19 Dec 2013

Colombo: For the culture vultures

Colombo- the largest city of Sri Lanka is famous as the commercial and Industrial hub. This capital city is rich in cultural heritage, so for those who love experiencing the culture of the place, when they visit, Colombo might be the place for you.

The biggest festival celebrated here is Buddha’s birth, which takes place around May. It gets very crowded at this time, so you need to make sure you plan ahead of time as well as keep in check the dates. It is usually celebrated on the first full moon date in May. The festival is the vibrant sort, with tonnes of entertainment and events taking place all over. There are areas where they decorate the streets with lights, but when you view it from a distance, they actually show the story of his life. There won’t be a minute you would sit down- the festivities will keep you preoccupied. From live music to lantern competitions, there’s always something in your itinerary.

Buddha’s birthday Celebrations (Vesak Day) (Photo courtesy: http://www.templenews.org)
July and August are considered the festival season- Esala. Head to the nearby city of Kandy, where they celebrate this festival with great pomp and procession. The carnival brings out all kinds of talents- dancers, musicians, even animal trainers. It is a 10 day long festival starting around the end of July. On the last day of the festival there is a procession, led by a statue of Buddha being carried down the street, followed by a 100 elephants, dancers and musicians.

Esala Perahera Festival (Photo courtesy: http://www.mghglobal.com)
Both these festivals attract thousands of visitors each year and while they are extremely enjoyable, it does get very crowded and can be quite tiring. Luckily, Colombo is a place where you can still have a quiet holiday, resting under the sun and sight-seeing a number of the historical sites the place has to offer. For those who want to spend their time lazing around, head down to Mount Lavinia. It is known for its “Golden Miles” of beaches, with plenty of sun and sea to calm you down. To add on to the charm of this beautiful seascape, is a rich history to the place, with various myths and legends attached to its name. 

Mount Lavinia, Colombo (Photo courtesy: www.panoramio.com)
The place has a number of hotels right in front of the beach in which you can book your rooms and head down to the beach to sunbathe in the afternoon.

But if you look for something closer to nature, Talangama Wetlands are just an hour away. Here, you will find a landscape of green, stretching out for miles and miles. For nature photographers as well as wildlife enthusiast, this place is golden. The birdlife here is something that one must experience; not only are there over a hundred species of local birds, but around winter, a number of migratory birds also flock here. Experience the beauty of Mother Nature here with Sri Lanka’s flora and fauna.

Flamingos found at Wetlands, Colombo (Photo courtesy: http://www.sundayobserver.lk)
There are two places worth mentioning when it comes to history buffs- The National Museum and the Old Town Hall. The National Museum is the largest museum in Sri Lanka, and contains some of the most historically significant artefacts in Sri Lankan history, including the crown of the Kandyan monarchs. The Old Town Hall is meant for those who have a passion for all things old. The Hall itself is something of an architectural beauty and the relics inside give you the feel of times gone by. Colombo flights connect Colombo to all major destinations.

The National Museum (Photo courtesy: www.enidhi.net)

Old Town Hall (Photo courtesy: http://www.colombojumbo.com)