Situated in the Indian Ocean, and known as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka offers palm-studded beaches, rolling plantations and sacred sights steeped in spirituality. With charming people, mysterious ruins and some of the best cuisine in the world, Sri Lankas hypnotic essence will remain with you long after you come home.
The first Sinhalese arrived in Sri Lanka late in the 6th century B.C., probably from northern India. Buddhism was introduced in about the mid-third century B.C., and a great civilization developed at the cities of Anuradhapura (kingdom from circa 200 B.C. to circa A.D. 1000) and Polonnaruwa (from about 1070 to 1200). In the 14th century, a south Indian dynasty established a Tamil kingdom in northern Sri Lanka. The Potuguese controlled the coastal areas of the island in the 16th century and the Dutch in the 17th century. The island was ceded to the British in 1796, became a crown colony in 1802, and was formally united under British rule by 1815. As Ceylon, it became independent in 1948; its name was changed to Sri Lanka in 1972. Tensions between the Sinhalese majority and Tamil separatists erupted into war in 1983.
After two decades of fighting, the government and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) formalized a cease-fire in February 2002 with Norway brokering peace negotiations. Violence between the LTTE and government forces intensified in 2006, but the government regained control of the Eastern Province in 2007 and by May 2009, the remnants of the LTTE had been defeated. Since the end of the conflict, the government has enacted an ambitious program of economic development projects, many of which are financed by loans from the Government of China. In addition to efforts at reconstructing its economy, the government has resettled more than 95% of those civilians displaced during the final phase of the conflict and released the vast majority of former LTTE combatants captured by Government Security Forces. At the same time, there has been little progress on more contentious and politically difficult issues such as reaching a political settlement with Tamil elected representatives and holding accountable those alleged to have been involved in human rights violations and other abuses during the conflict.
The island of Sri Lanka lies just under the Indian subcontinent, to the southwest of the Bay of Bengal. Sri Lankas main cities are typically built up, busy and increasingly becoming more multicultural and cosmopolitan. In comparison to Sri Lankas fast-paced, city-dwelling residents, many Sri Lankans still live in villages with simple housing and work predominantly in the agriculture and fishing industries. All in all the population in Sri Lanka add up to 22,053,488.
As an important stop on ancient trade routes, theres a great mix of cultural influences present in modern day Sri Lanka. The majority of Sri Lankans are Sinhalese Buddhists, followed by Tamils (who are mostly Hindu) and a small amount of Christians and Muslims. Various religious festivals and holy times are celebrated regularly in Sri Lanka, from large nationwide holidays to local village celebrations.
A jewel in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is jam-packed with ancient sites, fascinating culture, beautiful wilderness and idyllic beaches. From ancient Anuradhapura city and the well-preserved Polonnaruwa ruins, to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic and the impressive Sigiriya rock fortress, Sri Lankan culture spans more than 2,000 years and still remains vibrant and alive today. Trek through lush tea plantations, indulge in seafood feasts in quaint fishing villages and dip your toes in the calm, clear waters of Mirissa beach on this all-encompassing adventure for those seeking a unique travel experience.
Expect to be bedazzled when you visit Horton Plains National Parl, Adams Pead, Dambulla Cave Temple, Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara, Knuckles Mountain Range, Kandya Lake, Royal Palace of Kandya, Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple, Galle Face Green, Diyaluma Falls, Ruwanwelisaya, Kuttam Pokuna, and Town Hall, Colombo.
Known for its fragrant spices, vibrant fabrics, stunning silver jewellery and one-of-a-kind antiques, its difficult to leave Sri Lanka without a backpack full of mementos. From far-flung rural marketplaces to the boutiques and galleries of Galle and Colombo, shopping in Sri Lanka has something for everyone at a relatively low cost. Make sure to pick up handicrafts, gems and spice.
Sinhala (also called Sinhalese or Singhalese) is the mother tongue of the Sinhalese ethnic group which is the largest in Sri Lanka. It belongs to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. About 16 million people in Sri Lanka speak Sinhala, about 13 million of who are native speakers. It is one of the constitutionally recognised official languages of Sri Lanka, along with Tamil. Tamil is a classical language and the oldest of the Dravidian language family and spoken by the Tamil population of Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lankan Rupee is the currency of Sri Lanka. The currency code for Rupees is LKR (LK, LKA), and the currency symbol can be written as Rs, SLRs, and SL?. Sri Lanka has a decimal currency system. One Sri Lanka rupee is divided in to 100 Sri Lankan cents. Currency notes are in the denominations of Rs.10/-, Rs. 20/-, Rs. 50/-, Rs. 100/-, Rs.200/-, and Rs.1000/-Rs.2000/-, Denominations clearly marked in additional to Sinhala and Tamil. Coins commonly in use are the following Denominations; 5cents, 10cents, 25 cents, 50 cents, One Rupees, Tow Rupees, Five Rupees and ten Rupees.
The most popular Sri Lankan Rupee currency exchanges in Sri Lanka are US Dollar (USD
), European Euro (EUR
), UK Pound Sterling (GBP
), Australian Dollar (AUD
), Indian Rupee (INR
), Canadian Dollar (CAD
), United Arab Emirati Dirham (AED
), Swiss Franc (CHF
), and Qatari Riyal (QAR