National Museum Of Colombo: Top Of Sri Lanka Travel Bucket List

By Jenna Jolie

Sri Lanka, a captivating country in South Asia with a unique blend of stunning natural landscapes and historical attractions, will appeal to any traveler at first glance. It's worth embarking on a thrilling adventure across Sri Lanka, where every turn presents a breathtaking sight that begs to be captured! From the towering ancient rock fortress of Sigiriya to the pristine sandy beaches of the south coast, you should prepare to relish the picture-perfect moments that await you at every corner of this magical island.

Today, Sri Lanka Immigration Services will take you to discover the National Museum of Colombo, also known as the largest museum in Sri Lanka. Take action now and spend just a few minutes reading essential information about this famous museum, including the best way to plan your visit. Don't miss out on a visit to this amazing museum! 

What Should Travelers Know About The National Museum of Colombo: An Iconic Landmark of Sri Lanka's Cultural Heritage

Why is National Museum famous?

The National Museum of Colombo has been at the top of the travel bucket lists for culture buffs in Sri Lanka. The museum is renowned for its extensive collection of artifacts as well as the magnificent neoclassical building that houses it, providing an enthralling journey through the annals of Sri Lankan history.

Constructed in 1877 for the purpose of William Henry Gregory, Governor of Ceylon, the museum's gleaming white and neo-Baroque architecture amazed tourists on their first visit. As you wander through its many rooms, the museum takes you on a captivating journey through Sri Lankan history, tracing the evolution of the country's various kingdoms. Each room is thoughtfully curated to showcase each period's unique cultural and artistic heritage. There are also detailed display boards offering interesting details, such as insights into Sri Lanka's rich Buddhist heritage, with explanations of the mudras (gestures and poses) found in the country's Buddha statues. 

The National Museum of Colombo is a top attraction in Sri Lanka for culture buffs

The National Museum of Colombo is a top attraction in Sri Lanka for culture buffs 

Colombo national museum history

The Colombo National Museum was founded by Sir William Henry Gregory, the British Governor of Ceylon, on January 1, 1877. It is considered the largest one of Sri Lanka's national museums, drawing a large number of tourists yearly. 

When Sir William Henry Gregory was appointed as Governor of Ceylon in 1872, the Royal Asiatic Society (CB) highlighted the necessity for a public museum. However, obtaining the legislative council's approval was an arduous task that required significant effort and perseverance. Despite the numerous challenges, the council finally approved it within a year. J.G. Smither, the Architect of the Public Works Department, then drafted plans for a new structure with an Italian architectural style. Following that, the Museum's construction was carried out by Arasi Marikar Wapchie Marikar, the builder of many significant buildings in Sri Lanka. In 1876, it was completed and began operating the following year.

Today, the authorities have taken various steps to ensure that Sri Lanka's rich cultural and natural history is exhibited in the Museum. That's why tourists can find various artifacts of Sri Lanka's cultural heritage in the Museum. 

What things are in Colombo National Museum?

The Inside of the National Museum

The National Museum of Colombo is a complex of various attractions that exhibit the diverse cultural and natural heritage of Sri Lanka. For anyone seeking a fascinating journey through Sri Lankan history, art, and culture, this is an absolute must-see destination!

Stepping into the museum, tourists will first be mesmerized by the 4th-century Buddha statue in the lobby, then the crown jewel and throne of the final ruler of Kandy. In the galleries, which have been developed and maintained for about 150 years, ancient art, carvings, and statues from Sri Lanka's past are showcased. The 19th-century reproductions of English paintings of Sri Lanka also add to the highlight of the galleries. 

When wandering surrounding the museum, you should prepare to be awed by the grandeur of the royal throne created for King Wimaladharmasuriya II in 1693, displayed in all its magnificent glory in Room 5. Missing this breathtaking masterpiece is simply not an option! Meanwhile, room number two is where you can find the 9th-century bronze Bodhisattva Sandals. While there, don't forget to marvel at the collection of antique demon masks and an impressive array of guns, swords, and other artifacts from the colonial era. 

The National Museum of Colombo showcases Sri Lanka's rich cultural and natural heritage

The National Museum of Colombo showcases Sri Lanka's rich cultural and natural heritage

Sri Lankan National Museum Library

Established in 1870 as the Government Oriental Library, the Sri Lankan National Museum Library serves as the country's unofficial national library and houses several local publications of up to 129 years old. The library was opened to the public in January 1877, becoming the country's first and most extensive Legal Deposit library. 

With its impressive collection of materials about Sri Lanka, this library is truly a must-visit spot for culture buffs from countries worldwide. Among the most precious artifacts stored in National Museum Library is the collection of Orientation and Natural Science, as well as rare manuscripts written in various languages on palm leaves. Currently, the Sri Lankan National Museum Library holds over 12 million titles, including a treasure trove of rare books, priceless palm-leaf manuscripts, and an impressive array of periodicals.

Open Time: The library is open to the public Monday through Saturday from 8:30 am to 5 pm. On Sundays and public holidays, it is closed.

National Museum of Natural History

The National Museum of National History was established on September 23rd, 1986. It stands out as the premier museum in the country, showcasing the remarkable diversity of nature found on this land.

Situated on the same premises as the Colombo National Museum, this awe-inspiring museum reserves an incredible collection of prehistoric cave paintings, Jurassic-period fossils, and over 5000 specimens of different mammals. But that's not all - you'll also find various types of plants and animals on the island, some of which are rare and threatened with extinction. One of the museum's top attractions is the Skull of Megaloceros Giganteus (elk), a specimen from an extinct species of stag that was gifted by Lord Eniskilen in 1950. And don't miss the geological section, where you'll find a huge collection of various rocks that are sure to leave you in awe. 

The National Museum of Natural History showcases the diversity of nature

The National Museum of Natural History showcases the diversity of nature

What's the best way to see Colombo National Museum?

How to go to Colombo National Museum?

Reaching the Colombo National Museum from the Colombo Airport is relatively easy and convenient. The museum is located around 30 kilometers away from the airport, and it usually takes around 25 minutes to reach there. There are different ways to get to the museum from the airport, and one of them is to take a flight to the nearby Diyawanna Oya Airport. Alternatively, you can hire a cab from the airport, and it will take you around 25-30 minutes to reach the museum. Another option is to take a tuk-tuk, which is a popular means of transport in Sri Lanka. Whichever mode of transport you choose, you will enjoy the scenic views and have a comfortable journey to the Colombo National Museum

The entrance fee for Colombo National Museum

Depending on which of the nine branches of the National Museum of Colombo you plan to visit, the entrance fee can vary. It is recommended to purchase a single ticket for all the museums instead of paying a considerably higher amount if you were to buy individual tickets. It is worth noting that there are concessions available for locals, children, students, and teachers.

The entrance fee to visit Colombo National Museum is as below:

For Locals:

- Child - LKR. 15

- Adult – LKR. 25 

For Foreigners:

- Child – LKR 300

 - Adult – LKR 500

Colombo National Museum open days

The Colombo National Museum is open to the public year-round, making it accessible to visitors at any time of the year. It is only closed on public holidays.

A visit to the National Museum of Colombo is a must-do for anyone seeking to deepen their understanding and appreciation of Sri Lanka's cultural and natural heritage. Apply for a Sri Lanka visa today and explore more intriguing things in this country!

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