Sri Lanka Travel Guide
is formerly known as Serendib, Ceylon.SriLanka's capital is Colombo. It's legislative
capital is Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte.Sri Lanka is an island in the Indian Ocean,
located to the south of Indian Subcontinent. Sprawling over the area of 65,
610 square kilometers, Sri Lanka with its tear-dropped shape is dominated by
the astonishingly varied features of topography, making it one of the most scenic
places in the world. Three zones can be divided by its distinguished elevation:
the Central Highland, the plains, and the coastal belt.It's total area is 65,610
square kilometers; water: 870 square kilometers; land: 64,740 square kilometers.Coastline
is 1,340 kilometers.SriLanka climate is tropical monsoon; northeast monsoon
(December to March); southwest monsoon (June to October).Terrain is mostly low,
flat to rolling plain; mountains in south-central interior.Srilanka has 8 Provinces
Central, North, North Eastern, North Western, Sabaragamuwa, Southern, Uva, Western.In
Sri Lanka, the president is considered both the chief of state and head of government,
in contrast to the more common practice of dividing the roles between the president
and the prime minister when both offices exist.
Other Information of SriLanka
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 meter; highest point:
Pidurutalagala 2,524 meters.
limestone, graphite, mineral sands, gems, phosphates,
4 February 1948
a highly complex mixture of English common law, Roman-Dutch,
Muslim, Sinhalese, and customary law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction.
Due to the ethnic war between the government and armed Tamil separatists
in the mid-1980s, several hundred thousand of Tamils fled the country. In the
mid-1999, approximately 66,000 were housed in 133 refugee camps in south India,
another 40,000 lived outside Indian camp, and more than 200, 000 have sought
refuge the Western countries. (July 2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.85% (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Total population: 72.35 years
75 years (2002 est.)
Religion in Sri Lanka
As Sri Lankan population is composed with multi-ethnic group, the religion in Sri Lanka is inevitably diverse. Various communities in Sri Lanka recognize four of the world's major religions: Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity. The majority people of the country, the Sinhalese are adherent to Buddhism while other ethnic groups like Tamils, Moors, Burghers, and others practice Hinduism, Islam and Christianity, respectively.
Language of Sri Lanka
Since Sri Lanka endows a diversity of ethnic groups, language spoken in the country is various. The two major ones widely used are, however, Sinhala language spoken by the Sinhalese majority and Tamil language used by the Tamils. Although, Sinhala and Tamil are languages from different source, both share some common characteristics and obviously have influence on each other's linguistic evolution as well.
age 15 and over can read and write total population: 90.2%
Society of Sri Lanka
Sri Lankan society is multi-ethnic and multi-religious since the pre-historic times; each group is mainly characterized by their religions. The majority ethnic group is the Sinhalese who practice Buddhism. The second-largest group is the Tamils who are adherent to Hinduism. Others are Muslims and Christians. With the religious diversity, each community has less interaction with each other, and certain group even came up with conflicts.
Sri Lanka rupee (LKR)
6.6 million (1998)
rubber processing, tea, coconuts, and other agricultural
commodities; clothing, cement, petroleum refining, textiles, tobacco.
+ five hours and 30 minutes GMT
Arts of Sri Lanka
Owing to its long, rich history, Sri Lanka endows exquisite arts evolving through the course of time which has refined its culture to be unique and precious heritage of the nation. Sri Lanka. Its pivotal position on the ancient Silk Route made Sri Lanka a crossroad of cultural and trade exchange of the West and the East. India and China's record ha proved the cultural, political and trade exuberance of this island.
In many ways Sri Lankan arts is an inspiration of its long and lasting Buddhist tradition which in turn absorbed and adopted countless regional and local tradition for thousand of years, evolving to be a unique variant of Sri Lankan arts. Unsurprising, most of Sri Lankan arts originated religious beliefs, represented in many artistic forms such as painting, sculpture, architecture, and so on.
Indian culture has also given dominant and deep mark in Sri Lankan arts. Indian culture here means the Indian Buddhist culture introduced along with Buddhism into Sri Lanka in the 3rd century B.C and becoming the core of Sri Lankan culture ever since. Nonetheless, Indian culture has not restrained the formation of a distinctively Sri Lankan tradition to express in its own ways. Sri Lankan artistic style varied from kingdom to kingdom along its historic lines, each of which has successively added some characteristic elements to Sri Lankan arts, becoming the completely priceless inheritance we can see today.
Festivals in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is one of the countries that are never free form lively festival a
whole year round. Visitors will have an exceptional experience for witness its
bright and colorful tradition of Sri Lanka if they stumble on the festive period.
Most festivals in Sri Lanka are related to religion and depend on the lunar
calendar, encompassing Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, and Christian festivals. Apart
from the religious holidays,
Lankan people also enjoy their national holidays, proving well the entertainment
-lover-mind of people in this country. The followings are some major festivals
of each religion in Sri Lanka.
Since Sri Lanka is predominantly Buddhist country, Buddhist festivals are more frequent. In fact, full moon day of every month is regarded as a religious observance for the Buddhists; it is called Poya Day. However, the main full moon days reminiscent to the religious important events are:-
The full moon day of January marks the first visit
of the Buddha to Sri Lanka. In memory of this visit, a procession consisting
of well-decorated elephants, dancers, and drummers is held for three nights
at Kelaniya (10 kilometers from Colombo).
This full moon day is a day of the great significant for
the Buddhists around the world for it marks the Birth, Enlightenment, and Decease
of the Buddha. The Buddhist houses on the island are decorated with bright Vesak
lanterns. The alms halls offer free meals to passer-by and Buddhists go to temples
or shrines for religious observance.
Poson commemorates the day Buddhism was introduced into
Sri Lanka by Arahat Mahinda. There are processions held in many parts of the
country in reminiscence to this celebrated Buddhist apostle who took Buddhism
to the Island. But the celebrating centers on this day are at Anuradhapura and
July to August is a month of religious celebrations
in several parts of the country, but the biggest and most famous is the Festival
of the August Moon or Kandy Perahera at Kataragama in the eastern part of the
country. In Kataragama, colorful processions are held for two weeks with an
amazing "fire walking ceremony" to express respect and sacrifice to the God
Kataragama, regarded the Warrior God.
This full day is a memorial day of Sangamitta, Asoka's
daughter, who brought a sapling from a scared Bodhi Tree in India to Sri Lanka.
The tree grown from that sapling still stands in Anuradhapura today.
Hindu festivals also fill the festive periods in Sri Lanka with its distinctly colorful ceremonies, making the Hindu shrines across the country full of emanating faith and happiness of people. Major Hindu festivals are:-
This Hindu festival is held to honor the War God Skhanda
in Colombo. The city's main streets are used for the magnificent processions
of colorfully decorated chariots, accompanied by music and dance.
Also known as the festival of lights, Deepavali festival
takes place in late October or early November. Thousand of oil lamps will be
lit to celebrate the victory of good over evil and the return of Rama (the legendary
character of the Hindu epic Ramayana, believed to be an incarnation of Vishnu)
after his period of exile. Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth is worshipped on the
third day of the festival.
When it comes to national festivals, the most expecting, most colorful, and most vibrant festivals of the nation is the traditional New Year Festival. The festival is when the two major ethnic groups in Sri Lanka, the Sinhalese and the Tamils jointly celebrate this happy time, but in different styles according to their original tradition.
Although the conventional New Year is the 1st January, traditional New Year (Avurudu) of the Sinhalese and the Tamils occurs in the 13th or 14th April each year according to their lunar calendar. The precise days and times of celebration of the end of the old year and the beginning of the New Year are determined by the astrologers. The auspicious time is marked by the entry of the Sun from the zodiac sign of Pisces (the last phase of the Sun cycle) to Aries (the first phase of the Sun cycle). The festive period continues for about a week. The festival also coincides with the end of the harvest season and the beginning of new season. People enjoy the brand new day of the New Year by cleaning their house, buying their new clothes, and eating special meal in a union of family members. Unlike the long, continual Sinhalese New Year celebration, Hindu Tamil New Year is confined to the first day of the Year and is over within hours.
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