The story behind the name ‘Rajagiriya’ is as interesting as the city itself. It is said that the name Rajagiriya came from the former Governor’s residence, whose grounds extended from Madinnagoda Road in the North to Cotta Road in the South. Ananda Coomaraswamy, a local merchant later purchased the house. If the tale of historian Douglas Ranasinghe is to be believed, a Malayali servant of Coomaraswamy once saw a big mongoose in the garden and yelled “Raja kiriya” (meaning ‘large mongoose’) and that’s how the name stuck.
The city of Rajagiriya is even more fascinating than the story. Starting right from historical sites to cultural attractions, the city gifts you an embracive list of a whole lot of local enticements. Consider the advantage of booking hotels in Rajagriya via Yoho Bed – a tech-driven booking system that will simplify your day in the land of palaces and frescoes. Sri Lanka hotel booking has never been this easy and reasonable.
Given below are the top tourist spots in and around Rajagiriya, which should be on your must-visit itinerary.
Borella General Cemetery
From past 170 years, this graveyard has been a significant site for several reasons. Firstly, it is extremely beautiful and sacred to be a resting place; trees as old as the cemetery tower above the entire premises blending to the old-worldly moss. Secondly, a number of famous people are buried here, one among them being the famous science fiction author, Arthur C. Clarke. The people buried here represent every imaginable religion and ethnicity in the world. One section of the cemetery is full of statues of the angels, with 60 soldiers from WWI and 300 soldiers from WWII buried.
The Borella General Cemetery is located 4.3 km away from Rajagiriya.
Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple
Unlike other typical Sri Lankan temples, the Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple has its own significance. This 120-year-old Buddhist temple is located near the scenic Beira Lake and has an intriguing temple complex. Apart from being a popular tourist attraction, the temple houses a learning and vocational training centre. It is home to a huge collection of fascinating artefacts and lavish architecture. The statues here showcase rich Sri Lankan, Chinese, Thai, Burmese and other Asian artistic styles.
The Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple is located 5.2 km away from Rajagiriya.
Colombo National Museum
Established in 1877, the Colombo National Museum exhibits a multitude of artefacts. The perfect place to understand Sri Lanka’s rich history and ancient heritage and tradition, the design and aesthetic of this place are dominated by the features of Italian architecture. The museum spans across two floors with multiple viewing galleries on each floor.
The National Museum of Colombo is located 4.1 km away from Rajagiriya.