National Museum, Colombo, Sri Lanka

On a hot afternoon after we finished watching Gangarama temple, we went to the National museum. From the entrance we could see the welcoming white colonial structure. The museum was founded by the then British governor of Sri Lanka (then Ceylon), Sir William Henry Gregory in 1877. As we walked inside we saw a Buddha statue on the left hand side. National museum also know as Colombo national museum or Sri Lanka national museum is located in the capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo.

At the entrance of Colombo National Museum


P.O. Box 854, Sir Marcus Fernando Mw., Colombo 07
Phone: 0094 112 694366

It is the largest museum in Sri Lanka and is maintained by the department of museums. To enter the museum one has to pay an entry fees:

Colombo National Museum &
National Museum of Natural History
(Combined Ticket)
20/-Local Child 35/-Local Adult 300/-Foreign Child 600/-Foreign Adult


Name of the Museum   Opening hours    Days on which it is opened
Colombo National Museum
Colombo 7
  9.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. Entry tickets are not issued from 5 pm onwards. All 7 days except public holidays
such as Full Moon Poya days, Thai
Pongal, Ramazan, Christmas etc.
National Museum of Natural History
Colombo 7

Video/Still camera fees:

Camera Type Amount
Normal Camera Permit Rs 250.00
Video Camera Permit Rs 2000.00

As we walked inside we were greeted with a Buddha statue made out of single stone. Walking further led us to discover large facts of Sri Lanka’s history and culture. The museum has a huge collection of ancient artifacts, traditional cloths, large collection of various Buddha statues, paintings, rock edicts etc. Visiting this museum is one of the best ways to come closer to Sri Lanka’s history. The natural history section also have some interesting collection – skull of neo human (early man), jaws along with teeth of Balagonda man (early homonins of Sri Lanka), huge urn, writing of Sri Lanka’s natural evolution etc.

One thing that surprised me was seeing a lot of items related to Hindu gods/goddesses like Nataraj statue, Lakshmi statue etc. Slowly I came to realize during my stay in Sri Lanka that India had influenced so hugely the island nation. Someone told me that Sri Lanka was a Hindu nation before Indian emperor Ashoka preached Buddhism there. Also, saw the throne of the traditional Kandiyan monrachs of Sri Lanka and various items/utensils used by them. The walk through the museum is very full filling and a education in itself. Credit to the staff, it is very nicely maintained.

Kandiyan monarch’s throne

Nataraj statue

Traditional dress of Kandiyan male

Following this we went to the canteen of the museum to douse our hunger. Anyone visiting Colombo National Museum, I suggest to visit the canteen in case you want to have anything. It has good snack items, fruit juice/milkshakes, cold drinks etc. Also, on the other end is a high end restaurant for anyone looking for high level service. After some awesome snacks, we left for Independence Square.

To view more pictures of Sri Lanka visit, Travelingbeats Photo Gallery.

Sri Lankan department of museum website: