Being one of the largest cities in the eponymous district, Gampaha, Western Sri Lanka is an amazing place. Here you’ll be able not only to learn about the history of the area but also to dive into the vivid mixture of different cultures.
The main reason for the historical importance of this beautiful town located in the western part of the country is the fact that it was the part of the main route to the hill country while the country was under the Portuguese influence.
Sights in Gampaha, Western Sri Lanka
Yatawatte Purana Vihara
This beautiful religious place is the ancient Buddhist temple and it has its roots in the era of Kandy. It’s among the most important archeological places in the country, formally protected by the Government. The temple is easily reachable since it’s only a kilometer away from the center of Gampaha. In the area of the temple, you can admire the stunning Stupa with an impressive dome.
The Railway Station Henerathgoda
If you find yourself in Gampaha, Western Sri Lanka, it will enchant you with the old railway station of Henerathgoda. Located in the western part of the city, it was built to make it possible for traders in the end of the 19th century to transport their coffee and tea supplies to the market of Colombo. British colonists were the ones to build it.
The Botanical Garden
What makes the Henarathgoda Botanical Garden unique is the fact that it was established more than 125 years ago. The first rubber tree in Sri Lanka was built within its borders. The 43-acre sized Henerathgoda Botanical Garden is a great place for walking relaxation and observation of the intact greenery. It is also the home for a water garden, which represents a small lake with an islet in its center.
Cave Temples of Maligatenna
Located in the natural setting of the forests of Gampaha, Cave Temples of Maligatenna are a great place to visit if you want to hike and have both an adventurous and educational experience. The 99 ancient temples were established by King Walagamba. He was living here during his exile, and the rock caves are abundant with ancient writings.
One of the main advantages of Gampaha is it good connection with Colombo. Located 25 kilometers away from Colombo, it is a great option for weekend escapes. You can rent a vehicle in Colombo, or take a taxi, train, or bus (which is the most usual and the cheapest option). The ride to Gampaha should not last longer than an hour, but usually, you can get there in around 45 minutes.
Gampaha is known as one of the rainy places in Sri Lanka. Even though January is the driest month of the year, you still can expect rainfalls. However, there are no larger oscillations in temperatures during different seasons.
In April, which is the hottest month, you can expect the temperature rising up to 28°C. In December, which is the coldest month, temperatures don’t go much under 26°C. This makes Gampaha an ideal place to visit during the entire year. However, if you are not a lover of the rain, you should at least skip Gampaha in October. (That’s when the rainfall reaches the peak.)
Eat and Drink
Most of the hotels in Gampaha also provide some pretty tasty meals. You can taste both local and international ones.
Guruge Restaurant and Letonia Colonial Cafe offer some delicious dishes from the Chinese cuisine, such as kottu and parata.
For eating on the budget, we recommend Little Hut. It’s a nice place where you can have a tasty and cheap meal.
If you are looking for fast meals, such as snacks or pastries, you may want to visit Nimaka Foods. It’s a cafe with nice food and reasonable prices.
Where to Stay
Depending on your budget, you can choose among different types of accommodation in Gampaha. One of the popular options (even though it isn’t the cheapest one) is Otel Hotel because it offers not only a nice restaurant and great food, but also a swimming pool.
If you are in need of something cheaper, you should check out Wet Water Resort which offers comfy rooms, nice international menu, swimming pool, and bicycle renting. There are also private cottages that can be rented.
The name of Gampaha, Western Sri Lanka, translated from Sinhala language means “five villages” and even though there are certain discussions on the topic of borders of the city (if Gampaha nowadays still includes all of the villages or not), one thing is sure – Gampaha has certainly kept the charming spirit of all these ancient villages despite its being one of the largest and most urbanized cities in the district.