Colombo, Sri Lanka
There is much symbolism in the unique design of national flag of Sri Lanka. The gold border around the flag represents the unity of all people of Sri Lanka. The green stripe represents its Muslim people and the orange stripe represents the Hindu Tamils. The gold represents Buddhism and the saffron stands for a long life. The golden lion is a symbol of the bravery and strength of its people and the sword is a symbol of authority. The Bo leaves represent the four pillars of Buddhist faith–love, compassion, sympathy, and equanimity.
Surprising Colombo! —
I’ll be honest, Nina and I did not have high expectations for Colombo, Sri Lanka. For our first time visiting, we unfairly expected the city to be dirty, smelly, and overcrowded like much of India. Boy were we mistaken!! We found Colombo to be surprisingly clean and buzzing with infrastructure growth and construction. The amount of construction was shocking! Massive buildings and Dubai-esque skyscrapers were being built all over the city. We were quite impressed and pleasantly surprised! Apparently, much Chinese money has moved into Colombo and the city is being rapidly modernized. Sri Lanka is known as the ‘teardrop of India’ due to the island’s shape and proximity to India (see map below). Sri Lanka was formerly known as Ceylon until 1972.
After a 10-minute walk into town from the cruise ship dock, we hailed a tuk-tuk (which is a rickshaw and the motor makes a tuk-tuk sound) and off we went. Sri Lankans drive on the left since the country was once part of the British Empire. Our tuk-tuk driver spoke very good English and had great knowledge of Colombo. We negotiated with him to be our guide for the day and he took us all around the city to places where the average tourist would not have seen. We had a full day of visiting Buddhist temples, landmarks, and of course the markets. Our driver/guide and tuk-tuk experience was great value for money!
— We highly recommend a tuk-tuk tour of Colombo; they are safe, good value for money, and the drivers typically speak good English and are knowledgeable of the city; negotiate a price!!
— The Lotus Tower is still under construction (we were there in June 2017), but once completed will be the tallest such tower in Asia at 350m (1150 ft) serving radio and TV broadcasting stations, as well as restaurants, museum, and a tourist observation platform.
— The Pettah market is popular for tourists; vendors will request a high price expecting you to negotiate down
Facts & Figures
— Sri Lanka gained independence from British rule in 1948 and was known as Ceylon until 1972
— Archaeologists have found pre-historic human settlements on the island that date back 125,000 years
— Colombo is the capital of Sri Lanka and the island nation’s largest city
— Sri Lanka’s unit of currency is the rupee
4 Philippians 4:13 – New Living Translation (NLT)
13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
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