Gangaramaya (Vihara) Buddhist Temple

Attraction 61 Sri Jinarathana Rd Colombo 00200 Sri Lanka Published on: 13-11-2015

1 hours 30 mins
08:00 AM - 08:00 PM
09:00 AM
10:30 AM
First-time visit
Must see
Temple & Monument
0.75 USD

Gangaramaya (Vihara) Buddhist Temple is good for

Good for family with kids Family with kids Good
Good for senior Senior Good
Good for couple Couple Good
Good for solo Solo Good
Good for group Group Good
  • Highly recommended by fellow travellers.
Gangaramaya Temple is one of the most important temples in Colombo, Sri Lanka, being a mix of modern architecture and cultural essence.

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Why Gangaramaya (Vihara) Buddhist Temple is special ?

The beautiful Gangarama Temple is famous for its imposing buildings, and is complete with a chetiya, bo tree, image house, Simamalaka, relic chamber containing the relics of the Buddha and Arahat Seevali, museum, library, pirivena, and residential, education and alms halls. It is decorated with stone carvings, brass work and many other forms of Buddhist art. It contains row upon row of Buddha statues in the meditating pose, alongside miniature stupas arranged like a staircase.

As one enters the temple, one will see a huge mural on the wall depicting the ‘Atalo Dahama’ (the eight vicissitudes of life) – gain and loss, good repute and ill repute, praise and censure, and pain and pleasure – to give the message that one shouldn’t be disturbed by these.


What to explore at Gangaramaya (Vihara) Buddhist Temple?

The Gangaramaya Temple is one of the bigger Buddhist temples in Colombo. Once you enter the temple buildings you completely forget that you are in a busy city. In the evening, sitting under the Bodhi tree where monks chant and pray, tranquility descends around you. It is definitely not a site to be missed on your visit to Colombo.

Situated near Beira Lake, in the heart of Colombo, the temple was established in 1885 by Venerable Sri Sumangala Nayaka Thera. It gradually grew into the complex it is today, which includes the Vihara (monastery), Cetiya (pagoda), Vihara Mandiraya (Image House, which is full of colorful Buddha statues), Seema Malaka, the Bodhi Tree, the 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 to greet the skyline.


How to get to Gangaramaya (Vihara) Buddhist Temple?

By taxi

Airport Taxi There are some taxi counters, some belonging to 4 / 5 star hotels, providing air conditioned taxis on a fixed price basis depending on the destination. It is highly recommended to agree on the fare beforehand to avoid being overcharged. As of March 2015, the fare was between LKR 2,500 & 3,000 to Colombo so do shop around for the best rate.

There is also a mini van taxi service counter in the arrivals hall providing transport services. The rates are not cheaper than air conditioned taxis but a mini van will seat more than four passengers. The services are primarily for the locals so if you do not hold a Sri Lankan passport, they may refuse to offer you one.


Selling points

  • Lot to see in small place
  • A fairyland in Wesak season
  • Well maintained temple with antiques
  • Another spot for photographery
  • Temple with a chained elephant
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3.0 days
62.96 USD
Total travel distance
Number of places
18 places




61 Sri Jinarathana Rd Colombo 00200 Sri Lanka

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Tips for you

  • The most impressive thing is the little golden Buddha which needs a lens to be viewed in some detail.
    What to bring
  • There are two parts of the temple, one is situated within the lake, and the main temple opposite the road side
    What to know
  • Gangaramaya is situated close to the Seema Malaka temple.
    Things nearby
  • You must remove your shoes but can keep your socks on.
  • There are elephants on site, and the temple has a beautiful collection of classic cars, and antiques.
    What to see
  • There is a museum with display cabinets containing lots of memorobillia probably dating back to the days of British rule and sadly lots of elephant tusks and ivory carvings.
    What to see
  • There are lots of lovely ancient rare statutes available here.
    What to see


TripAdvisor View more

we visited this during the last days of the Vesak (Buddha) festival. Everything was decorated with lanterns everywhere. You must remove your shoes but can keep your socks on (and you may want to because the stones can be hot in places). I would bring a pair you do not mind getting dirty. We had a guide who got us into the adjoining museum. Apparently it's not open to everyone. There are some stunning pieces to see. if you enjoy taking photos you'll love the photo ops (pay for using your camera inside). Always make sure to ask permission when taking people photos. We found them to be very cooperative. Share your pixs with them and they'll be delighted.

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