Seema Malaka, also spelt Simamalaka or Sima Malakaya, is an elegant island temple in the middle of the small Beira Lake, which is located at the southern edge of Colombo 02 (Slave Island). For art lovers, it is one of the few Buddhist temples in Colombo woth a visit, famous for its stepped wall of Buddhist statues. Some of them have their hands on their lap, while some show other gestures.
The original Seema Malaka temple from the 19th century had sunk into the lake. In the 1970s Ceylon’s most renowned modern architect, Geoffrey Bawa, designed the new Seema Malaka island temple. Remarkably, the construction was sponsored by a Muslim, namely S.H. Mososajee, the chairman of Moosajees Ltd., a specialists in fiber and forage.
The Seema Malaka is built on three raised platforms, connected to one another and to the mainland by bridges. Bawa’s design echoed ancient forest monasteries, such as the Western temples of Anuradhapura, which were bound together by walkways, too. The halls of Seema Malaka are in the Kandyan style, with typical overhanging roofs.
The Seema Malaka is the assembly and ordination hall for Buddhist Bhikkus of the nearby Gangarama temple.
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