“Pic of the Week”, November 30, 2018. The Old Parliament Building, Colombo

00 Old Parliament Building (4)

A building that’s impossible to miss when you visit the coastal area of downtown Colombo is the nation’s first Parliament building (a.k.a. the “Old Parliament Building”).  Facing the Galle Face Green and the sea (and now the ever-growing Marina development complex), the building is situated on reclaimed land just south of the Fort District and World Trade Center towers.  Initially the building was home to the Legislative Council of Ceylon and was witness to country’s transition from colonial state to self-rule in 1947. 

Completed in 1930, this Neo-Baroque style building was home to the country’s legislature for 53 years.  During the country’s prolonged Civil War, Parliament was moved to a a more secure complex in nearby Sri Jayawardenepura in 1983.

The building …

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The British War Cemetery, Trincomalee

00 Trincomalle British Military Cemetery

Today is Veteran’s Day in the USA and Remembrance Day in most of the Commonwealth nations.  It’s a time to remember and reflect on those who paid the ultimate price to fight tyranny and preserve liberty.

During my last trip to Sri Lanka we made a 2 day stop in the east coast community of Trincomalle, a place I had not been to before because it was at the center of the Civil War.  Trincomalle is a pretty town with one of the world’s greatest natural harbors.  As such, it is a popular destination for diving.

I made a point of visiting the Trincomalee British War Cemetery (a.k.a. Trincomalee War Cemetery) situated on the north end of the …

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“PIc of the Week”, November 2, 2018: Cargill’s Store, Colombo

01 Cargills

One of the most popular buildings from the British Colonial era in Colombo is the Cargills department store, located in the city’s old Fort District.  A century ago this store was busy providing British residents with a place they could purchase staples and luxury items from back home.  The journey to Cargills often required them to make the long trek to Colombo from tea plantations and other remote destinations in Sri Lanka. 

The lovely building is know for it’s red brick facade.  It was originally built as the residence of the Dutch military commander of Galle, before British occupation.  The building was acquired by Cargills in 1896 and underwent a remodel and refinishing, opening as a store in 1906.

Like many of …

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The Grand Hotel: A Step Back in Time

02 Grand Hotel, Nuwara Eliya (31)

If you love visiting and staying in hotels built during the British Colonial era, a great stop is The Grand Hotel in Nuwara Eliya.  The hotel is situated about a mile above sea level in Sri Lanka’s Hill Country, in the heart of the tea-plantations and fields of vegetables.  The Grand Hotel was built in the style of an Elizabethan-era manor house.

Nuwara Eliya was a popular vacation destination for the British and Scottish citizens who took care of the Empire’s business in Sri Lanka during the 19th century, so much so that the region was fondly known as “Little England”.  Much of Sri Lanka is steamy hot year round, but the cool days and nights in the mountains reminded the …

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“Pic of the Week”, August 31, 2018: Galle Face Green, Colombo

15 Galle Face Green (2)

Situated on the Indian Ocean, just north of the historic Galle Face Hotel and south of Colombo’s business district and old Fort region, is a public park known as the Galle Face Green

The park covers 5 hectacres (12 acres) and is a popular place for people to gather, especially at sunset when the beautiful light of the setting sun and cool ocean breezes draws folks in.  The Green has in the past, also served as a horse racing venue, golf course and sports field (football, cricket, rugby).

During my visits to Colombo I enjoyed walking along the Green’s oceanside path just after dawn — one of my ways of dealing with jetlag.  The walk …

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“Pic of the Week”, August 17, 2018: Batticaloa’s Mahatma Gandhi Park

00 Gandhi Memorial Park, Batticaloa

Mahatma Gandhi Park (aka ‘Gandhi Park’) is a fairly new addition to the lagoon waterfront in the heart of Batticaloa town.  Built to honor the great Indian leader, the golden statue of him is definitely designed to capture your attention. 

The park is popular with visitors and locals alike and is a nice place to relax.  While resting on one of the benches, look for fishermen in small canoes or enjoy one of Sri Lanka’s many beautiful sunsets.

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)

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“Pic of the Week”, July 13, 2018: The Galle Face Hotel Library and Museum

07bGalle Face Hotel tour (48)

I’ve previously shared a post about one of my favorite hotels, namely Colombo’s Galle Face Hotel.  Today I’d like to highlight two areas hotel guests can explore which were new to the hotel since I’d last stayed here.  These were added during the hotels recent upgrades and renovations.

The hotel now has a very fine Library.  A multi-room quiet place with very comfortable arm chairs and sofas, I spent some time here looking around and taking in the framed historic documents, illustrations and maps, and coffee-table books.  I love libraries and had never been to one so sumptuous and inviting in a hotel before.

It was in the library that I discovered where the bust of Sir Arthur C. …

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Seema Malaka Temple, Colombo

01 Seema Malaka Temple, Colombo (4)

One of the most beautiful temples in Colombo — even all of Sri Lanka — is Seema Malaka.  It’s a Buddhist temple situated on calm and peaceful Beira Lake, not far from Gangaramaya Temple Seema Malaka was designed to be a place for meditation and rest, rather than worship.  It’s a quiet spot from which to retreat from the hustle and bustle of Colombo.  

The temple you see today is a replacement for one constructed in the late 19th century which sank into the lake in the 1970s.  In 1976, famed Sri Lankan architect, Geoffrey Bawa (the father of “tropical modernism” style), was hired to redesign and construct the temple.  Bawa’s design was said to be influenced …

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