Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte is the capital of the island country Sri Lanka. The name translates to English as “the blessed fortress city of growing victory”. Also known as Kotte, it’s been the seat of the Parliament of Sri Lanka since 1982 in an effort of the government to ease congestion in the city of Colombo.  The developing city has retained its Asian charm and what’s left of its Portuguese heritage.

There are no airports in Sri Jayewardenepura but tourists would usually land in Colombo’s airports. From the former capital city, one can travel to Sri Jayewardenepura via Colombo Fort Railway Train System. One can also take the buses which are also plentiful in the capital city itself. In Kotte, one can easily get around with the only railway station, the Kelani Valley Line.  Bus terminals are easy to spot, as well as the Passenger Boat Service. Each journey on the city ferry could take around 20 to 30 minutes as it makes stops at Kotte Marsh, Nawala, Kotte’s Open University, the Apollo Hospital and Saint Peter’s College.

Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte’s weather is generally warm but it has a monsoon season. Tourists are advised to avoid the months of October and November unless they enjoy rain and flood. One can truly know what travelling light means when heading to Sri Lanka as travellers would need a lot of light clothing and flip flops. There are hilly destinations where one might require a light jacket. The whole of Sri Lanka is a religious and multi-ethnic nation, with many Muslim, Buddhists, Catholics and Hindu residents. Women are advised to follow dress codes in many sacred landmarks.

Cellphone coverage is very good in the city but one might want to avail of the local sim card. Internet connection is extensive as well. Sri Lankans enjoy cricket and football and so children will be seen gathered in parks for after-school and weekend games. Tourists can enjoy walks around the Diyawanna Lake where the new parliament building is situated.  There are a lot of stalls that offer bike rentals for a peaceful tour around the city. The streets are littered with fruit stalls which are locally and organically grown.  Tea shops feature the famous Ceylon tea that is proudly grown in Sri Lanka’s mountains. They also have drinks made from the nectar of palm trees and lots of coconut juice.  Most of the dishes are smothered in curry sauce. McDonald’s even serve curry sauce as a condiment, instead of the conventional ketchup.

Photo Credit: cpa.srilanka @flickr