One of the exquisite countries that has hills and extensive plantation that produces the most amazing tea is one good way to start off the Sri Lanka adventure. Then follow through with the visit to the Yala National Park, which is filled with wildlife that you wouldn’t see in one place in another lifetime. There are elephants, peacocks, jackals and even lizards of some sort. And if you’re tired with all the thrill and adventure, you could just lay down the beach of Hikkaduwa, Unawatunaand Kosgoda and just enjoy the rest and relaxation in the sun and the sand.
Important and Interesting Facts about Sri Lanka
- It is an island country in the northern Indian Ocean off the southeast coast of the Indian subcontinent in South Asia.
- Sri Lanka has maritime borders with India to the northwest and the Maldives to the southwest.
- It is an important producer of tea, coffee, gemstones, coconuts, rubber, and the native cinnamon,the island contains tropical forests and diverse landscapes with a high amount of biodiversity.
- The country has 103 rivers. The longest of these is the Mahaweli River, extending 335 kilometres (208 mi).These waterways give rise to 51 natural waterfalls of 10 meters or more. The highest is Bambarakanda Falls, with a height of 263 metres (863 ft).
- The country’s mangrove ecosystem, which spans over 7,000 hectares, played a vital role in buffering the force of the waves in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
- Sri Lanka’s most widely known export, Ceylon tea, which is considered the “cleanest” tea in the world.
- Anuradhapura is one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka, famous for its well-preserved ruins of ancient Lankan civilization. From the 4th century BC, it was the capital of Sri Lanka until the beginning of the 11th century AD. During this period it remained one of the most stable and durable centers of political power and urban life in South Asia.
- Arugam Bay is a bay situated on the Indian Ocean in the dry zone of Sri Lanka’s southeast coast. The bay is located 320 km due east of Colombo. It is a popular surfing and tourist destination. Due to its popularity among low budget tourists, the area has managed a slow recovery.
- Adam’s Peak is a 2,243 metres (7,359 ft) tall conical mountain located in central Sri Lanka. It is well-known for the Sri Pada “sacred footprint”, a 1.8 m rock formation near the summit, in Buddhist tradition held to be the footprint of Buddha, in Hindu tradition that of Shiva and in Muslim tradition that of Adam.
- Batticaloa is a city in the Eastern province of Sri Lanka. It is the seat of the Eastern University of Sri Lanka. It is on the east coast, 69 miles south by south east of Trincomalee, and is situated on an island.
- A Sri Lankan coastal city famous for golden beaches, Bentota is situated on the southern coastal tip of the Galle District of the Southern Province . The town is a popular tourist attraction. It is especially famous among the foreign tourists. The name comes from a mythical story which dates back to kings time saying a demon called Bem ruled this river ( tota = river bank. Bentota hosts a handful of world proclaimed hotels.
- Beruwela, is a small resort town in the south western coastal belt of Sri Lanka. The name Beruwela is derived from the Sinhalese word Beruwela (the place where the sail is lowered). It marks the spot for the first Muslim settlement on the island, established by Arab traders around the 8th century AD.
Cool and Funny Facts about Sri Lanka
- Sri Lanka has also been called “Teardrop of India” because of its proximity to India and because it is teardrop-shaped. In the very beginning, when Pangea existed, India and Sri Lanka were joined to the island of Madagascar; aftwerwards they drifted northwards and collide against Asia: this is how the Himalayas were born.
- Serendipity, the term that indicates the happiness that you feel when you discover something unsought and unexpected while looking for something else, comes from the Persian name for Sri Lanka, “Serendib”, which means “island of gems”.
- Torn by a civil war from 1983 to 2009 and by the tsunami in 2004, Sri Lanka has been very little happy and peaceful in recent decades. Today, the conflict is finally over, the tourism industry is receiving new investments and prices are still cheap. Sri Lanka is among the cheapest destinations in the world.
- The women eat their food after the men and kids finish their meals.
- The very first female prime minister in the world is Sirimavo Bandaranaike of Sri Lanka. She first served in 1960 and held three terms: 1960–1965, 1970–1977, and 1994–2000.
- Elephant is the symbol of Sri Lanka, but this is not just the land of elephants. This is one of the best places in the world to spot leopards (it is said that in the Yala National Park there is the highest concentration of leopards in the world). With 92 species of mammals and nearly 500 of birds (many of which endemic), the wildife here is incredible. It also includes: labiated bears, deer, macaques, gray langurs, whales, dolphins and sea turtles.
- Sri Lanka’s most famous sporting moment came in 1996 when they beat Australia to win the cricket world cup.
- In the Indian epic of Ramayana, the devil king who kidnaps the queen comes from Sri Lanka.
- Sri Lankas name in Sinhalese is “Shri Lanka Prajatantrika Samajavadi Janarajaya/Ilankai Jananayaka Choshalichak Kutiyarachu”. Try to say it.
- There is a KFC spoof known as Hot Pack in Galle.
- During a festival in Katharagama, the men pierce their tongues and body with needles. Some even walk on red hot charcoal.
Historical and Cultural Facts about Sri Lanka
- Indo-Aryan emigration from India in the 5th century C. came to form the largest ethnic group on Sri Lanka today, the Sinhalese. Tamils, the second-largest ethnic group on the island, were originally from the Tamil region of India and emigrated between the 3rd century B.C. and A.D. 1200. Until colonial powers controlled Ceylon (the country’s name until 1972), Sinhalese and Tamil rulers fought for dominance over the island. The Tamils, primarily Hindus, claimed the northern section of the island and the Sinhalese, who are predominantly Buddhist, controlled the south.
- In 1505 the Portuguese took possession of Ceylon until the Dutch India Company usurped control (1658–1796). The British took over in 1796, and Ceylon became an English Crown colony in 1802. 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.
- W.R.D. Bandaranaike became prime minister in 1956 and championed Sinhalese nationalism, making Sinhala the country’s only official language and including state support of Buddhism, further marginalizing the Tamil minority. He was assassinated in 1959 by a Buddhist monk. His widow, Sirimavo Bandaranaike, became the world’s first female prime minister in 1960. The name Ceylon was changed to Sri Lanka (“resplendent island”) on May 22, 1972.
- The Tamil minority’s mounting resentment toward the Sinhalese majority’s monopoly on political and economic power, exacerbated by cultural and religious differences, erupted in bloody violence in 1983. Tamil rebel groups, the strongest of which were the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or Tamil Tigers, began a civil war to fight for separate nation.
- President Ranasinghe Premadasa was assassinated at a May Day political rally in 1993, when a Tamil rebel detonated explosives strapped to himself. Tamil extremists have frequently resorted to terrorist attacks against civilians. The next president, Chandrika Kumaratunga, vowed to restore peace to the country. In Dec. 1999, she was herself wounded in a terrorist attack. By early 2000, 18 years of war had claimed the lives of more than 64,000, mostly civilians.
- Sri Lanka’s staple meal is a large serving of rice accompanied by up to twelve different side dishes of vegetables, egg, meat, or fish stewed together with peppers, spices, and often coconut milk. This rice and curry meal is traditionally eaten at midday, although it may also be served in the evening. The traditional morning and evening meals are usually composed of a traditional starchy staple, such as string hoppers (fresh rice noodles), hoppers (cup-shaped pancakes), roti (coconut flat bread), or thosai (sourdough pancakes), served with a sambol (a mixture of hot peppers and other vegetables, served cool) and one or two curries.
- In all ethnic groups, marriages are traditionally arranged by the families of the couple. “Love marriages” initiated by the couples themselves are, however, increasingly common. Regardless of who initiates the marriage, the bride and groom are expected to be of the same socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and, for Buddhists and Hindus, caste status, although the groom is expected to be slightly older, taller, and educationally and professionally more qualified than the bride.
- Many of the most important rules of etiquette serve to mark differences in social rank. Both Sinhala and Tamil contain a range of linguistic markers for status as well as relative social distance and intimacy. In routine social interactions, personal names are avoided in preference to nicknames, relationship terms, or other titles. Gender is also an important factor in determining appropriate conduct. Among all but the most urbanized, women are expected to defer to men of relatively equal status and to avoid all implication of sexual impropriety by keeping themselves well covered at all times. They are also expected to refuse all alcohol and tobacco and to refrain from direct physical contact with men. Between members of the same gender and with children, however, there is a great deal of physical contact that emphasizes closeness.
- Buddhism, the religion of the majority of people in Sri Lanka, is given a place of preference in the national constitution and public life, although Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity are also practiced by significant portions of the population. Except in the case of Christians, who are drawn from a variety of ethnic groups, these religious traditions map directly onto the three major ethnic groups: Sinhala/Buddhist, Tamil/Hindu, and Muslims.
- All Saturdays and Sundays are public holidays, as is the Poya Day of each month which marks the full moon. Independence Day on 4 February and May Day on 1 May are also public holidays. During April, the island largely shuts down for a week as its Sinhala and Tamil residents celebrate the traditional new year, the exact day of which is determined by astrologers. In addition, the major Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, and Christian days are also reserved as public holidays.
- Sri Lanka has a long and prolific history of written as well as oral literature. As early as the fifth century C.E. , both Sinhala and Tamil writers were recording histories and religious stories, as well as writing on more secular topics. This tradition continues today as fiction writers, poets, playwrights, and journalists write in all three of the nation’s languages; some of their works have been translated into other languages as well. However, Sri Lanka’s university and public libraries, once reputed to be the best in South Asia, are underfunded and poorly maintained as a result of increased budgetary constraints since 1977.