“This clocktower and fountain was erected to the memory of Framjee Bhikhajee Khan by his sons Bhikhajee and Munchershaw Framjee Khan as a token of affectionate gratitude and dedicated through the Municipal Council to the citizens of Colombo on the fourth day of January 1923, the 45th anniversary of his death.”
The inscription at the base of the four-storey tower in Pettah tells a story of two sons who, years after the passing of their father, built a monument in his memory, in the place that he loved. The Khan family, who erected the tower in honour of Framjee Bhikhajee Khan, were a wealthy trade family based in Sri Lanka who had migrated over from Bombay, India. One of their known businesses was the Colombo Oil Mills, famous at the time for its production of high-quality oil.
Standing the Test of Time
Nearly a century after it was first erected, the brothers’ tribute to their father still stands to watch over the colourful and bustling market in Pettah, where vendors and shoppers go about their daily life. Pettah hosts Sri Lanka’s largest and most hectic marketplace, and the clocktower acts as a signifier of its main entrance. It is positioned within a landscaped roundabout, and although its clock continues to tick with the passage of time, the water fountain built with it has long stopped operating. The Khan Clocktower is one of three ancient clocktowers located in Colombo.