Very different from the Fort is the frenetic Pettah, where people wheel and deal from dawn until dusk. Whatever it is you want, it can be found in Pettah. Starting from the tourist market next to the railway station, you could weave your way through the tiny streets that lattice the area, each of them specializing in a different range of products. Pettah is an area of Colombo in Sri Lanka just north of the Colombo Fort Railway Station. It is always buzzing with shoppers, merchants and vehicles in its narrow congested scruffy streets.

The highlights of Pettah are the Old Dutch Museum at 95 Prince Street, the Hindu temples in 1st Cross Street and Sea Street and the red and white candy stripped Mosque in 2nd Cross Street.

In the old days the area was very different. Because it was near the port rich merchants built grand family houses and warehouse on wide shade giving tree lined streets that boasted clean smooth pavements. With the increase in trade there was a demand for land.

The density of construction increased as large plots were sold so that multi-occupancy units could be constructed and bring in a higher rental income for Landlords. The goods that were imported needed a street frontage shop to display and sell these items. The docks needed a labour force so more housing was built.

The local residents needed nearby shops to buy food, clothing and household items so more shops appeared to serve the residential population of Pettah. A busy Bazaar was born. There is a fish market, fascinating, but not the most sweet-smelling or beautiful destinations. If hunger creeps in, pop into a shop and try the delicious Indian sweets. You can sample small pieces to make sure you like them and then take away your own calorie bomb in a box!


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