The Angurukaramulla Temple is a very cool place to visit if you're in Negombo. It's best known for its epic statue of the Buddha, and its dragon-entrance - inside you find detailed murals that date back centuries. There is also a 300+ year old ruin of a historic library here, covered in moss.
The Buddha statue out front is six meters tall. You walk through the dragon's mouth to enter the temple - the dragon is supposed to ward off evil spirits. The premises are a wide open space with plenty of trees by the edge and a pond in the middle (with turtles in it).
Inside the temple are amazing murals, sculptures and paintings on the ceiling, depicting the Buddha's journey to enlightenment and stories of Sri Lanka's former rulers from the Mahavamsa.
Right next to the temple is the stupa, whose staircases are guarded by bronze lions.
Watch out for the kitties on the kitty on the way up.
The inside of the stupa is pretty epic, because there's a stupa in the stupa (stupaception), and amazing carvings in the walls and windows. There are also more murals here and sculptures behind mesh, and it's usually dimly lit like it's not oft-visited, so better visit in broad daylight.
This old remnant of a historic library from more than three hundred years ago, across from the temple on the same premises, is my favourite.
The staircase and the pavillion above are all that remain, everything is covered in moss, the painstaking carvings in the stone are still visible, and though the doors are locked you can still peek through the windows and see a spiral staircase inside.
We're not sure how much of it is refurbished and how much has been preserved, but it all still looks quite cool.
From this old arch at the front of this library you can sit down and look out at Negombo town.
The Angurukaramulla temple is a beautiful place to wander through if you love historic architecture and if ancient murals and sculptures from our heritage interest you.
Dress conservative and neutral, i.e. cover your legs and shoulders, remove any hair covering, etc.