Colombo Fort Clock Tower.

The Colombo Fort Clock Tower doesn’t look it, but it is – in many ways – the heart of the city.

This spot is roughly 

kilometer zero

 for the country.

 The distance of all the roads to and from Colombo (like the A1) is measured from the nearby President’s House.       

It is also right next to the Central Bank, which you can see at left in the picture above. In 1996, the Central Bank was the site of a terrorist attack which killed 91 people, injured 1,400 and caused tourism to plummet 40%. The clock tower was also damaged and basically stopped ticking. After this the heart of Colombo became a high security zone. 

Then, on 

January 22nd 2015, the road was re-opened, about 6 years after the end of the war. Earlier you could see the tower from Chatham Street, but it wasn’t fully public. Now it finally is, and we took the chance to revisit Janadhipathi Mawatha and take some photos.

The Location

This is the center of Colombo, but the road has been closed for much of living memory. Janadhipathi Mawatha is actually only a few hundred meters long, but the length of roads has been calculated from the President’s House here since the Kandy Road (A1) was built.

The clock tower itself began service as a lighthouse in 1829 and a clock was installed in 1860. The clock mechanism itself was built by the English clockmakers Dent, who also built Big Ben. As buildings came up around the point, the lighthouse was decommissioned in 1952. If you look you can see that it still has what looks like a beacon on top. The tower and mechanism was severely damaged in the bomb blast but is in working order now.

Stuff Around

Visiting the clock tower will actually only take a minute. There isn’t anything to do there and you can’t climb it. You may want to refresh yourself in the neighborhood.

Chatham Street has the lovely

Dilmah T-Lounge

and the quirky

Pagoda Tea Rooms

, where Duran Duran filmed a music video. There is also the

Economic History Museum

(we call it the Money Museum) right on the corner. This is an odd museum where you can find giant 10 Rupee coins and other somewhat kitschy curiosities. 

For more conventional dining and shopping, the highly happening Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct nearby. On your way there, a random place worth checking out is the

jail cell of the last King of Sri Lanka

. It’s in an insurance building parking lot at the opposite end of Janadhipathi Mw. This was the spot where the last king was held before he was deported to India.

The nearby

Kingsbury Hotel

is also a nice place to chill, they have a rooftop bar and a good buffet. 


The Colombo Fort Clock tower is not especially tall or particularly noteworthy, but it means a lot to us. In many ways, after the Central Bank bombing, the heart of the city was closed – both literally and metaphorically. That’s why it makes us very happy that this spot is fully accessible again. We know it’s not much to look at, but there’s a lot of meaning there if you stop to think.

If you want to see how the place looked now and then, use the sliding image below. The ‘before’ photo is from The Archives. We’re not sure we got the angle right, but it looks OK.



Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp




Indulge in the North Indian themed ‘Delhi Bound’ at Harbour Court, The Kingsbury.

Ambience This restaurant offers a sophisticated yet warm ambience, with soft lighting. The bright colored

Highlights Kamu

Caterers for your events 2024

Written by Fathima Rukaiya, When planning an event, finding the perfect catering spot can be

Highlights Kamu

Top Burger Joints of 2024

Written by Fathima Rukaiya, Who doesn't adore a juicy, mouthwatering burger? But finding the ideal

Highlights Kamu

Ramada Colombo: Break Your Fast in Style with a Luxurious Iftar

Written by Shamrina CIt’s that holy month of the year again for all Muslims around

Highlights Kamu

A blissful evening at The Sheraton Colombo Nestled in the heart of Colombo, the Sheraton Colombo hotel epitomizes luxury and sophistication.

Highlights Kamu

Iftar delights at The Banyan, Heritance Negombo

Iftar delights at The Banyan, Heritance Negombo Written by Fathima Rukaiya, Mad Dogs Bodega, Banyan

Highlights Kamu


Introducing ‘Forever Starts Here’—the Wedding Campaign Brought to you by Hilton Hotels in Sri Lanka.

Seize the moment and say 'I do' to selected wedding packages before the end of


Handheld Achieves Significant Gaming Performance Improvements Through New BIOS and GPU Drivers

Up to 150% increase in gaming performance The gaming performance of the Claw significantly improved


RTC Magic Million Cup promises racing excitement

The Magic Million Cup 2024, hosted by RTC Nuwara Eliya, and powered by HPSL is


Layards Wharf by Food Studio opens its doors with exclusive dining experience for guests

Food Studio proudly introduces its third food court at Havelock City Mall, offering a distinctive


Royal Turf Club Nuwara Eliya Governor’s Cup showcased exciting wins

The hills of Nuwara Eliya came alive to the cheers as jockeys vied for winning


Hayleys Leisure Training Academy Celebrates Its Second Graduation Ceremony at Amaya Lake, Dambulla

The Hayleys Leisure Training Academy, a pioneering initiative by Hayleys Leisure, held its second graduation


Yamu Guide.

Celebrate Mother’s Day with Shirohana

by Fathima Rukaiya, Mother's Day, a special occasion to honor mothers and motherhood, is celebrated

Highlights Yamu Guide

Steak Bar: A Grand Sunday Brunch at Kingsbury, Colombo

Written by Shamrina C Welcome to the ultimate brunch experience! Nestled in the heart of

Highlights Kamu Yamu Guide

9 Special Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Him

By Fathima Rukaiya Are you trying to find the perfect way to show your special

Highlights Yamu Guide

9 Special Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Her

Written by Fathima Rukaiya The season of love is upon us once more, and opinions

Highlights Yamu Guide

Romantic Dinner and High Tea date spots for Valentine’s Day  2024

Written by Shamrina C 1. Via Torino Indulge in a fine dining exclusive 3-Course meal

Highlights Yamu Guide

BYOB Bliss: 16 Places to you can Bring Your Own Bottle!

Written by Shamrina C 1. Giovannis Indulge in Italian flavors, grooving music, pet friendly, and

Highlights Yamu Guide