Seema Malaka Temple

Attraction Sir James Pieris Mawatha Colombo Sri Lanka Published on: 13-11-2015

1 hours 30 mins
09:00 AM - 04:30 PM
09:30 AM
11:00 AM
First-time visit
Must see
Temple & Monument
0.00 USD

Seema Malaka Temple is good for

Good for family with kids Family with kids Good
Good for senior Senior Good
Good for couple Couple Good
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Good for group Group Good
  • Highly recommended by fellow travellers.
Seema Malaka Temple is the assembly hall for monks at the Gangaramaya Vihara Buddhist Temple, one of the most famous temples in Sri Lanka.

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Why Seema Malaka Temple is special ?

Seema Malaka Temple stands on the tranquil waters of the Beira Lake, in the southern part of Colombo city. This temple standing on three manmade podiums is built in conjunction with the nearby main Gangaramaya Temple. The original temple, built in the 19th century by Venerable Hikkaduwe Sri Sumanagala Nayaka Thera, gradually sank in the water. It was in 1979 that Geoffrey Bawa was commissioned to redesign it.

Uniqueness of this temple is not only credited to the striking location but also to the modern architecture, which most of the Buddhist temples do not have. Its design takes inspiration from the ancient forest monasteries of Anuradhapura and Ritigala and the building has been made in Kandyan style with hanging blue tiled roofs. A pontoon boardwalk links the temple premises to the mainland. Numerous statues of Buddha sitting in different poses adorn the outer boundary wall.


What to explore at Seema Malaka Temple?

The temple is divided into three raised platforms, connected by walkways - Bawa was apparently inspired by the temples of Anuradhapura with similar design. Monks are ordained here and rituals like Poya Karma (where monks state and apologize for wrongs done that month) are conducted here. The design flows out of that need. For certain sects the place of ordination needs to be surrounded on three sides by water and not be touching the ground, as this temple is built.

As a lay person visiting, you'll notice the temple's signature four-sided blue roof on the central platform, a structure shared by the 'Treasury of Truth' on the next platform. The central building has beautiful wooden paneling with gaps that provide a view onto the lake. The space contains several statues of the Buddha - it's quiet and warm, a good place for meditation. There are usually one or two caretakers here who'll help you if you have questions.

The space just outside this room is surrounded by seated Buddhas; some of them have their hands on their lap, while some show yogic gestures. The Treasury of Truth in the next platform is basically a space for Buddhist texts - it's usually locked up, probably only accessible by monks.

The next platform is the most beautiful - the bo tree in the center is flanked by statues of the Buddha, some very small and others gigantic - the biggest stands magnificently next to a stupa. 22

In the four corners of this platform are wooden paneled doors that open to images of Hindu mythology like this one of Ganesh.

Flags to carry wishes and ward off evil have been hung up by visitors on the trees on the periphery of this platform.


How to get to Seema Malaka Temple?


There are 'TATA Nano' cars in service nowadays and the charges start from LKR40/km with air-conditioning and it is also a safe and convenient way to travel. Taxis are much safer than a three-wheeler.

Try Budget Taxi ☎ +94 11 729-9299. Quote of LKR2,800 (March 2015) from Galle Road to the airport.

Local Buses

There is a good, cheap public bus service but you need to know the route number of the bus that you would have to take to your destination. There does not appear to be a website providing any bus route or timetable information.


Selling points

  • Tempel by water
  • Temple in the middle of a lake
  • Nice view of city and lake
  • Peaceful and unusual location for a temple
  • Beautiful temple and nice to walk around
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3.0 days
62.96 USD
Total travel distance
Number of places
18 places




Sir James Pieris Mawatha Colombo Sri Lanka

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Tips for you

  • The temple is divided into three raised platforms, connected by walkways.
    What to know
  • It is very close to Gangarama temple.
    Things nearby
  • You have to remove you shoes when you enter.
  • You will have a great bird watching on a lake in the middle of Colombo.
    What to see
  • You can find a great number of pelicans in the water and in the trees surrounding the lake.
    What to see


TripAdvisor View more

Seema Malaka Temple is a beautiful floating lotus-like temple in the lake in the center of the city. The simple structure with numerous Buddha images donated by various Thai Buddhist worshipers. The site itself with its water surrounding give an extreme serene atmosphere for the temple. Before entering the temple, proper dress code applied and shoes must not be wore however many visitors did not realize the border line between the outside and inside of the holy ground. Do ask the caretaker if you are uncertain of the temple limit.

FourSquare View more

Having beautiful lake-side scenery, Seema Malaka is a vocational training institute operated by the Gangaramaya temple and designed by the famed Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa.

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