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About Sri Lanka


Sri Lanka is a small teardrop shaped island in the Indian ocean at the South-East tip of India. Sri Lanka means "Resplendent Land" in Sanskrit. The island was known as Ceylon in colonial times and as Taprobane and Serendip in ancient times. It has also been referred to as Teardrop of India and Pearl of the Orient, due to surrounding beaches.

Sri Lanka is one of the few Countries that have a history of over 2500 years, of which over 1’500 years is documented.

Ancient ruins of resplendent kingdoms and archeological monuments such as the Sigiriya rock fortress (477 AD), which is considered to be the 8th wonder of the world, are part of the country’s rich heritage.

The significance of Kandy Esala perahera dates to 310 AD when the tooth relic of Buddha was brought from India.

Full Country Name : Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Area : 66,000 sq km
Population : 21 million
Commercial Capital : Colombo
Capital City : Sri Jayardanapura, Kotte
People : 74% Sinhalese, 18% Tamils, 7% Moor, 1% other
Language : Sinhalese, Tamil, English
Currency : Sri Lankan Rupee (SLR)
Religion 69% Buddhist, 15% Hindu, 8% Muslim, 8% Christian
Agriculture 16% of GDP (US$ 35 billion) and employs 1/3 of labour force

Sri Lanka has a tropical climate and lush green forests. Most of the land is flat and rolling mountains in the south-central region rise to over 8,000 ft (2,438 m), with hundreds of rivers flowing through them, often cascading in awesome waterfalls where up to 50% electricity generation is hydro powered.

Sri Lanka has two monsoon seasons, the South-West from June to October and the North-East from December to March. Sunny and warm days are the rule even during the height of the monsoons.

The Sinhalese arrived in Sri Lanka late in the 6th century B.C., probably from northern India. Buddhism was introduced beginning in about the mid-third century B.C., and a great civilization developed at the cities of Anuradhapura (kingdom from circa 200 B.C. to circa A.D. 1000) and Polonnaruwa (from about 1070 to 1200). In the 14th century, a south Indian dynasty seized power in the north and established a Tamil kingdom.

In 1505 the Portuguese took possession of Ceylon until the Dutch India Company usurped control (1658–1796), the island was ceded to the British in 1796, became a crown colony in 1802, and was united under British rule by 1815. The British developed coffee, tea, and rubber plantations. On Feb. 4, 1948, after pressure from Ceylonese nationalist leaders (which briefly unified the Tamil and Sinhalese), Ceylon became a self-governing dominion of the Commonwealth of Nations.

As Ceylon, it became independent in 1948; its name was changed to Sri Lanka in 1972.

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