Blue Hindu Temple, popular among pilgrims and travellers
- Sivasubramania Swami Kovil, 131 Kew Road, Colombo 02
- Open daily 5:30-10:30 am, 5.30-8pm
A colourful tower made up of intricate carvings of small statues rises high a height of about 80 feet looms over you as if to protect the sacred temple underneath. Built in 1822, this Hindu temple is a major pilgrimage site for Sri Lankan Hindus from the deep South and far North and even a must-visit site for Hindu Service Officers who travelled through Colombo from India to Africa to fight in the Boer War. Hence the name traveller’s temple.
All are welcome
The temple guardian Kathiresu Kanagasabapathy says: “People of all faiths come to the temple. Other than the Hindu celebrations, the temple also gives alms once a month on Poya days and there is also a major celebration for Independence Day.” Worth a visit, for any traveller, if only for the stunningly vibrant artwork on the ceiling.
The temple celebrations are one-of-a-kind with Hindu priests performing complex rites and ceremonies that sometimes even involve blood offerings. Come here in July for the annual Vel (or golden chariot) festival, when there is a hugely festive procession with worshippers carrying the statue of the Hindu war god Skanda through the streets of Slave Island. You get to see some groovy costumes, decorated carts, great music and heroic activities like offering dances with live piercing and fire walking.