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Gangaramaya Temple

Gangaramaya Temple is one of the most important temples in Colombo, Sri Lanka, being a mix of modern architecture and cultural essence.

The temple's architecture demonstrates an eclectic mix of Sri Lankan, Thai, Indian, and Chinese architecture.

This Buddhist temple includes several imposing buildings and is situated not far from the placid waters of Beira Lake on a plot of land that was originally a small hermitage on a piece of marshy land. It has the main features of a Vihara (temple), the Cetiya (Pagada) the Bodhitree, the Vihara Mandiraya, the Seema malaka (assembly hall for monks) and the Relic Chamber. In addition, a museum, a library, a residential hall, a three storeyed Pirivena, educational halls and an alms hall are also on the premises.

Most notable for tourists is the architecture of the Simamalaka Shrine, which was built with donations from a Muslim sponsor to the design of Geoffrey Bawa.

Don Bastian (de Silva Jayasuriya Goonewardane, Mudaliyar), a famous 19th century shipping merchant who was looking for a suitable land to build a temple for the Matara Sri Dharmarama thero, bought a beautiful piece of land belonging to three Moors, and filled and prepared the land at great expense. The land bordered on two sides by the Moragoda Ela and the Pettigala Ela was used to build the temple, which was subsequently named the Padawthota Gangaramaya Viharaya. The Mudaliyar, with the assistance of the people built a great 'Chaitya' (Dagaba) of 30 Riyans, and built a great decorative arch (thorana) and a 'Sandakada pahana' modeled on the ones found at Anuradhapura, at the entrance to the temple. A 'Bo' sapling brought from the great Sri Maha Bhodiya in Anuradhapura, was also planted by his own hands and brought up. He also built a three-storied preaching hall and the walls, railings and the moat round the temple.


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