An exhilarating and inspiring evening in the Crow Island Beach Park set within the bustling northern quarter of Colombo. Its vibrant atmosphere, rich with the colours of nature, offers the perfect fusion of romance and childish thrills, an ideal leisure venue to unwind.
Words Yomal Senerath-Yapa
Photographs Anuradha Perera and Geeth Viduranga
Through crowded busy lanes basking lazily in the golden afternoon glow, we travelled to arrive at the Crow Island Beach Park in Colombo 15. Its monumental entrance springs a lovely surprise. The horizon suddenly opens up out of a bottleneck-narrow road.
The park is an oasis of peace and leisure washed with the light of the evening, undulating in the heart of a bickering, loud town divided into a thousand little lanes and cluttered with very closely packed buildings. Revamped and opened in 2016, its distinctive charm lies in the flat landscape that stretches as far as the eye could see, a sea-washed, breezy parkland of yellow sand and soft weedy carpets of grass where you can inhale freely and immerse in your own thoughts.
It is only here that you now witness the crows that gave the park its name. They occasionally wheel around the sky in their numbers like black guardian spirits.
To the left of the park is a big children’s play-area where kids can climb, slide and explore the very delightful wood-and-plastic ‘castle’. This children’s castle is given a fairy tale sensation by a grove of trees that stretches away to the right-end of this park. It is only here that you now witness the crows that gave the park its name. They occasionally wheel around the sky in their large numbers like black guardian spirits. Near the spindly, looming tower on the right end, the park peters out with a thick growth of the coastline plants that verge on a turbulent sea that pounces on the beach with rage.
The middle of the park extends to the sea and from this pier one can watch the evening horizon as the sea gently and occasionally splashes the stage with a very over-enthusiastic wave. The light in the sky dims very slowly and the air is flushed with a romantic tenderness of the twilight hour. Men can be seen fishing with rods cast over the railing of the stage, staring hopefully into the waters.
The flocks of crows winged their way home and a kite sailed forlornly. In that last dim fraction of a minute the beauty of Crow Island was enhanced…
The paved path to the left, leads to elegant wooden stalls, designed with charming Chinese pagodas for inspiration, that sell beverages and packets of munchies. A couple of ponies nibble at treats offered by their owners as they lounge about waiting for a rider. The turf is dotted with youth enjoying the bubbling exhilaration of the evening. The tower on the left end of Crow Island commands a panorama of park and sea, providing you a view of the leisured activity for miles around.
Beyond, the path dives discreetly into the midst of a pleasant green curtain. This stretch is favoured by joggers and cycling kids. It wends by a jade-hued lake with an island of robust mangrove at its heart. It leads the walker to an isolated stretch of beach clothed thickly with growth sporting emerald leaves. Here the park ends, with a stately colonial mansion that may be a restored remnant of Mutwal’s grand and fashionable days. Further from this point again begins the swarming world of Mattakuliya and Colombo, with the gopuram of a Hindu temple visible, far with the echoing tones of worship faintly audible.
We watched the sea as the light slowly faded and the waves gently slushed. The flocks of crows winged their way home and a kite sailed forlornly. In that last dim fraction of a minute the beauty of Crow Island was enhanced; a beauty born of a flat green and yellow landscape that blends well with a softly rippling seascape.