The Rise of the City #2
The Seema Malakaya Temple, and the Beira Lake, against the backdrop of modern Colombo. Christmas Eve, 2017. The Seema Malakaya of today was designed by Geoffrey Bawa in 1976, in his now characteristic tropical modernist style, and built on the site of an 18th century temple that had sunk into the lake. The new Buddhist temple was funded by MS Moosajee, a Colombo Muslim, in memory of his son, Ameer Moosajee. The Beira Lake is much older; created in the 16th century by the Portuguese, and filled with crocodiles as part of the defenses of Colombo. The crocodiles are gone now, and the lake is much smaller than it was at the time of the Portuguese-Sinhalese Wars, but the Beira remains one of the city’s clearest landmarks.