…a land like no other
We welcome you to our beautiful island ,srilanka . the island’s proud history of over 2500 years and the breathtaking diversity of scenery will capture your heart and soul like no other destination . may the time you spend in our island be filled with exciting experiences – memories of which you will carry long after you leave our shores .
The plams clasped together and a gentle bow of the head ac-companies “ayubowan” (may you be blessed with long life) srilanka’s gentle gesture of welcome and respect. It is the age-old greeting of our people, and the chances are you will be greeted this way, wherever you happen to travel throughout the island.
What may strike you most about srilanka is its amazing diversity of scenery. It is possible to pass brilliant green paddy fields, sun-bronzed beaches, ruined cities, small lively villages, near desert regions, sanctuaries for wildlife in tropical jungles, and hill country tea plantations literally within hours of each other
The history of srilnka stretches back over 2500 years, it’s very beginnings are lost in myth and legend, and the arrival of prince vijaya an exile from north india with his entourage of seven hundred followers. However, the earliest recorded civilization dates back to 380 BC, when Anuradhapura (250 km from Colombo) was established as the first capital city. Following the advent of budhism in the 3rd century BC, a civilization rich in indo-arayan culture took root. It produced the great cities with their “dagabas” which compare, and even exceed in size, the pyramids of Egypt, palaces and pleasure gradens, rich art and architecture and the gigantic irrigation works, many of wich are still in use today.
With invasions from neighbouring south india, the base of power shifted to polonnaruwa (101 km south east of Anuradhapura) and other cities such as dambadeniya, kurunegala, kotte and kandy. In the 16th century the island had its first recorded encounter with the traders and colonisers of the west, with the arrival portuguese in 1505. What followed was a period of nearly five hundred years during which the island came under the control and influence of the Portuguese, dutch and british.
While the Portuguese and dutch ruled over the maritime regions for arough 150 years each, the british established complete control over the island with the fall of the kandyan kingdom in 1815. They too ruled for 150 years before the country regained independence in 1948.
The impact of many cultures over the centruies, from south indian to the Moorish and that of the western colonisers, have resulted in the country’s culture being enriched by a rich diversity, much of which is in evidence today.
The island’s economy, has traditionally been based on agriculture, with rice as cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg and papperhave been age old exports, as were gems and even peacocks and elephants. With western commercial influence, rice gave way to cash crops, until the british made tea the base of the economy.
The new thrust in the economy is on export-ledindustry. Agriculture is now being revived. Non-traditional exports such as garments, seafood, foliage, cut flowers and tropical fish and value added agro-industries have in recent years contributed to the economic advance of srilanka.
The people of srilanka are of diverse races and faiths. The majority are Sinhalese who are Buddhists, while among the minorities the tamils, mainly hindus are the largest, followed by the moors who follows isiam, and a sharply declining number of burghers, descended from the Portuguese and dutch, who are Christians. There is also a considerable population of Christians among the Sinhalese and tamils.
The country was the first in south asia to move away from a state-centred economic structure and embrace a private-sector leddd market oriented economy. The ooopportunities are many for foreign investment, with almost all exchange controls relaxed and many incentives given for foreign investment. Free trade zones, repatriation of profit, widespread education, a sophisticated middle class and a newly emerging capital market, have made srilanka most attractive to foreign investors in the past decade.
Although will on the road to modernization, the country and its people still cherish most of their traditional values and take pride in their rich culture. An aspect which continues to attract visitors from abroad, as much as the beauty and diversity of scenery, and the warmth and friendship of the people.
An island of approx. 65,610sq.km.sri lanka lies in the indian ocean off the southern tip of the coast of india. It lies between 5 55, and 9 55’ north of the equator and between the eastern longitudes 79 42’ and 81 52’.
The coastline gives way to lowland plains, growing rice and coconut. In the mid country rubber vies with gems, while green carpets of tea clothe the central mountain ranges reaching heights of some 2,432 metres.
Warm and fine year round. Average temperatures around 27 cin Colombo going down as the land rises to the hill country to as low as10 C.
The island has two wet seasons between may and july in the south-west and December/January in the north-east
Climatically srilankahas no off- season. Bright sunny warm days are the ruly and are common even during the wet season. Sea temperatures as a rule remain around 27 C.
Nearly 19.3 million,75.5% Sinhalese, 11.9% SlTamils, 4.6% Ind.Tamils , 8.3% moors 0.3% malays, 0.2% burghers and 0.2% others. Literacy rate average 90.01% – one of the highest in asia.
Communication is rarely a problem because English is widely spoken in all parts of the country. Place names and signboards are in the national languages and often in English. Official languages- Sinhala, tamil and English. National languages-sinhala and tamil.
Predominantly Buddhism but also Hinduism, islam and Christianity.
Sri lanka’s standard time is 5 ½ hours ahead of Greenwich
Filtered water and mineral waters as well as bottled drinking water are available. The yellow king coconutia a popular thirst quencher, and of course,the most popular drink is a hot cup of tea.