Sri Lanka is an island in the indian ocean, situated 50 Kms. or 31 miles off the southern tip of india, and is separated from india by the palk strait. The Aryan Prince Vijaya called it Tambapanni as he saw the soil of the west coast a copper colour. The Graeco-Roman mariners called it Taprobane as it was difficult for them to pronounce Tambapanni. The Geographer Ptolemy called it Taprobanam on his map. It is also called Serendib, Ratnadipa (Isle of Gems), Zeilan and Ceylon, among others: all of which echo its paradisiacal qualities and character. The island figures as the focal point in Ramayana legend of Rama and Sita, and is said to have been blessed by three separate visits of the Buddha to kelaniya, Nagadeepa, and Mahiyanganaya. The island impressed travellers from the Chinese monk Fa Hsien (5th century AD) to Marco Polo (circa 1293); and still charms tourists of varied pursuits, persuasions and pleasures to this day with myriad magical mysteries; and – not least of all – continues to enamour its people with fresh facets of what was long considered the “crowning jewel” of the British Empire.
Resembling a teardrop-shaped, gold-fringed emerald set on the blue bosom of the Indian Ocean, it lies pendant from the southernmost tip of the subcontinent between 5° 55’-9° 50’ north and 79° 42’-81° 52’ east. A mere 435 Km north-south from Point Pedro to Dondra Head and 225 km across at its widest, it contains within its compact 65,610 sq. Km (25,332 square miles) an unparalleled diversity of scenic sights, sounds and scents; colourful ceremonies and quaint customs, culture and crafts; monolithic ruins and titanic monuments of a civilization both ancient and advanced; a multitude of climes and ecosystems from tropical rainforests to subalpine evergreen, rich farmlands to arid scrub jungle; extravagant fauna and flora, wonderful wilderness and wildlife; plus over 1125 Km of pristine palm-fringed shoreline where one can swim, surf, snorkel, sail or simply soak up the sun… All within a short 6 hours dive at most, one from another.
Climate & Seasons
Sri Lanka Enjoys a tropical climate without extremes of temperature: which average 80°F (27°C) in Colombo and its suburbs, rising to as much as 100°F (38°C) in the semi-arid northwest and cooling off to 61°F (61°C) at higher elevations of the central hill country. Tropical monsoons mean rains at a stretch for some months. Sri Lanka certainly has no dearth of rains as it has two monsoons and two inter monsoon period. Sri Lanka’s climate has wide influence on both the coastal plains and other low lying areas as well as the high mountainous regions The southwest monsoon which mainly affect the southern, western and central regions during May to july; While the northeast monsoon brings rain to the north and east from November to january. The indian ocean’s warm tropical embrace seems to linger in a careers at this, the very edge of eden, spearheading the subcontinent’s plunge south to seas that lie unbroken by any other landmass until they shift and shape the icy shores of might antarctica.
Demography, Language & Religion
Sri Lanka’s population is 21 million. it comprises a spectrum of different people, namely, Sinhalese (74%); Indigenous and indian Tamils (12.6% and 5% respectively); Moors and Malays (8%) and “Burgers” and others (0.4%), a loose application of the Hollanders’ word for “City Dweller” covering european colonists and their eurasian descendants of Portuguese, Dutch and British ancestry.
The recorded History
The recorded history of the island begins with the story of the arrival of Vijaya, an exiled prince with 700 followers on the day of the Buddha’s demise in 543 BC. This Indo-Aryan invasion of the island-then inhabited by tribes of Nagas (lit, cobras) and Yakshas (lit, demos) – initially took place in “Thammbapanni” (copper-coloured sands) in what is probably Mannar.
Information for Travellers
Health and Safety