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Written by Preetha Manivelan on June 7, 2023 Share on

National Museum of Colombo – Spend Some Time Knowing The History!

Sri Lanka is a destination that can provide you with an amazing vacation. Being home to a countless number of temples, amazing people, food, beaches, getaway places with breathtaking nature, plantations, wildlife and museums, Sri Lanka easily makes itself to the list of must-visit destinations. Out of all the cities in Sri Lanka, Colombo comes with the highest population and attracts almost all the tourists with plenty of options that it has. Any Sri Lanka itinerary will have Colombo by default. And the top places within Colombo city are Gangaramaya Temple, Galle Face Green, Beira Lake, Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque and Viharamahadevi Park. But how about visiting the oldest museum in Colombo and spending some time knowing the history in the National Museum of Colombo in addition to the other must-visits? Trust me, the building itself is an attraction.

Photo by Kon Karampelas on Unsplash

National Museum of Colombo

National Museum of Colombo is the largest museum in Sri Lanka and has been preserving its history since January 1877. This was started by Sir William Henry Gregory who was the British Governor of Ceylon. Standing strong and beautiful for almost 150 years now, the National Museum of Colombo has many important artefacts, statues, old collections and so much more. This is now maintained by the Department of National Museum of the central government and visited by many tourists to know the best of Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Even if you are not a fan of museums, you will love this place because of its historical importance.


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What’s inside the museum?

The National Museum of Colombo is a two-storey building painted milk-white surrounded by lush green lawns. The museum welcomes you with a beautiful golden Buddha statue followed by a great number of collections that could talk about the Sri Lankan prehistoric period. You could find a huge number of amazing artefacts, lots of statues, paintings, bric-a-brac, ancient collections and currencies, carvings and some exciting exhibits. Know what? You also have explanations nearby so you could not only see but learn about its history. Even though the museum is quite large, you have signs directing to the section you would like to see.

Sri Lankan currency
Image by Mohamed Nuzrath from Pixabay

Artefacts in the National Museum of Colombo

There are a lot of artefacts that speak about Sri Lanka’s cultural and natural history that you must have a look at. Word won’t do justice to the amazing collections this museum has. Moreover, the main highlight of this museum is the royal throne that was made for King Wimaladharmasuriya II in 1693. Some of the other must-see things include 9th-century bronze Bodhisattva Sandals, sculptures, antique demon masks, ancient arts and a wide collection of guns and swords from the past. Also, find below the Dahamsonda Story, one of the beautiful exhibits in the museum.

Colombo National Museum Library

This library has been established in the year 1870 as the Government Oriental Library and renamed the Colombo National Museum Library in 1877. This stands as a home to many manuscripts written on the palm leaves and also other local publications. You would fall in love with this place if you love reading.


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The National Museum of Natural History

The National Museum of National History is located in a different building but on the same premises as the National Museum of Colombo. This speaks more about the natural heritage of Sri Lanka. Since 1986, this remains as home to many amazing collections representing various forms of nature and displaying fossils from the Jurassic period, different types of rocks, prehistoric cave paintings and over 5000 specimens of different mammals.

Life of Buddha
Photo by Brian Kyed on Unsplash

How to reach the National Museum of Colombo?

Listing out the best possible options for you to reach the museum below.

Location : Sir Marcus Fernando Mawatha, Colombo 00700, Sri Lanka.

By Flight

You can take a flight to the to Diyawanna Oya Airport, the nearest to the National Museum of Colombo. From the airport, take either of the options mentioned below.

By Cab

Taking a cab is a good option and would be a 25-30 minutes ride to the museum, from the airport.

By TukTuk

TukTuk is a cool option that you can take to reach the museum from the airport. For any internal transportation, this is an affordable choice.

Autos in Sri Lanka
Photo by Jess Snoek on Unsplash

Other things to know about the Museum

Here are some of the basic information that you must know before paying a visit to this place.

Timings : 9 AM to 5 PM

Entry Fee: Here is the fee for the combined ticket that covers the museum’s all nine branches.
Locals : Child – LKR 15 and Adult – LKR 25. And, for foreigners: Child – LKR 300 and Adult – LKR 500.
In case if you want to carry a camera inside, Still camera – LKR 250 and video camera – LKR 2000.

Best time to visit: The museum is open all year round. However, the best time to visit is between January and March as the temperature is favourable enough to wander around the museum beside the air conditioning facility not available.

Tips for visiting

  • It is quite difficult to get a parking spot on busy days hence availing public transportation like a TukTuk might save your time.
  • Make sure you prepare yourself to walk a lot inside the museum.
  • There is no washroom available inside the museum. However, there are a few, outside the museum.
  • A gift shop is located outside the museum with a lot of beautiful souvenirs.
  • There is no air conditioning facility. However, you have fans inside the building.

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A historical place indeed. Though you expect a trip has to be fun-filled and enjoyable, there is always something special about visiting museums as those places tell you a lot more than what you see in tourist place. Trust me, it will be awesome to know the history of the places you are visiting throughout the trip. If you want a wholesome vacation, knowing a destination’s history should be a part of the trip. So, planning to visit Sri Lanka? Here is how. Head out to the Pickyourtrail website and check for some amazing Sri Lanka tour packages or craft one by yourself. A beautiful wholesome experience awaits you for sure!

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