Viharamahadevi Park – Colombo
The Viharamahadevi Park, formerly Victoria Park, is located in Colombo, next to the National Museum in Sri Lanka. It is the most beloved and most magnificent park in the city of Colombo. Located in front of the colonial-era Town Hall building, the park is delegated after Queen Viharamahadevi, the mother of King Dutugamunu. The park was built on land granted to Colombo city by Charles Henry de Soysa when the British rule of Sri Lanka and used to be named "Victoria Park" after Queen Victoria. However, the British Army attacked it with the Australian 17th Brigade based at Victoria Park. Following the war, the park was renovated and open to the public in 1951.
Previous Condition of the Park
A few decades ago, Viharamahadevi Park was beloved by the residents of Colombo, particularly children. However, its state was far from its current beauty and organization. The park primarily consisted of sparse woodland with scattered trees and sporadic paths. Amongst the shadows of the trees, couples sought seclusion for their romantic rendezvous. Wildflowers, grass, and undergrowth grew rampant, with the groundskeepers struggling to maintain control. The park featured a murky lake with a damaged bridge, and it had three entrances, one of which housed a small amusement park. This particular entrance was trendy among children on weekends, offering exciting rides, delicious fair food, and entertainment.
Decline and Neglect
As technology advanced and modern devices became prevalent throughout Colombo, Viharamahadevi Park gradually lost popularity. The rides fell into disuse, devoid of lights and children's laughter. The once lively avenues became empty and haunted by memories of the long past. The park seemed destined to fade away, overshadowed by the progress of the digital age.
Revival and Makeover
In 2013, fortune smiled upon Viharamahadevi Park. Colombo underwent extensive rejuvenation efforts in preparation for the 23rd Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. This grand event provided an opportunity to revitalize the park and restore its former glory.
The authorities removed the fences and gates that restricted access, opening the park to visitors from all directions. This removal also facilitated a seamless connection between the street, the library, and the World War Memorial. The park underwent a complete makeover, featuring beautiful paved pathways, majestic palm trees, and meticulously groomed grass. New additions included delightful seating areas within the park's corners, providing an inviting space to rest and take in the surroundings.
The extensive renovation of Viharamahadevi Park resulted in numerous enhancements that significantly improved its appeal. The removal of overgrown bushes eliminated dark corners, making the park safer and more open. Couples seeking a romantic escape can now enjoy their moments openly without the intrusion of guards. The once murky lake has been thoroughly cleaned, and the remnants of the old damaged bridge were replaced with a sturdy suspension bridge. The wobbly path created by the suspension bridge has become a popular attraction for adults and children. Additionally, clean concrete slabs surround the lake, providing seating areas to relax and appreciate the view.
The park's play area has undergone extensive renovations, offering many entertainment options for children. One of the highlights is a series of gently rolling landscaped hills adorned with blue and purple paved pathways. These hills feature tunnels that children can crawl through, adding an element of excitement and adventure. Surrounding the mountain are various play equipment, including slides, swings, and a giant outdoor playhouse. A fun water zone adds a refreshing touch to the park's offerings. Occasional ponies are present, and children can enjoy short pony rides for a small fee. Vendors stroll through the park, selling toys, cotton candy, ice cream, and various delightful treats.
Viharamahadevi Park is an excellent location for leisurely walks or bike rides along its open avenues. The park's serene ambience offers a respite from the bustling city, allowing visitors to unwind and relieve some of the stress associated with a busy travel schedule. As one of Colombo's most historic places, Viharamahadevi Park holds a special significance that should not be missed.
Viharamahadevi Park, previously known as Victoria Park, has radically transformed. From its humble origins during British rule to its recent extensive renovations, the park has become a cherished destination in Colombo. Its lush greenery, well-maintained pathways, and enhanced features make it a haven for relaxation and enjoyment. With its rich history, vibrant atmosphere, and diverse attractions, Viharamahadevi Park holds a special place in the hearts of the city's residents and visitors alike.
FAQ 1: What is the entry fee for Viharamahadevi Park?
Entry to Viharamahadevi Park is free of charge. Visitors can explore and enjoy the park's attractions without any admission fee.
FAQ 2: Are there any restrictions on photography in the park?
Photography is generally allowed in Viharamahadevi Park for personal use. However, it's advisable to respect the privacy of other visitors and refrain from capturing their images without their consent.
FAQ 3: Is the park accessible for people with disabilities?
Efforts have been made to ensure accessibility within Viharamahadevi Park. Paved pathways and ramps allow easy movement, and the park's open layout facilitates wheelchair access.
FAQ 4: Can visitors bring their food and drinks?
Yes, visitors can bring food and drinks to enjoy in Viharamahadevi Park. It's an excellent opportunity for a picnic or a relaxing outdoor meal amidst the park's serene surroundings.
FAQ 5: Are there any guided tours available in the park?
At present, there are no official guided tours offered within Viharamahadevi Park. However, visitors can explore the park at their own pace and enjoy the various attractions it has to offer