Gangarama Temple and Seema Malaka Meditation Centre

The Gangarama temple is one of the oldest temples located in Colombo, and is a representation of Sri Lanka’s rich culture and tradition. A significant temple steeped in history that speaks volumes on behalf of Buddhism and its values.


  • This temple is considered as one of the oldest temples, and is located in the heart of Colombo
  • It is a very popular tourist attraction and is one of the most visited places
  • The temple is rich in tradition and culture, with multi-cultural influences deep rooted
  • It is a cultural and learning center
  • It was re-designed by renowned Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa


Started by the renowned scholar monk Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala in the late 19th century, Gangaramaya is one of the oldest temples in Colombo. Gangaramaya is not merely just a temple; it is a place of learning and a cultural center. This temple is situated in close proximity to the Beira Lake. Sri Lankan, Chinese, Thai and Indian architectural influences can be seen when observing the structures of this temple. The Gangaramaya temple happens to be the most visited temple in Colombo and is organizes the largest and vibrant Vesak Festival every year. This Vesak festival organized by Gangaramaya temple is known as ‘Buddha Rashmi Pooja’. This temple is famous for the social services performed. Some such social services executed aiming towards the well-being of people are community development projects, publication of Buddhist Literature, cultivation projects, assisting in developing rural temples, etc. There happens to be a museum at this temple and it holds a collection of artifacts and various other objects of cultural, historical and religious value.
Seema Malaka Meditation Center is run by the Gangaramaya Temple and was designed by the renowned Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa, after the original structure sank completely under water. In order to prevent in from sinking Bawa created three floating platforms connected by pontoon walkways and them to the base of the shore through stone pillars. The platforms are connected to the shore by means of pontoon bridges. The architecture of this structure bears resemblance to that of the Kandyan era. Seated Buddha statues displaying various mudras are found in all three platforms. The central platform is used for meditation while a platform on a side has the Bodhi Tree that was grown from a branch of the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya in Anuradhapura.
Navam Perahera: the Navam Perahera is held annually in the month of February. The first Perahera was in the year 1979; during a period of national conflict. Whip crackers, flag bearers, fire dancers, drummers, traditional dancers and elephants adorned with beautiful costumes parade in this Perahera. The elephants carry the caskets of sacred tooth relics during this procession. The Navam Perahera is one of the most important cultural pageants in Colombo and attracts visitors from all over the world. This procession also plays a major role in the preservation of the Buddhist culture.