Welcome to Sri Lanka, a beautiful Island destination in the world. It is gifted with stunning Island, rich heritage and cultural beauty, stunning beaches, exotic national parks and sanctuaries, museums and art galleries, historical buildings, manmade marvel, colorful fairs and festivals, harmonious mix of diverse culture, etc. All these have truly supplemented the Sri Lanka tourism which have made it the sought after tourism destination in the world.
SriLanka is tropical, with distinct dry and wet seasons. The seasons are slightly complicated by having two monsoons. From May to August the Yala monsoon brings rain to the island’s southwestern half, while the dry season here lasts from December to March. The southwest has the highest rainfall – up to 4000mm a year. The Maha monsoon blows from October to January, bringing rain to the North and East, while the dry season is from May to September. The North and East are comparatively dry, with around 1000mm of rain annually. There is also an inter-monsoonal period in October and November when rain can occur in many parts of the island.
Colombo and the low-lying coastal regions have an average temperature of 27°C. At Kandy (altitude 500m), the average temperature is 20°C, while Nuwara Eliya (at 1889m) has a temperate 16°C average. The sea stays at around 27°C all year.
Sri Lanka is situated on the south eastern part of Asia. If you look at the map of Sri Lanka, you will see that this island country is situated just in the center of the Indian Ocean. In fact, Sri Lanka is also known as surrounded on all its side by the Indian Ocean. This island has the Bay of Bengal to its south west and the Arabian Sea on the south west. Sri Lanka is situated in great geographical proximity to India. It is separated from India by the narrow Gulf of Mannar and Palk Strait. The total land area of Sri Lanka is estimated to be 65,610 sq km.
The topography of Sri Lanka is marked by great diversity. The topographical diversity that is seen in the country is caused by years of faulting and erosion of the landscape. The topography of Sri Lanka is divided into three distinct geographical areas. They are the plains, the coastal belt and the central highlands.
Sri Lanka is a multi-religious society. Though Buddhism is the major religion, other religions such as Hinduism, Christianity and Islam are also followed.
About 70% of the population follows Buddhism. Buddhism came to Sri Lanka from India during the reign of Ashoka in third century BC and played a significant role in the establishment of Sinhalese kingdoms since the early times, dating back to over two thousand years. Buddhism was regarded the highest ethical and philosophical expression of Sinhalese culture and civilization.
Hinduism is mainly practiced by Tamils in Srilanka who ethnically belong to South India where Hinduism was predominantly practiced. Around the fifth and the sixth century A.D., the Chola dynasty of South India usurped the throne of the Sinhalese Kingdom and conquered the island, leading to the considerable number of immigrants from South India into the northern Sri Lanka. Thus Hinduism was introduced in Sri Lanka and during the reign of Tamil kings, Hindu shrines were widely constructed. Major Hindu Gods that are worshipped in Sri Lanka are Vishnu, Shiva, Kali, Ganesha and Skanda.
Muslims comprise nearly 7% of Sri Lanka’s population. In ancient times Arab traders from the Middle East visited the southern part of Sri Lanka for their business and later settled in the island. The Muslim community in Sri Lanka attained dominant growth by 10th century A.D.
Christianity first came to Sri Lanka upon the arrival of the Portuguese in the sixteenth century. Under their rule, Roman Catholicism was spread out in a mass scale of the Island with many Roman Catholic schools for the Sinhalese and the Tamils. With the attempts of the Portuguese to Christianize native people, Buddhism and Hinduism were severely affected. There were an increasing number of both Sinhalese and Tamils converting to Roman Catholicism. When the Portuguese were driven out by the Dutch, Protestantism and the Dutch Reformed Church was introduced. During the British rule conversions to Christianity increased. Later on due to the nationalism movement among the Sinhalese who held sway the political power; Christianity in Sri Lanka was somewhat restricted.
By Air: Bandaranaike International Airport, located 30km off Capital Colombo, is the only international airport in Sri Lanka. One can reach there by taxi or bus plying at regular intervals between the city and the airport. One can also catch a train for reaching the airport. Facilities like bank counters for money exchange, bar, restaurant, and tourist information have been provided at the airport. Air tickets can be bought from the offices of several airlines.
By Sea: Sri Lanka has four international ports including Colombo, Talaimannar, Trincomalee, and Galle. Some cruise liners sailing around India and Maldives, or on longer cruises from Singapore to Dubai port in Colombo. Others commence at Colombo and head for Indonesia via Malaysia and Singapore. Usual cruising season is from month of October through May and cruises take about 12 to 16 days to complete the journey. However, continuous ethnic conflict has stopped the ferry service plying between Rameswaram in South India and Sri Lanka.
Plane: Domestic airport of Colombo is located at Ratamalana. Daily flights Operate for Batticaloa, Gal Oya, Palali, and Trincomalee. However, flights to Jaffna are not available for they have been disrupted by continuous.
Train: Trains are the cheapest and perhaps the best way to see Sri Lanka. Trains are available for all major tourist towns, but number of first-class or air-conditioning carriages is few. An inter-city express service connects Colombo with Kandy. Train services to Jaffna been closed.
Bus: Sri Lanka has an extensive network of roads reaching to all parts of the island. Buses plying on these roads connect all parts of the country. Two main types of buses in Sri Lanka are: Central Transport Board buses and private buses. Costs of these buses are easily affordable. However one should be ready of jostling with the crowds.
Taxi: One can avail taxis in any of the towns. However it is advisable to discuss the price before boarding. You can’t expect to find the metered-taxis out of the big towns. Even in those taxis, you should first negotiate the price before getting in. The three-wheelers or auto-rickshaws are found in all towns of the country. In tourist’s spots as well as outside the railway stations and bus stops, three wheelers are easily available. The rule of negotiating the price implies itself here too.
Car rentals: You can hire a car for moving around the country. Several car rental shops are available to choose from. This way you would be able to escape the rush of public transport. Costs of hiring are also not much and common tourists can afford them.
Food of Sri Lanka is hot and spicy. Base food of the inhabitants of the island is rice which they consume with curry both veg and fish based. All the dishes are cooked on the base of coconut milk and flavored by liberal use of spices. Like all the people of coastal regions, the Sri Lankans are also expert in preparing fish dishes. Mallung, Sambol, Lamprais, Buriyani and Polos Pehi are some popular dishes of Sri Lanka. Sri Lankans also like several juicy sweetmeats like Kavum, Halape, Thalaguli and Wattalapam. Sri Lankans also like to have drinks like tea and coffee.
The Sri Lankans have kept their heritage as well. Clothing of Sri Lankans is a perfect blend of the eastern and western fashion. Jeans is quite a common and usual dress for the youngsters. Until and unless it is a formal occasion, Sri Lankans do not give much importance to the color of the dresses they wear.
Sri Lankan Clothing includes sari, skirts and blouses for ladies and jeans and trousers for men. However the National Clothing in Sri Lanka for women is white sarong and a white shirt till knees. Sri Lanka Clothing nowadays is quite influenced by the media as in the television mainly. The fashion magazines also work wonders in this case by giving the latest information on fashion. The fashion icons of Colombo play an important role as well.
Most popular Sri Lanka Clothing are beachwear and batik. Handmade batik printed clothes have gained popularity all over the world and are also exported from Sri Lanka to various places in the world. In Sri Lanka shopping is a great fun as you do not need pots of money to get the latest fashion in hand. You just need to know the fashion.
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