When walking on the Kumaran Ratnam Mawatha and you turn your nose into the Murugan Street, you will be surprised with the view. On the head of the street you will see the astonishing 8o feet tall tower of the Arulmihu Sivasubramania Swami Kovil, a Hindu temple of great importance, not only to the Hindu’s, but also for Buddhists. These kinds of towers, called ‘gopuram’, are typical for South Indian and Sri Lankan Hindu architecture, to emphasize the entrance. The tower is like a story book of Hindu myths, expressed in numerous colourful ornaments. The kovil must have been built around 1880, but the gopuram is from recent times, built after a renovation in 1994. Besides the gopuram it has a clock tower and two smaller towers. It is dedicated to Murugan or God Kataragama, of which the main shrine is situated in the south eastern part of Sri Lanka, a main pilgrims’ site for both Hindu’s and Buddhists. That makes that this kovil is such an important one for Hindu’s and Buddhist. It is also one of the most visited kovils in Colombo by tourists. During Hindu festivals the Sri Murugan Street is fully decorated and full of worshippers in procession going through the streets of Slave Island.
Sometimes there is a person sitting at a table to collect entrance fees from foreigners; however, this is not usual for a temple (except the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy and the Dambulla Cave Temple).