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Seema Malakaya Meditation Centre

A Tranquil Oasis Amidst the Hustle and Bustle

In the middle of the constant hustle and flow of Colombo, the Seema Malakaya is everything that is peaceful and serene. Floating to the east of South Beira Lake, the temple is used primarily for rest and meditation instead of for worship, and welcomes people of all religions. It was originally built in the late 19th century as one of the outer structures of the Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple, but had slowly sunk into the waters of Beira Lake by the early 1970s. In the latter half of that decade, famous Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa was tasked with the redesign of the temple.

What to Expect at the Seema Malakaya

Bawa’s minimalist design for Seema Malakaya drew inspiration from the ancient Sri Lankan forest monasteries of Anuradhapura and Ritigala, which were also raised over bodies of water. Three floating platforms link the temple to the mainland, connected in turn by pontoon bridges. The first, central platform holds a meditation room enclosed by slatted wooden walls, and is used for yoga and contemplation by visitors as they relax surrounded by views of the lake. The platform to the right is off-limits to visitors, holding important Buddhist texts that may only be accessed by monks. The third platform, which lies to the left of the main central one, hosts a courtyard where the tree within was grown from an offshoot of the original sacred Sri Maha Bodhi tree in Anuradhapura. The sacred tree is adorned in colourful flags that hold the written wishes of its past visitors.

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