Sri Lanka is an island country in South Asia near south-east India.
The official name of the country is the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.
Sinhalese and Tamil are the two official languages of Sri Lanka. Their constitution also recognizes English as a “link language” that is used in government and commerce.
As of 1 January 2017, the population of Sri Lanka was estimated to be 20,875,018 people.
It is the 120th largest country in the world by area with 65,610 square kilometers (25,330 square miles).
Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte is the official capital of Sri Lanka. Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte is within the urban area of, and a satellite city of, Colombo.
Sri Lanka’s terrain is mostly low, flat to rolling plain, with mountains in the south-central interior.
The highest point in Sri Lanka is Pidurutalagala or Mount Pedro in English, reaching 2,524 meters (8,281 feet) above sea level.
Sri Lanka’s coastline extends to a length of about 1,340 kilometers (832 miles).
Lagoons, sand beaches, sand dunes, and marshes predominate along the coast, although steep rocky cliffs are found in the Northeast and Southwest.
Sri Lanka has plenty of beautiful beaches. There are long golden ones, there are dainty ones with soft white sand, there are wind- and, wave-battered ones and ones without a footstep for miles.
Sri Lanka, in comparison to its size, has perhaps the largest number of waterfalls of any country in the world. Indeed, there are over 400 recorded waterfalls in Sri Lanka.
Bambarakanda Falls (also known as Bambarakele Falls) is the tallest waterfall in Sri Lanka. With a height of 263 meters (863 feet), it ranks as the 299th highest waterfall in the world.
Sri Lanka has 22 national parks. They cover a total of 26.5% of the country’s area.
Yala National Park is the most visited and second largest national park in Sri Lanka. The park covers 979 square kilometres (378 sq mi) and is located about 300 kilometres (190 miles) from Colombo. Yala was designated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1900, and, along with Wilpattu was one of the first two national parks in Sri Lanka, having been designated in 1938. The park is best known for its variety of wild animals. It is important for the conservation of Sri Lankan elephants, Sri Lankan leopards and aquatic birds.
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is an orphanage, nursery and captive breeding ground for wild Asian elephants located at Pinnawala village, 13 kilometers (8.1 miles) northeast of Kegalle town in Sabaragamuwa Province of Sri Lanka. Pinnawala has the largest herd of captive elephants in the world. Currently (in 2017) being a home to 93 elephants.
Sri Lanka has 8 UNESCO world heritage sites.
Sigiriya or Sinhagiri is an ancient rock fortress located in the northern Matale District near the town of Dambulla. The name refers to a site of historical and archaeological significance that is dominated by a massive column of rock nearly 200 metres (660 ft) high. According to the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle the Culavamsa, this site was selected by King Kasyapa (477 – 495 CE) for his new capital. He built his palace on the top of this rock and decorated its sides with colourful frescoes. The capital and the royal palace was abandoned after the king’s death. It was used as a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century. Sigiriya today is a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site. It is one of the best preserved examples of ancient urban planning.
Sri Dalada Maligawa or the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is a Buddhist temple in the city of Kandy, Sri Lanka. It is located in the royal palace complex of the former Kingdom of Kandy, which houses the relic of the tooth of the Buddha.
Dambulla cave temple also known as the Golden Temple of Dambulla is a World Heritage Site (1991) in Sri Lanka, situated in the central part of the country. This site is situated 148 kilometres (92 miles) east of Colombo and 72 kilometres (45 miles) north of Kandy.
Sri Lanka was given the name Ceilão by the Portuguese when they arrived in 1505. Later on when Ceilão became a British Crown Colony, this very name was transliterated into English as Ceylon.
It achieved independence as the Dominion of Ceylon in 1948; its name was changed to Sri Lanka in 1972.
In 1972 Sri Lanka assumed the status of a Republic. A constitution was introduced in 1978 which made the Executive President the head of state. The Sri Lankan Civil War began in 1983, including an armed youth uprising in 1987–1989, with the 25-year-long civil war ending in 2009.
According to the International Monetary Fund, Sri Lanka’s GDP in terms of purchasing power parity is second only to the Maldives in the South Asian region in terms of per capita income.
The central feature of Sri Lankan cuisine is boiled or steamed rice, served with a curry of fish, chicken, beef or mutton, along with other curries made with vegetables, lentils, or fruits.
Sri Lanka is one of the world’s largest tea exporters.
Sri Lanka is known as both the ‘pearl of the Indian Ocean’ and the ‘teardrop of India’ due to its shape.
The blue sapphire was declared the national gemstone of Sri Lanka in October 2003.
The national flower of Sri Lanka is blue water lily (Nymphaea nouchali).
Sri Lankan birdwing (Troides darsius) is endemic to Sri Lanka and was declared as the national butterfly.
The national bird of Sri Lanka is the Sri Lankan junglefow (Gallus lafayettii).
There is no official national animal in Sri Lanka even though the elephant, lion, and grizzled giant squirrel are locally considered as such.
Although cricket is the most popular sport in Sri Lanka, the national sport of the country is, in fact, volleyball.
Priceless Orchid – Few living things are both as poetic and ephemeral as the Kadupul flower, a fleeting beauty from Sri Lanka that blooms as infrequently as once a year. And when it does bloom, it does so in the dark of night and withers away before dawn … so transient, it simply can’t be purchased.
The captivating natural beauty and treasures of Sri Lanka left the legendary 13th-century explorer Marco Polo entranced. He declared that Sri Lanka is the finest island of its size in all the world.