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  General Information About Sri Lanka  
   
 
CAPITAL: Sri Jayawardanapura (1,10,000) is the capital of Socialist Democratic Republic of Sri Lanka. (110,000). Colombo - (650,000) is the commercial capital.
 
   
   
 
CLIMATE
At tropical beach level the thermometer soars into the mid 80’s F. (29C.) but, within four hours’ journey by road or rail, lies the breathtaking hill country where the temperature drops to the 50’sF. (10C.) As quickly as the climate changes, so does the dramatic scenery. An equally short journey will bring you to the ruined cities of Sri Lanka’s ancient civilization. On these journeys, you can see palm fringed beaches, a wealth of wildlife, exotic flora, plains and highlands, rivers, lakes and waterfalls, These are true beauties of Sri Lanka a calm and serene countryside matched by an enticingly simple way of life.
 
   
     
   
 

HISTORY
Recorded history in Sri Lanka began when Buddhism gave birth to a Cultural Revolution more than 2000 years ago. And in the wake of this Cultural Revolution came an era of unsurpassed achievement. It fashioned life- styles, fostered the arts and inspired the creation of dagabas, temples, monasteries, and statues, vast man made reservoirs and irrigation systems that even today defy engineering interpretation.

Almost 25 centuries later, Buddhism is still preserved in its purest form. Its doctrine of peace and tolerance has left its gentle mark on the land and her people. Different religions and ethnic groups live side by side in total harmony in a democratic society.

The sacred city of Anuradhapura, founded in the 5th century BC is venerated as the capital city of Buddhism. The sacred Bo Tree grown from a sapling of the tree, under which the Buddha attained enlightenment, is the oldest living tree in documented history. In its vicinity are the remains of the Brazen Palace, the towering Ruwanveliseya Dagaba, the Seated Buddha, Temples, Palaces and Parks all of which bear testimony to a proud and imaginative people.

A mere eight miles away is Mihintale the cradle of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. It is a mountain monastery connected with Arahat Mahinda who brought Buddhism to the island in 247 BC.

Polonnaruwa the medivel capital of Sri Lanka where art, architecture and engineering were revived into a cultural epoch, is a monument to Sri Lanka’s great renaissance.

Sigiriya a massive rock fortress built in the 5th century AD is an enduring tribute to one man’s vision. In a sheltered pocket of the giant rock are the celebrated frescoes the "Sigiriya Maidens" enormous gallery, which once contained five hundred portraits.

Kandy, the last capital of the Sinhala kings is a living record to a magnificent past. Dominating Kandy is the Dalada Maligawa the temple of the sacred Tooth Relic, with the Kandy Lake in the foreground.

Close by are other temples, which give you an insight into some of the finest late medivel treasures of the country. Also within easy reach you will find the Royal Botanic Gardens, the picturesque University campus and the Elephant Bath.

At any time of the year, Kandy is a romantic city but, in August, the ancient capital becomes the venue for one of the most legendary festivals in Asia.

As the moon pales the hillside plantations, Kandy becomes the setting for the festival of the August Moon. For ten days the old cannon booms into the dusk to signal the start of the Perahera. Flaming torches blaze a trail for the glittering procession. Trumpets, conches, oboes and drums beat out a ritual rhythm for the dancers. Rank upon rank of elephants bedecked with golden caparisons precede the lofted Sacred Casket as, late into the night, the holiest of festivals is transformed into an unforgettable spectacle.

 
   
   
   
 

RELIGION
Religion and culture are totally interwoven in Sri Lanka; Buddhist temples, Hindu Kovils, Mosques and churches stand together in religious harmony.

Buddhism followed by 70% of the population. 15% are Hindus, 5% Muslims and 10% Christians.

Sri Lanka is a beautiful, colourful mixture of religious, cultures, races and geography the tropical meeting place of old and knew.

 
   
   
   
 
LAND OF SMILING PEOPLE
Sri Lanka is a happy islands a land of smiling people. Every where there is the co lour and fragrance of tropical vegetation. Whether you are bargain hunting in the Pettah (bazaar) of Colombo,marveling at the ancient cities, sipping tea in the hill country, soaking up the Sun on some near deserted beach or strolling in the countryside, you will find that people are always friendly and outgoing.
 
   
   
   
 

ETHNIC GROUPS
Although predominantly Singhalese, Sri Lanka also has other ethnic groups Tamil, Moors, Malays and descendants of the Dutch, Portuguese and British as well as a small aboriginal community of Veddahs. Over the centuries they have learnt to respect their cultural differences and are justly proud of their past.

Population of around 21 million. Density of around 250 people per sq. Km. 75% of them live in the rural areas & 25% in urban areas. 75% are Singhalese. They speak Sinhala: 17% are Tamils, 6% are Moslems. Rest 02% are Burghers, Malays & Chinese. 45% of the population living on agriculture, 30% on industry and commerce, 20% on services. English is widely spoken and understood. Tamil is used mainly in the northern and eastern regions. Literacy rate 86% is one of the highest in Asia.

 
   
   
   
 

FLORA AND FAUNA
In the 3rd century BC, King Devanampiyatissa established the world’s first fauna and flora sanctuary at Mihintale. Well over 2000 years later it is still here for everyone to enjoy.

The Sinharaja rain forest is an example of one of the few such remaining forests in Asia. It is also a primeval sanctuary for over 170 varieties of exotic orchids.

But, to many, the national parks like Yala, Wilpattu and Udawalawe hold the greatest appeal. From the safety of a park bungalow or a covered jeep, visitors can watch Leopard, Loris, Elephant, Monkey, Deer, and Boar and Bear roam free in these extensive reserves.

 
   
   
   
 

BEACHES
Sri Lanka offers you endless miles of perfect golden fringed by swaying coconut palms. Favorite resorts like Negombo, Mount Lavinia, Beruwela, Bentota and Hikkaduwa (on the west and south coasts) are everyone’s idea of a tropical paradise with temperatures in the middle 80’s F. (29C.) virtually all year round. Sri Lanka inspires a beautiful lethargy.

For the more energetic, there is water skiing, sailing, surfing, scuba diving and deep-sea fishing. The Coral gardens of Hikkaduwa is a spot for the underwater fanatic. Slide into their crystal clear waters and discover brilliant tropical rainbow spectacular submarine scenery, shipwrecks and shoals of brightly colored fish basking in their coral sanctuaries.

For the more energetic, there is water skiing, sailing, surfing, scuba diving and deep-sea fishing. The Coral gardens of Hikkaduwa is a spot for the underwater fanatic. Slide into their crystal clear waters and discover brilliant tropical rainbow spectacular submarine scenery, shipwrecks and shoals of brightly colored fish basking in their coral sanctuaries.