Colombo is the commercial capital of the country, the official political capital is the suburb Sri Jayawardenepura, historically known as Kotte. Similar to the history of Kolkatta and Chennai in India it became a metropolis due to a British sea port. An as in the case of Mumbai it was a Portuguese stronghold earlier on.
Colombo has a strange mix of old and new. The core quarter of the city it Kottuwa, meaning “Fort”. It still retains examples of colonial architecture, but became the core area of modern skyscrapers, too.
The neighbouring quarter is the traditional area of local markets called Pettha. It is the part of Sri Lanka which is most similar to Indian cities. But there are some havens of contemplation, namely Hindu temples and mosques of Tamil and Muslims living here as traders. The court of the Colonial Dutch Museum is an oasis of tranquility.
For lovers of ancient Buddhist art the National Museum is a must-see, one of the best opportunities to study Indian influenced sculptures in Asia.
Indians love shopping in Colombo and sometimes enjoying the nightlife, too. The house of fashion selling Sri Lankan textiles is popular with Indians looking for a good price-performance ratio. Colombo is a perfect hotspot for buying Sri Lanka’s high-quality gems such as Blue Sapphires and Pushparagas, less touristic than Kandy.
Colombo offers a wide range of accommodation and of reasonably prices luxury hotels in particular.
Sri Lanka's largest city, situated between the stylish Mount Lavinia beach and the country's most important port, is a mixture of traditional, colonial and modern influences