A large room with a King-size bed in the College House. On the fringe of Pettah and Fort, Railway station and 30 mins from the Airport.
A large private room in a 170 year old historical colonial home. The double room comes complete with ceiling fan, mosquito net, free wifi & access to all living areas in the spacious house, including the airy veranda - the ideal place to take time out of busy Colombo.
The house is only 25 minutes from Colombo international airport and 15 minutes from Pettah and Fort.
The Water Lily Room is one of six rooms currently available at College House. The full house is also available. It is located in Colombo's downtown area, near the busy hub of Pettah and Fort. College House is in an interesting and colourful part of the town, ideal for travellers wishing to experience a very localized neighbourhood. The house is an oasis in the busy city situated 15 mins from the Airport Highway exit point. It is 2.5 kilometers from Fort and the main Central Railway Station in Fort.
Water Lily Room
The double room has a large, four-poster bed with a draped mosquito net. Situated on the ground floor, the room has a wooded-shuttered window that looks onto the back garden and brings a welcome breeze.
We named this room after the Water Lily, the national symbol of Sri Lanka. The flower has a deep connection with Buddha and is a symbol of truth, purity and discipline. Every morning the waterlily in our garden pond opens at sunrise and reminds us of these qualities. We are very lucky to be living with such an auspicious flower.
Other Rooms Available
If this room is booked on the night you require or you would like to see what other rooms are available at The College House, click on Plumbago, Water Lily and Moringa link for the other rooms we host. The other rooms have different prices.
We do not have any strict rules about check in time and we can be flexible to your needs. If you have an early/late time of arrival please get in touch beforehand and we can make arrangements to accommodate you.
Linen & cleaning
We provide fresh linen and towels to all guests. We clean the bathrooms twice a day everyday and we change linen and towels every 3 days too for long term guests.
We can provide a laundry service at a nominal charge.
The House is maintained in its original form. We welcome Travellers to experience what the real Colombo is all about.
Excellent wifi is available throughout the house
Bedroom, bathrooms, the verandah, living rooms (downstairs & upstairs), dining room, kitchen, the garden and balcony.
I am not available all the time, My co-host, Snjezana, will be there most of the time. I drop by occasionally, guests can speak to Snjezana for advice and help on tips for sightseeing, meals and transport. A housekeeper is available to support guests.
The house is old, the neighbourhood very local, colourful and noisy. Our Verandah is a favourite place for our guests.
We see ourselves as homely, comfortable, friendly and welcoming, a place to unwind and see the real parts of Colombo's inner city areas. We offer wholesome local food. Our rice and curries are fantastic, cooked according to village style Sri Lankan methods.
The College House is situated in the old downtown district of Colombo 13 10 mins from Pettah and Fort on the Port side of Colombo 13 on the Aluth-mawatha Road.
Origins of Kotahena and its History
This eighteenth century fishing hamlet now called Kotahena, rose from the marshes of the Kelani Ganga River in the North-east of Colombo. Kottanchina as it was once known had groves of Kottan (Costus Speciousus) in the verdant jungle that covered this hillock. There were two small clusters of Kottan till about the mid twentieth century, one at the beginning of Bonjeans Road, and the other round the disused quarry at College Street. The British anglicized Kottanchina to Cottonchina.
The College House is very near and within walking distance of Colombo’s oldest historical Buddhist temples.
The Historical 300 year old Buddhist Temples
Dipaduttarama Purana Raja Maha Viharaya Kotahena founded in 1806 is the oldest Buddhist temple in Colombo with a history of over 300 years. Known as Thai Temple after a member of the Thai royal family was ordained by Waskaduwe Subhithi Mahanyake Thero the Thai Prince-Priest as he was known lived at the temple from (PHONE NUMBER HIDDEN). Thai royals and Prime Ministers have visited th temple on several occasions to pay homage. The Deepaduttaramaya Thai temple gained significance in colonial and post colonial Sri Lankan history as a place of renaissance
The Temple is resplendent built in the style of Thai architecture. The temple’s Rathana chaitya (shrine) is unlike any Sri Lankan dagoba is made entirely of small glass fronted boxes in bronze mounted on each other. Each small casing contains a miniature statue of Buddha, which must add up to about a hundred overall are illuminated as dusk falls, the chaitya makes for a beautiful sight at night time.
The temple earned the distinction of being the first place in the world where the Buddhist flag was hoisted on April 28, 1885. In fact the announcement of Vesak as a national holiday by Gazette notification was made at the temple premises on April 27, 1885.
Apart from the significant place it holds in Buddhist history, Dipaduttamaramaya is also considered the official temple of Thai royalty.
The temple is recorded to have been built in two stages, belonging to two periods: the mid-Dutch and the early British colonial periods. The date 1785 is found impressed on the lower half of an altar which belongs to the Dutch period, while the upper half can be attributed to the mid British period as the year 2416 (Buddhist era) is found inscribed thereon ie 1872 A.D. At the very top, above the shrine is found the British crown and below that is a replica of a dagaba with a lion and a unicorn on either side below the dagaba. The first “Daham pasala” or Dhamma school (school to teach the Buddha Dhamma ) in the island commenced at this temple by Mrs. Marie Musaeus Higgins and Madame Helena Patrovna Vlavatsky during the incumbency of the Ven. Migettuwatte Gunananda in 1908 and shows two architectural styles. Its golden pinnacle was gifted by a king of Thailand.
The other ancient temple the Paramananda Purana Viharaya in Kotahena is the second temple to be built in Colombo, founded around (PHONE NUMBER HIDDEN). It contains murals depicting the life of the Buddha and the history of Buddhism in Ceylon.
The unique Hindu Temple devoted to Lord Shiva
The Sri Ramanathan Shivan Kovil, temple in Kotahena was built in 1857 by Sri Arumugam Ponnambalam Mudaliyar, a devoted Hindu, hailing from Manipay, Jaffna and father of Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan, legislator, statesman, and patriot who was one of those responsible for the independence of Sri Lanka. It is said that after a pilgrimage he made to India, he experienced a divine bidding through a dream to build a Shivan kovil for the Hindus of Colombo.The work on the temple commenced in 1856 and was completed in 1857 during the British rule. This original temple was initially built modestly with lime and (URL HIDDEN) is said that the temple was situated on five acres of land overlooking the Colombo harbour, its garden filled with a variety of valuable trees, lush vegetation, beautifully laid out lawns, and about 20 head of cattle which provide milk for the temple’s daily poojas. The land which was originally a coconut plantation was purchased from Capt. John E. Stonean, an Englishman, by Sri Ponnambala Mudaliyar.The trusteeship of the temple was passed on to his son Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan, in 1905.
Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan who wished to improve the kovil, made several trips to India to consult renowned temple architects, and he subsequently enlisted the services of reputed sculptors and temple builders from South India, and commenced the renovation work in 1907. He completed the temple in solid gray granite stone, and the consecration (Kumbabishekam) ceremony took place on 21 November, 1912. However since then several additions have been made. The eastern side Rajagopuram (Supreme Gate Pyramid) was erected in 1967.A salient feature of this unique temple is that it is entirely built out of granite stone as per Dravidian architecture based on the principles of Hindu temples in India. The granite for the temple had been obtained from quarries in Veyangoda. This temple is comparable to some of the famous Hindu temples in South India. The temple with its tall Gopuram (Gate Pyramid) and gateways facing the East and West stands majestically in all splendour. The kovil strictly followed the guidelines recommended in Hindu Vedic scriptures to replicate the human anatomy.
The Trusteeship of the Kovil continues to be carried out by the descendants of Sri Ponnambala Mudaliyar.
The Mariamman Kovil in Kotahena is an ancient temple, more than 250 years old dedicated to Mariamman the goddess who embraces the force of the earth and the fire of the chakra. The earliest available records indicate that it was founded on 2 March, 1864 by Thiruvilanga Nagarathar for the protection and wellbeing of the Devotees.
Sri Muthumariamman is the main sanctum showering her Blessings on thousands of Devotees who patronize this Temple. There are many stories and miracles about the goddess transmitted from generation to generation.
Colombo’s only Cathedral St Lucias
Named after St. Lucy of Sicily: virgin, martyr and saint, St. Lucia’s Cathedral in Kotahena, is the oldest and largest parish Cathedral in Sri Lanka and the seat of the Archbishop of Colombo The Cathedral stands tall, dominating Kotahena’s sky-scape. Its handsome Romanesque features, elaborate Corinthian pillars, arches, balconies, beeralu cement fences, grills, pediments, surmounted by domes, lanterns and statues of saints. According to records, worship at this site goes back to a date in 1760, where a small thatched hut built by the early mission fathers served as a church for the faithful.
The shrine at Kochchikade where many religions worship
St. Anthony's Kochchikade is undoubtedly the most patronized church by Christians and non Christians alike and is designated by the Catholic Church as a National Shrine. It stands in an area that has derived its name from the very (URL HIDDEN) was a time in the 18th century under the Dutch rule, when Catholicism was still a proscribed religion in Sri Lanka and priests could not exercise their ministry in public.
The origin of the church is accorded to Fr. Antonio, who was a companion to Joseph Vaz and had been assigned to minister to the religious needs of the Catholics in Colombo.
Fr. Antonio, a zealous priest disguised as a merchant took up his abode in a house in Maliban Street, Colombo, close to St. Philip Neris Church. The Dutch discovered his hiding place, but Fr. Antonio, disguised, fled towards Mutwal. He met some fishermen who knew him and his reputation as a holy man, and volunteered to protect him from the Dutch, provided he obtained from God a favour for them - namely to stop the erosion of the sea which caused them great inconvenience. When the pursuers arrived, the fishermen refused to hand over Fr. Antonio until he had granted them the favour they were asking for. Fr. Antonio then returned to his home at Maliban Street, and came to the shore, clad in his priestly garments and with a large wooden Cross in his hand. Planting the Cross at the spot most threatened by the advancing Sea, he prayed to God to manifest His Glory, by working this miracle. On the third day the waves receded and an extensive sand bank was exposed to the view of all.The Dutch Government appreciated this favor and offered a reward to the people’s benefactor. The humble priest asked only the permission to live and die near the Cross he had planted. This was granted and the priest built a Chapel with mud in honor of his patron, St. Anthony of Padua. When he died after many years, he was buried there.
It is said that as the priest was from Cochin, the land was referred to as the place in which the Cochinese had a shop hence the name Kochchikade. The little Chapel which was made of mud was enlarged in 1806. And in 1822 one of the members of the Congregation went to Goa and brought a Statue of St. Anthony and it was solemnly placed on the altar of the small Church. This is the very image that is today held in great veneration at St. Anthony’s Church, Kochchikade, kept on the side altar which was the altar of the ancient Church and stands on the very spot Sanctified by miraculous event to which the origin of the same Sanctuary is due.
The Markets of Pettah
Pettah is one of the most vibrant and colorful parts of Colombo, known for its bustling open air bazaars and markets. Each thoroughfare has its own speciality (for example, Gabo’s Lane and 5th Cross St specialise in Ayurvedic medicines).
Pettah and Kotahena are also the most ethnically mixed parts of the city. Literally minutes from the guesthouse you will find streets dotted with several interesting Buddhist Temples, Christian Churches, Hindu Kovils and Islamic Mosques.
Kotahena is a neighbourhood to give you an authentic local experience. The area is bustling, lively and colorful. The shops are open late into the night and everyone should sample the delicious street food (dosas, hoppers, kottu etc).
The house itself is on a residential street (College Street). The harbour lights are visible and the markets of Main Street are close-by. The Dutch Museum on Prince Street, The Shiva Temple, and one of the oldest Buddhist Temples in the city are all in walking distance.
Tuk-tuks are a cheap, convenient mode of transport and are always available on the road in front of the house. These will get you to Fort (upmarket district perfect for dinner and drinks) where the Dutch Hospital restaurant arcade opposite the World Trade Center Pettah, The Kingsbury Hotel (SENSITIVE CONTENTS HIDDEN) bar and the beautiful Galle Face Hotel lawn by the sea are perfect for sun-downers. Cinnamon Grand Hotel and the Crescat Mall is a walk away from the Galle Face Hotel for excellent cheap Sri Lankan pastries at their coffee shop, or the Crescat Food Court for a choice of Sri Lankan and Indian food. A walk round the back of the Cinnamon Grand will take you by the Beira Lake will take you to the Gangarama Temple and the Floating Buddha.
The wholesale markets of Pettah and upmarket Colombo Fort is 10-15mins (2.9 km) via N H. M. Abdul Cader Rd, and Srimath Ramanathan Road along the Habour. A walk down Galle Face Green (Colombo's seafront promenade) to the old Lighthouse is a must.
College House is on the north side of Colombo easily accessable from the airport 20 mins on the highway, yet only ten minutes away in a tuk-tuk from downtown Pettah and Fort (where you will find Fort Train Station and Central Bus Stand for transport to anywhere on the island). Fort, The Galle Face Promenade for a refreshing walk by the sea, sundown drinks at the Galle Face Hotel or the Kingsbury Sky Bar, The Dutch Hospital Arcade in Fort and Steuarts Hotel or the Pagoda Restaurant one of the oldest in Colombo and the Resto Pub- Bar RePublic down Hospital Street are just a 3 kilometer Tuk Tuk ride away costing Rupees 180 rupees to 350 approx. Please use tuk-tuks with meters and flag the ones passing along.
Travel within the city can be done by Uber, Pick-Me and Kangaroo Budget on (PHONE NUMBER HIDDEN). The markets of Pettah and Colombo Fort is 10 min (2.9 km) via N H. M. Abdul Cader Rd, and Srimath Ramanathan Road along the Habour.
Trains and buses from Fort station to Galle and the South Coast are only 5 minutes away (plus all other destinations in Sri Lanka including Kandy and the hill country, the cultural centre and Jaffna (in the far north). College House is on the north side of Colombo easily assessable from the airport a further 25km north, yet only minutes away in a tuk-tuk from downtown Pettah and Fort (where you will find Fort Train Station and Central Bus Stand for transport to anywhere on the island). Fort, The Galle Face Promenade for a refreshing walk by the sea, sundown drinks at the Galle Face Hotel or the Kingsbury Sky Bar, The Dutch Hospital Arcade in Fort and Steuarts Hotel or the Pagoda Restaurant one of the oldest in Colombo and the Resto Pub- Bar RePublic down Hospital Street are just a 3 kilometer Tuk Tuk ride away costing Rupees 180 rupees to 350 approx. Please use tuk-tuks with meters and flag the ones passing along.
For travellers needing to get to/from Colombo airport we are ideally located in the north side of the city (the airport is approx 25km north of Colombo). This means you do not have to go through the centre of the Colombo to arrive here or at the airport, which saves a lot of time and money. A property in the centre or south of the city may only be 3-5kms away but could easily take 1 hour to get to on a busy day. We also provide a home -cooked vegetarian lunchs or dinners cooked in-house for rupees 700 per person for vegetarian. Chicken or Fish is rs 1500. Prawns will cost 1700 rupees. We provide a complimentary tea or coffee on arrival. Extra Teas or Coffees is available throughout the day at a small cost.
If you have any questions or would like any advice about travelling in Colombo/Sri Lanka, please do not hesitate to contact us. The College House is in an old, run-down, noisy and ancient part of Colombo, ideal for travellers wanting to experience the colourful local neighbourhoods by the Harbour, Pettah and Fort.
Smoking should be limited to verandahs and garden.
I am a Journalist. The College House was home to my mother a famous dancer. We welcome travelers to come and stay in this historical house in the oldest part of Colombo's inner city area close to Fort and Pettah.