SLT RAINBOW PAGES

Gangaramaya Temple

The most visited temple in the Colombo city, the Gangaramaya Temple which organizes Sri Lanka's largest and the most colourful Vesak festival annually, has a history of 120 years. It was established in 1885 by Venerable Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Nayaka Thera at a time when Buddhist and cultural resurgence were much needed as the country was under the colonial rule.

The area that was once a swamp beside the Beira Lake, has now turned to be an iconic complex which consists of the temple, the assembly hall in the breathtaking lake and the vocational training institute. Earlier, devotees had to cross the Beira Lake on a boat in order to reach the then small temple which was converted to what is today by the Devundara Sri Jinaratana Nayake Thera, a pupil of Venerable Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Nayaka Thera who appointed him as the chief incumbent of the temple.

One of the grandest festivals of the Gangaramaya Temple, the Navam Perahera, the inception of which dates back to 1979, is held annually in the month of February, displaying the rich religious and cultural tradition of Sri Lanka. It is quite a fascinating sight that hundreds of elephants nicely adorned with elegant costume walk with pride and dignity carrying the casket of the sacred relics while many troupes of traditional drummers, flutists, dancers and other traditional performers and hundreds of Buddhist monks clad in colourful robes, parade in the Perahera.

The Gangaramaya Navam Perahera, a colourful pageant in the city of Colombo, plays a big role in preserving the Buddhist culture and taking it for future generations. The Perahera attracts thousands of people not only from the whole island but also beyond the ocean as it is popular throughout the world.

Yet another grand festival held by the Gangaramaya Temple in commemoration of the Birth, Enlightenment and Passing-away of the Lord Buddha, is the annual Vesak Festival known as'Buddha Rashmi Pooja', the largest and the most attracted Vesak festival in the island. During this colourful festival, the temple and the area around turn into a sparkling dreamland with thousands of beautifully crafted and illuminated Vesak lanterns some of which are afloat the Beira Lake and millions of lights on the trees around and Sima Malaka embellishing the Buddha Rashmi Pooja.

In addition, a number of religious observances and events are conducted parallel to the Vesak festival with a view to improving the knowledge of the devotees on Buddhism.

Related Articles

Mahiyangana Vihara

Mahiyangana Raja Maha Vihara is an ancient Buddhist temple in Mahiyangana, Sri Lanka. It is believed to be the site of Gautama Buddha's first visit t...

Rasvehera Buddha Statue

This is a colossal statue of Buddha lying close the famous Awkana statue, but not as popular. This statue is called Ras Vehera as well as Sasuruwa (or...

Sri Pada

The often used Sri Pada is derived from Sanskrit, used by the Sinhalese people in a religious context; this name also has meaning in P?li, and may be ...

Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi

Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi. ... It is said to be the right-wing branch (southern branch) from the historical Sri Maha Bodhi at Buddha Gaya in India under whi...

Ruwanweliseya

The Ruwanwelisaya is a stupa, a hemispherical structure containing relics, in Sri Lanka, considered sacred to many Buddhists all over the world. ... T...

Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil

The temple is a socially important institution for the Sri Lankan Tamils Hindu identity of north Sri Lanka. In the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora, many tem...

Digavapiya

Dighavapi (Pali, "long reservoir") is a Buddhist sacred shrine and an archaeological site in the Ampara District of Sri Lanka, boasting of historical ...

Ridi Vihara

The tale of Ridi Vihara is described thus. It’s about 20 kilometres away from the ancient kingdom of Kurunegala in a small village called Ridi Gama....

View all Articles