OCTOBER 23, 2014
After a lot of hype, The Pettah Floating Market finally opened on the 25th of August, meeting all the expectations of the people. The place is another part of the fancy urban development plan of Colombo, along with Arcade Independence Square, but it is much more accessible to the common people. Before this, Colombo has never had such a happening hangout space at such affordable prices.
The Sri Lankan floating market is a series of pavilions which are constructed on the far end of the Beira Lake, which was reconstructed. The lake stands between Pettah bus station and the railway station. It perhaps includes a total of about 90 stalls of clothes, electronics, jewellery, shoes, kottu, short-eats, fruits and vegetables.
Entering the premise does not cost you any penny. Though the main entrance is on the west side, you can enter the market also through the east end. At the main gate, you can see a wood-carved flanking marked as ‘The Floating Market’, and a pier that is used to cross over from the road to the market.
In the first series inside ‘floating’ market you get to see some shops selling electronic items like radio, camera and mobile phones. In the next series, you will get shoes, clothes, junk jewellery and accessories. Bags come at less than Rs. 1000 and sneakers at around Rs. 2000. Besides, there are a lot of convenience stores scattered all around the market, which sell soft drinks, biscuits, tipi-tip, etc.
At the east end, after a stall of various Pettah items, such as plastic baby dolls, movies and other knick-knacks. Besides, you also get stalls selling fresh fruits and vegetables which float legitimately next to the market. If you try to climb into them, they start wobbling around on the water.
The food that you get in the market is amazing as well. The Testa Bake House is located at the western side of the market. It has its own square pavilion. You will love this place if you want to sit under a large roof and chat with your near and dear ones, enjoying the view of the lake and the bustling market. Here, you can choose to have short-eats, tea, coffee, ice creams, etc. Foods generally cost within Rs. 50 over here.
The short-eat stalls sell burgers, soft drinks, rolls, at around Rs. 30. There’s a food court at the far east of the market, encircled by a gorgeous mini-park with seating spots, right next to the railway tracks.
What actually makes Pettah’s floating market such an engaging place is not its foods or shops, but its ambiance. The roofs and tents are clean red; its stalls made of concrete and warm wood, the benches around are lovely, and scattered around at regular intervals alongside trees and patches of grass.
Thanks to the open sky above and the water body underneath, the place feels and looks beautiful around the time of sunset.
The place is also beautified with traditional statues alongside one of the seating areas. The statues are in bronze shades against a brick background. If you go towards the western side, you will see an arrangement of fresh flowers set up over there.
So, the Floating Market at Pettah is a place for everyone. Be it a shopper, an epicure, or someone who simply wants to have a good time. While shoppers and epicures can get great variety of apparels and accessories, epicures can eat their heart out at the market. Similarly, people can also simply sit there with friends and family to have a good time chatting and eating away. Roaming around the market can be an exquisite experience on its own. Sitting there and enjoying the sunset can be a great experience.
The market is a combination of Majestic City and Pittah affordability, easy drinks, kottu, tasteful architecture and awesome ambiance. It is indeed a boon to Sri Lankans as far as place for hanging out with friends and family is concerned. Before the floating market, there were two other options for the Sri Lankans to hangout, Independence Square and Viharamahadevi Park. However, there is another option now, and a great one.
Minolma Fenandiz is a writing articles, script, stories for newspapers magazines. Professional blogger and author of "Sri Lanka Gude Book". Join me on Google+