Built on the edge of Gangaramaya Park is the Gangaramaya Temple. A stellar example of Buddhist Temples in Sri Lanka, it was built by Don Bastian, a famous naval merchant in the nineteenth century. Gangaramaya Temple was built in honor of Matara Sri Dharmarama Thero. It came to be known by the locals as Padawthota Gangaramaya Viharaya. A truly remarkable place of worship, this serene, but imposing Vihara displays an eclectic mix of architectural styles – Thai, Indian, Sri Lankan, and even Chinese.
Gangaramaya Temple has several segments built into its huge structure. It has a Vihara Mandiraya or temple for worship, a Cetiya or Pagoda, a Seema Malaka or assembly hall, and even a Relic Chamber. This besides, Gangaramaya Temple holds within its sacred interiors a museum, a library, educational halls, a residential hall, a Pirivena or seminary, and an alms hall. The history of Gangaramaya Temple is not restricted only to Buddhism, but to communal harmony as well.
Today the Gangaramaya Temple serves not only as one of the chief centers of Buddhism and esoterism but has a myriad of other functions as well. It is a center of learning, and houses and old age home, an orphanage, and a vocational training center as well. A treasure trove of Buddhist relics and artifacts, Gangaramaya Temple has statues of several Buddhist deities towards its rear.
With astonishing acreage and a sparkling vitality amidst peaceful serenity, this temple is beautiful, to say the least. One could spend hours on end at this brilliant location without so much as realizing that time has passed at all. The spread of Buddhist Dhamma in Ceylon is illustrated clearly here. Also, this temple has helped spread the Dhamma to Staten Island, New York, and Tanzania. Easily accessible and the very symbol of peace amidst the busy capital city, this vihara is well worth the visit.