Independence Square remains one of the nicest places to relax in Colombo, especially in the evenings. In addition to the memorial hall itself, there's also the huge sprawling green lawn outside, the memorial museum, the Arcade next door, and even hoppers at Walkers' Cafe.
It's a favourite for joggers in the mornings and evenings. But it's easy to catch anybody taking a walk here at some point, from school kids to aunties to even President Sirisena himself.
The memorial hall was built in 1948 to commemorate our independence from British rule. The unique style of the structure is supposed to be based on the Magul Maduwa or the Royal celebration hall of the last Kandyan kingdom.
Even when it's hot outside, the inside of the memorial hall is wonderfully cool and breezy.
The beautiful stone carvings in the columns and the walls attract the attention of tourists, frequently seen wandering around in the evenings.
Then there's this lovely green view that you'll find being enjoyed by groups of students from the nearby University. This place used to be under tight security, guards would tell you to leave if you loitered around too long, but today it's pretty much a public park. Still, food and canoodling are strictly policed against at least inside the memorial hall.
On the inner end of the memorial hall that faces those square pools of water, you'll find a brown door that leads to an eerily quiet memorial museum. Check it out for stone busts of all the people who fought for Sri Lanka's independence, headed by leader of the Uva rebellion of 1818, Monaravila Keppatipola Nilame.
There's plenty of well-kept garden all around Independence Square and lovely clean paved pathways that run between. So you'll find plenty of cyclists, joggers and occasionally even skateboarders using the paved space. Besides Marine Drive or the beach, Independence Square is the best place in the city for some morning/evening exercise. There's a free gym here and even a corner where you can rent a bicycle.
Just a hop away from Independence Square is also, suddenly, this huge shopping complex. You can enter it through the Auditor General's building (the building with a clock on its front), and either stroll through the Arcade's great white and green expanse, shop for designer clothes or have a bite at one of its many outlets. The food court has some lunch and snack options, or else you can pamper yourself at posher places like the t-Lounge, Kaema Sutra and Tsukiji Uoichi.
If you just feel like some good old rice and curry, or hoppers and Milo, there's the reliable Walkers' Cafe on the long pathway that leads to Stanley Wijesundara Mawatha. Their hoppers served with amazing katta sambal are only available after 5PM though. It's still a good place for buth packets, snacks and popsicles, with 80's disco music playing in the background.
Independence Square is pretty awesome, and thankfully has been maintained well for as long as we can remember. It's not just a historical space now but also a recreational park of immaculate lawns, some food options and plenty of room for exercising. If you feel like a jog early morning or some down-time in the evenings with friends, this is a good spot to meet at.
Independence Square is a great place to relax in Colombo - it's part historical, part public park, now next to a huge shopping complex, and a favourite among joggers.
Independence Square is Colombo's newest public space. It's part monument, part park, part walking ground. It's main function seems to be as the place where Colombars go for their evening constitutional (walk).
සිංහල කොළඹ නිදහස් චතුරස්රය තමයි, අලුත්ම පොදු අවකාශය. එය ස්මාරකයක්. ඒ වගේම, උද්යානයක්. සක්මන් මළුවක්. අසල ජීවත් වන ආරක්ෂක ලේකම් ගොඨාභය රාජපක්ෂ ඇතුළු කොළඹ වැසියන් හැන්දෑවට ඇවිදින්න යන තැන තමයි මේ.
Independence Square, Colombo 7