The Sambodhi Chaithya is a beautiful temple built on top of two impressive intersecting concrete arches. It's been around since the 1950s and is a massive structure tucked in the first corner of Chaithya road, past the Galle Buck Lighthouse
It is thought to be built this high, at the Port, so that the symbol of the stupa can be seen by those out at sea.
The stupa, up close and personal.
You can get to the temple by climbing 11 levels of staircases, and the whole thing adds up to a total of about 300 steps to the top.
The area around the structure is very picnic-friendly.
Some kids were on a school trip to the temple when we got there -- if you're tired from the journey up and down the stairs, you may consult the ice-cream lady usually stationed there on hot afternoons.
Young students counted the steps out loud as they went back down the structure, their shoes in hand (you have to take them off before climbing the stairs, out of respect for the temple).
The view of the sea and the Lighthouse from the Sambodhi Chaithya stairway
Pools of water and the shade of trees around the structure provide cool spaces to chill at after a visit to the temple
The view of the harbour from the top - Colombo looks gorgeous from up there
Even though the whole thing had railings on the sides, the kids (and some adults) clung on to the rails all throughout from fear of the height
Detail of the stupa
The view from the top
The bridge from the stair-structure to the temple
The entrance to the temple
Inside the stupa
Detailed Buddhist murals cover the inner walls of the stupa
The Sambodhi Chaithya is a must-visit if you haven't been - the guards there are very friendly and will let you take pictures, and the Navy officers from the Navy Mess nearby may stop for a chat. Dress conservatively since it's a temple after all, but Buddhists and non-Buddhists are welcome alike to tour the area and make the great climb to the top.
Go down Chaithya Road with friends or in a vehicle - it's a tad dodgy if you're by yourself given that it's usually totally isolated.