Colombo has a great museum selection: Maritime museum, Dutch period museum, Colombo National museum, Natural history museum… and list just goes on and on. And usually (99,9% of the cases) I visit few museums during my travels. But not this time. And the reason for that is a couple of “disadvantages”. To be more specific: food poisoning (lucky me, I managed to get it twice) and terrible sun burn. So, as you can imagine I wasn’t really in the mood for museums; and instead of staying within four walls I preferred to be outside.
One of my favorite places that we’ve visited in Colombo is Vihara Maha Devi Park:
This beautiful park is located in the center of the city, just across the Town Hall (dating back to 1927) – current headquarters of the Colombo Municipal Council and office of the Mayor of Colombo. Don’t know about you but this building reminds me of United States White House:
Vihara Maha Devi Park previously known as a Victoria park (during British rule) is largest and oldest park in Colombo city. It was renamed after the mother of Sri Lanka’s king Dutugemunu.
One of the park gardeners rushed towards us and after introducing himself started telling us about his work, about the trees and flowers that grew in the park. He has shown us cinnamon tree and explained how the ready product ends up in the food market. I didn’t know that it comes from dried cinnamon bark, I always thought that cinnamon is actually some sort of fruit just growing on the tree. Gardener also showed us the ant colony that has been made… on the tree branch, at least 1.5 meters above the ground! I’ve never seen it hanging on the tree before. In Finland they are always on the ground. But I guess Sri Lanka’s ants decided to save themselves from the floods that way.
Another fascinating thing what I saw was a bat (!) tree. That’s right, I wrote BAT. And that was incredible! I’ve been watching Animal Planet since I was a little girl and only bats what I knew about was the regular blood suckers (adorable little creatures I may add), which were living in the dark places like caves, for example. But Sri Lanka’s bats is a totally different story. First of all, they are vegetarians. Yep, they don’t drink blood; they also don’t turn into sexy guys and don’t try to seduce young innocent girls. And secondly, they are sleeping/resting on a tree. In the middle of the day, in the middle of the crowded park! Don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t believe it if I didn’t see it with my own eyes. Luckily for me crows enjoyed bullying them and making them change their spots. Thanks to them I’ve managed to make couple of good shots:
And yes, all the dark spots that you can see on these photos are bats. Many-many lovely bats.
Before asking for a tip and saying good-bye gardener showed us one of the most beautiful flowers what I have ever seen. Unfortunately, I do not know its real name, but the man told that it’s called Flower of Buddha and showed us why…
If you can see there is a small dot in the middle – that’s Buddha meditating.
And here is the tree where it grows:
Isn’t it beautiful?
Next stop is Colombo Lighthouse, built in 1952:
Tower of the lighthouse is surrounded by four lion statues.
There is a walkway around the base which offers nice views. From here you can see Sambodhi Chaitya – stupa that is standing on four reinforced concrete stilts with the road Marine Drive going beneath it.
After that we started walking towards another sightseeing spot which was only a couple blocks away. On our way we also passed the Old Parliament building:
It was built during British rule, somewhere in 1930s. and it served as Sri Lanka’s parliament till 1983 when the New Parliament was built. Nowadays it is Secretariat and can be viewed only from the outside.
Old Dutch Hospital is one of the oldest buildings in the Colombo Fort area and it dates back to Dutch Colonial time in the 17th century.
Hospital was built close to harbor, so it would be easier to take care of officers and staff of the Dutch East India Company.
After restauration this building was turned to shopping and eating precinct with outdoor seating. It’s a really nice place to hang out, to have a delicious meal or cold local beer served in one-liter pitcher.
Sri Lanka has many beautiful and interesting temples. Since Buddhism and Hinduism are not my religions I felt uncomfortable checking them out from the inside. But I can show you a few pictures of Manikka Vinayagar Hindu temple:
To be continued…
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