The Modern Temple of Seema Malaka

The Modern Temple of Seema Malaka

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In the middle of Beira Lake, the sleek Buddhist Temple of Seema Malaka rises elegantly from the tepid water. In comparison to the garishly colorful Sri Subravanian Kovil, which we had just finished visiting, Seema Malaka is a marvel of restraint.

Geoffrey Bawa

After the original Seema Malaka temple had sunk into the lake, the government commissioned Geoffrey Bawa to design a replacement in the 1970s. Bawa, known as the founder of Tropical Modernism, is Sri Lanka’s most famous architect and was one of the most influential in Asia. His stylish creations can be found throughout Colombo, and Seema Malaka is one of the highlights.

The temple is spread across three raised platforms in the lake, connected to each other and to the mainland by bridges. Bawa intended his design to echo the jungle temples of Anuradhapura, also bound together by walkways. Seema Malaka is small and, with the cool breeze coming off the lake, a sense of serenity and simplicity dominates the scene — quite the accomplishment, in the middle of steamy, chaotic Colombo.

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The Modern Temple of Seema Malaka In the middle of Beira Lake, the sleek Buddhist Temple of Seema Malaka rises elegantly from the tepid water. In comparison to the garishly colorful Sri Subravanian Kovil, which we had just finished visiting, Seema Malaka is a marvel of restraint.
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3 Comments

  • Angi

    Hello – we are going to Sri Lanka for vacation in a couple months. I wondered how easy it is to get around from city to city? We are just starting to research. Love the site, thanks for posting!

    February 12, 2012 at 1:15 pm
    • Juergen

      Thank you for checking out our site… trains and buses are very cheap and you can get anywhere on the island. You can also hire a driver for a day… which will cost you about 36k rupees.

      February 12, 2012 at 1:19 pm
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