iSee Red Mosque

Red white candy-striped mosque with iconic onion dome

An architectural icon

The Red Mosque is one of the most iconic architectural sights you will see in Pettah, if not the whole of Sri Lanka. Its distinct candy-striped red and white brick façade and decorated onion domes (you’d almost think you were in Moscow!) was in fact designed by an unqualified local architect who based his hybrid creation on neo-Mughal, Indo-gothic as well as neo-classical styles. Its design was so distinct and visible that back in the day, ships that entered the harbour were guided more by the structure of the red mosque than the lighthouse.

A poetic commentary on a historical alliance between trade and religious worship in this part of Colombo.
— Himal Kotelawala

Trade and worship

The original structure built in 1908 was a small prayer house for the Indian traders in Pettah. It was a two-story building with a small clock tower. In 1975 the mosque community set up a trust and bought more land to expand the capacity of the mosque to 10,000! So they did. The Red Mosque now has an even more imposing façade and a stunning interior, arguable Pettah’s most iconic landmark.

Have a look inside!

The mosque hosts ‘awareness tours’ for visitors. Worth joining! You get to see the inside and go up into the dome, from where you get some amazing views of Pettah and the port.

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