated and colourful; inside there are shrines dedicated to Shiva and Ganesh. It's located in Colombo 11, behind the Fort Railway Station, at Captain’s Gardens
It was raining one day...
It was raining one day and I needed an activity to do inside. I went to the National Museum. I saw case after case of artifacts but did not learn a great deal. The Museum of Natural History is right behind the History Museum. It is not fancy but I am glad I went. In the Natural History Museum I saw exhibits about tea plantations and rubber trees. I learned answers to questions about many of the things I had seen in the hill country that my driver could not explain to me.
The day I was at the museum a great many local people were there also. I thought it was good that so many people were interested in their country's history and visiting the museum. I liked the Sri Lankan people I met there very much.
I only recommend the...
I only recommend the Dehiwala Zoo if you are interested in bird watching. I have been to zoos in the United States that are much fancier. The good thing about the Dehiwala Zoo is that it is in a park like setting with many big beautiful old trees. As I toured the zoo I spent 90% of my time sitting under trees looking up at bird species I had never seen before. In much of Colombo the only birds I saw were house crows but in the zoo I saw two dozen different species of birds flying wild on the beautiful grounds of the zoo. I liked seeing all the birds much more than I did the animals in their cement cages.
Respect The Cultures and Traditions
Shaking of hands is the normal form of greeting. It is customary to be offered tea when visiting but it you refuse It is considered very rude. Please note that when visiting Buddist temples, modest clothing should be worn. ie no bare legs or uncovered hair. Shoes and hats should be removed