Every poya day, or full moon, is a public holiday in Sri Lanka. Many shops and restaurants are closed, but it is a good day to stroll around and soak in the atmosphere.
The neighborhood Pettah is both lively and colourful, with a mix of old and new architecture. Walking around, taking detours through narrow streets not knowing what lies behind the next corner, is a great way to explore. Passing by smiling locals in their busy everyday life, stumbling upon hidden temples and simply getting a bit lost.
Continuing further, we walked along Sea street with jewelry shops one after the other. Fortunately for us, most of them were closed as it was Poya day, saving us rejecting the salesmen.
The sun was heating up well, so we stopped by the Dutch Hospital for a nice and cold ice tea. We are after all in a tea country! If you are hoping for a cold beer to cool you down in the heat, think again. It is not allowed to sell alcohol on poya days. The former location of the Dutch Hospital is now a complex for shopping and restaurants, same as in Galle.
Poja day is a day for worship, and Buddhists are flocking to the Gangaramaya Temple. Thousands of candles are lit, and the smell and smoke of the incense is significant, but absolutely contributes to the mood. The nearby Seema Malaka temple built in the Beira Lake is also a part of the complex.
Finish the poya day at Galle Face Green, taking part in the lively atmosphere there. Children fly their kites, food is prepared in small food stalls all along the seafront, and both children and adults play at the beach in the sunset.
Experienced in January 2015.