The country of Sri Lanka is home to different cultures and people owing to its colonial past. The capital city, Colombo, thus is home to many European-style buildings and architecture. The National Museum of Colombo in Sri Lanka is one of such places, which is as magnificent in style as it is in function. Read on to know every little detail about the National Museum of Colombo which will help you on your visit to Sri Lanka.
About National Museum Of Colombo
Also called the National Museum of Sri Lanka, the museum is housed in a two storeys building. It has a huge, lush, well-maintained, green lawn in front full of banyan trees. The museum also has a statue of Buddha meditating in the lobby. The statue, in fact, dates back to the fourth century, which makes it one of the most well-preserved statues of Buddha in the country. Considered a masterpiece by experts, the statue adds to the vibe of the museum.
National Museum Of Colombo: Important Information
The National Museum Of Colombo opening hours is 9 AM to 5 PM. It, however, remains closed on public holidays. The National Museum Of Colombo entrance fee is quite varying, it is better to buy the ticket for both the museums, as you will have to pay significantly higher if you buy the tickets separately.
For SAARC citizens: INR 500/-
For foreigners: INR 30/-
National Museum Of Colombo: Historical Significance
The National Museum of Colombo was first established in 1877 by Sir William Henry Gregory, who was the British Governor of Ceylon. The museum was built in the Italian style by a PWD architect J. G. Smither and displayed multiple artifacts showcasing the natural as well as cultural past of the country. The construction of National Museum in Colombo was carried out under Wapchie Marikar, who was also the builder of other government buildings of that era like General Post Office in Colombo, Old Town Hall in Pettah, Clock Tower and Victoria Arcade.
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Artifacts On Display In National Museum Of Colombo
The main attraction of the museum is the crown jewel and throne of the last King of Kandy, which was returned by the British to the Sri Lankan people. The beauty of these royal possessions is so awe-inspiring that a crowd of around 750,000 people gathered to witness these artifacts when they were first displayed in 1934. You will also find a huge collection of masks and puppets in the museum.
National Museum Of Library
The extensive National Museum Library has been operational since 1877 as well. The library, in fact, was started seven years earlier in 1870 under the name the Government Oriental Library. It is, at present, the biggest legal depository of the country. It has numerous local publications printed over the last 133 years. The library also houses many manuscripts in palm leaf written in different languages years ago on varied topics like astrology and folklore.
National Museum Of Natural History
The National Museum also is home to a huge collection connected to the natural history of the island. The whole collection is on display in a different building in the same premises, known to all as National Museum of Natural History Colombo. It is the only museum in the country displaying different forms of nature. It was established in 1986 and has in its galleries exhibitions of prehistoric cave paintings, Jurassic-period fossils, over 5000 specimens of different mammals, as well as different kinds of plants and animals native to the Sri Lankan island. You will also find a collection of different rocks among other exhibits showcasing the natural history of the country.
Other Museums In Colombo
The culture of museum and art preservation is quite strong in Sri Lanka. This is why there are a number of museums in and around Colombo which you absolutely need to visit. Here is a sneak peek into the top museums in Colombo:
1. Dutch Museum
Another building from the colonial past of Sri Lanka, this Dutch Museum was the residence of the Dutch Governor during the seventeenth century. Here you will find many pieces, furniture and other items connected to the Dutch colonial era, preserved over the years. The museum is located in Colombo itself.
2. Ceylon Tea Museum
Located in Hantana, this tea museum is a one-stop place to witness the beauty of tea making. It houses many machines, pictures and other objects showcasing the history of the tea industry in Sri Lanka. The country is the second largest exporter of tea, which makes the story of the tea industry in Sri Lanka all the more interesting.
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3. Kandy National Museum
Once the residence of the Queen, this museum has over 5000 items on display. The building was built in traditional Kandyan architectural style and houses different objects showcasing the history and culture of Kandy (17th – 19th century).
Are you planning a trip to Sri Lanka? Don’t forget to visit the National Museum of Colombo to learn about the rich past of the Land of Gods.
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