Hardly 20 minutes away from the country’s capital, Colombo is a beautiful suburb named Ja Ela whose beauty is unbeatable. Having a pleasant weather all throughout the year and a great geographical location, Ja Ela is a place you shouldn’t miss out on your trip to Sri Lanka as there are many interesting places to visit in Ja Ela. If you have noticed, the place has a very weird name. The etymology behind the same is unclear and there are many debatable interpretations for the same. However the most plausible reason for the same is that the name has historical symbolism associated with both the communities living who make the majority population in Sri Lanka; the Tamil and Sinhala and the name of the place has roots in both Malay and Sinhalese languages. ‘Ja’ and ‘Jawan’ are terms that Sinhalese and Tamils use to address Indonesian people and Ela comes from Sinhala meaning lake or stream. This very interesting place is not just about its name but also offers many great places to explore and cool activities to try out. From shopping malls to wetlands and canals to beautiful churches you will find everything in Ja Ela and will have the time of your life.
Ja Ela with its amazing location and a weird yet fascinating etymology behind its name has many beautiful places to visit and here are five you can’t miss.
1. Muthurajawela Marsh
Muthurajawela Marsh is the largest saline wetland and home to over 75 species of birds and 48 species of butterflies. The canal is located approximately 18 kms from Negombo and stands between the river Kelani and lagoon. Wrapped in dense mangrove trees, this is a must visit place for every nature lover. Opt for a fun boat ride to explore the unique flora and fauna this place treasures!
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2. Dutch Canal
This tourist hotspot was constructed by the Dutch in the 18th century to facilitate irrigation as well as create a inland transportation system. Also called as the Hamilton canal, this canal connects the Kelani river in Colombo to the Puttalam lagoon to drain saline water from the paddy fields. A parallel canal runs alongside the Dutch canal for nearly 15 km giving tourists a picturesque journey through the lush green landscape of Sri Lanka. You can get into a boat and glide through the waterway coming across the local markets, people and their lifestyle.
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3. Wolvendaal Church, Colombo
Here is a majestic building dating back to the 17th century. The Dutch constructed this architectural masterpiece more than 300 years ago and even today the structure stands in all its original glory. The quiet and withdrawn atmosphere of the church is perfect for you to relax and meditate for some time. The age old graves in the vicinity remind of the Dutch officials and aristocrats who once called Sri Lanka their home. A quick visit to this church will remind you of the colonial past of the country and how it has now become a part of their heritage.
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4. Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara
Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara is one of the most prominent Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka. With more than 2500 years of history to it, this is the place Lord Buddha visited along with 500 monks invited by king Maniakkhikha. The location at which Buddha stood and preached is marked by a stupa. It is the perfect place to come face to face with Buddha’s life in the form of beautiful paintings and the artifacts like utensils and gen studded throne that belonged to him. You will also marvel as the 18 foot stone statue of Avalokiteshvara found here.
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5. Mount Lavinia Beach
One of the most famous and beautiful beaches to explore in Sri Lanka, the Mount lavinia Beach is an hour and a half drive and some 38 kilometres away from Ja Ela and offers vast expanses of the sea and the privilege to take long walks during the evening. Not just that but the beach is a very beautiful sight and something you would not want to come back from. If you are lucky and you plan your visit to Sri Lanka around a time that’s the best time to visit the destination then you might also get lucky and get a chance of swimming at Mount Lavinia. You can also watch some of the most beautiful sunsets you have ever witnessed at the Mount Lavinia Beach.The beach is the favourite hangout spot for people of all ages and a place that you just cannot miss out on your trip to Sri Lanka. You can take a stroll along the shore or have a photo shoot or maybe just soak in water and go for a good old swim. If all this tempts you and you can’t stop dreaming about the same then you know where you should be headed to.
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Sri Lanka with its many exceptional beaches, the many herds of elephants, famous and very flavourful tea, water activities and the cultural amalgamation attracts many. Not just that but the country is pretty cheap and one can have the most delightful vacation without burning a hole in their pocket. Ja Ela is one of the best parts of Sri Lanka and with so many places to visit in Ja Ela how would it not be?! If you are already excited and have started planning your trip to the beautiful islands then wait for a moment and check out these amazing customizable options for a vacation in Sri Lanka.
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