PROFILE OF SRI LANKA


Geography

Geography

An island of approx. 65,610 sq. Km. Sri Lanka lies in the Indian Ocean off the southern tip of the coast of India.


Population

Population

20,675,000 (2014)


Electricity

Electricity

230-240 VOLTS 50 CYCLES A.C.


Time

Time

Sri Lanka's Standard Time is 5 ½ hours ahead of Greenwich.



Climate

Climate

Warm and fine year round. Average temperatures around 27° C in Colombo going down as the land rises to the hill country to as low as 10° C.


Language

Language

Communication is rarely a problem because English is widely spoken in all parts of the country.


Currency

Currency

Sri Lanka has a unified exchange rate for foreign currencies which floats in response to basic exchange market developments.


Visa

Visa

A tourist visa needs to be obtained for nationals other than Singapore & Maldives. The cost is approximately 20 USD, and could be obtained online. For further details, visit www.eta.gov.lk

WHY VISIT SRI LANKA

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Hospitality/   People  

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Classical  
Round Tours  

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Wild life and   Nature  

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Adventures,  
Wild and Sports  

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Jeep Safaris  

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Water Sports and  
Wind Surfing  

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Diving &   
Snorkeling  

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Surfing /  
Whale Watching  

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Sports Fishing  

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Rock Climbing & Caving  

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Mountain   
Biking & Cycling  

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Trekking &  
Hiking  

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Camping  

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Ayurveda  
Meditation  
and Yoga  

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Wedding and  
Honeymoon  

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Gems and  
Jewellery  

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Ceylon Tea  

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Handy Craft  

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Bathik and  
Handmade  
Fabrics  

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Cricket  

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Golf  

Top Destinations

Anuradhapura

Anuradhapura, is one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka, world famous for its well preserved ruins of the Great Sri Lankan Civilization. The Civilization which was built upon this city was one of the greatest civilizations of Asia and in the world. The city now a UNESCO heritage site, lies 205 km north of the current capital Colombo in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka. Today this ancient city of Sri Lanka, which is sacred to the Buddhist world, which its surrounding monasteries covers an area of over sixteen square miles ( 40 km²) and is one of the world's major archaeological sites.


Polonnaruwa

The second most ancient of Sri Lanka's kingdoms, Polonnaruwa was first declared the capital city by King Vijayabahu I, who defeated the Chola invaders in 1070 CE to reunite the country once more under a local leader. While Vijayabahu's victory and shifting of Kingdoms to the more strategic Polonnaruwa is considered significant, the real Polonnaruwa Hero of the history books is actually his grandson, Parakramabahu I. Today the ancient city of Polonnaruwa remains one of the best planned Archeological relic sites in the country, standing testimony to the discipline and greatness of the Kingdom's first rulers. The ancient city of Polonnaruwa has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO.


Kandy

Kandy is a major city in Sri Lanka, located in the Central Province, Sri Lanka. It is the second largest city in the country after Colombo. It was the last capital of the ancient kings' era of Sri Lanka. The city lies in the midst of hills in the Kandy plateau, which crosses an area of tropical plantations, mainly tea. Kandy is both an administrative and religious city and is also the capital of the Central Province. Kandy is the home of The Temple of the Tooth Relic (Sri Dalada Maligawa), one of the most sacred places of worship in the Buddhist world. It was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1988.


Sigiriya

Sigiriya, considered by some as the eighth wonder of the world, consists of an ancient castle used by King Kasyapa of the 4th century AD. The Sigiriya site has the remains of an upper palace sited on the flat top of the rock, a mid-level terrace that includes the Lion Gate and the mirror wall with its frescoes, the lower palace that clings to the slopes below the rock, and the moats, walls and gardens that extend for some hundreds of meters out from the base of the rock.


Dambulla

Dambulla is a World Heritage Site in Sri Lanka, situated in the central part of the country. It is the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. The rock towers 160 m over the surrounding plains. There are more than 80 documented caves in the surrounding area. Major attractions are spread over five caves, which contain statues and paintings. These paintings and statues are related to Gautama Buddha and his life. There are a total of 153 Buddha statues, three statues of Sri Lankan kings and four statues of gods and goddesses. The latter include Vishnu and the Ganesha. The murals cover an area of 2,100 square meters depictions on the walls of the caves include the temptation by the demon Mara, and Buddha's first sermon.


Galle

Galle is a town situated on the southwestern tip of Sri Lanka, 119 km from Colombo. Galle was known as Gimhathiththa (although Ibn Batuta in the 14th century refers to it as Qali) before the arrival of the Portuguese in the 16th century, when it was the main port on the island. Galle reached the height of its development in the 18th century, before the arrival of the British, who developed the harbor at Colombo.





Nuwara Eliya

Nuwara Eliya “or "city of light", is a town in the central highlands of Sri Lanka with a picturesque landscape and temperate climate. It is located at an altitude of 1,868 m (6,128 ft) and is considered to be the most important location for Tea production in Sri Lanka. The town is overlooked by Pidurutalagala the tallest mountain in Sri Lanka.


Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage

Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage is an orphanage and breeding ground for wild elephants which is situated northwest of the town of Kegalle Sri Lanka. It was established in 1975 by the Department of Wildlife Conservation on a 25-acre coconut plantation on the Maha Oya River. The orphanage was originally founded in order to afford care and protection to the many orphaned elephants found in the jungle. As of 2011, there were 88 elephants.


Colombo

Colombo (is the commercial capital and largest city of Sri Lanka. Colombo has a population of 555,031 in the city limits. It is the financial centre of the island and a popular tourist destination. It is located on the west coast of the island and adjacent to Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, the legislative capital of Sri Lanka. Colombo is often referred to as the capital since Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte is within the urban area of, and a satellite city of, Colombo. It is also the administrative capital of Western Province, Sri Lanka and the district capital of Colombo District. Colombo is a busy and vibrant place with a mixture of modern life and colonial buildings and ruins. It was the legislative capital of Sri Lanka until 1982.


Ella

Ella is liberally endowed with beautiful views, and Ella has one of the best. The sleepy village is nestled in a valley peering straight through Ella Gap to the plain nearly 1000m below, and across to the coast where, on a clear night, you can see the Great Basses lighthouse. And as if the views weren't enough, Ella is surrounded by hills perfect for walks through tea plantations to temples and waterfalls.


Bentota

Bentota is a Sri Lankan coastal city located on the southern tip of the Galle District of the Southern Province , about 7–8 kilometers south of Beruwala on the A2 highway . Its population is estimated to be between 25,000 - 50,000. The name comes from a mythical story which dates back to kings time saying a demon called Bem ruled this river.


Beruwala

Beruwala , is a small resort town in the south western coastal belt of Sri Lanka . The name Beruwala is derived from the Sinhalese word for the place where the sail is lowered. It marks the spot for the first Muslim settlement on the island, established by Arab traders around the 8th century AD. A large population of Sri Lankan Moors, many of them are gem merchants, still live in the town-- particularly in the "China Fort". Msjid-ul-Abrar , a landmark of Beruwala and Sri Lanka 's oldest mosque, was built by Arab traders on a rocky peninsula overlooking the town. Beruwala is also home to Al- Fasiyatul Nasriya Muslim Balika Maha Vidyalaya, which is the first and oldest girls school in Sri Lanka. It was damaged by tsunami on boxing day in 2004.Beruwala is the starting point of the 130 km long stretch of beach. In the past few years great strides have been made in the field of resort development in this area. The bay around remains ideal for bathing almost for the whole year.

Trincomalee

Trincomalee is the administrative headquarters of the Trincomalee District and major resort port city of Eastern Province, Sri Lanka. Trincomalee has been one of the main centres of Tamil language speaking culture on the island for over two millennia. Trincomalee city is home to the famous Koneswaram temple alluded to in its historic Tamil name Thirukonamalai and is home to other historical monuments such as the Bhadrakali Amman Temple, Trincomalee.


Sinharaja Forest Reserve

Sinharaja Forest Reserve is a national park and a biodiversity hotspot in Sri Lanka. It is of international significance and has been designated a Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The hilly virgin rainforest, part of the Sri Lanka lowland rain forests eco region, was saved from the worst of commercial logging by its inaccessibility, and was designated a World Biosphere Reserve in 1978 and a World Heritage Site in 1988. The reserve's name translates as Lion Kingdom. The reserve is only 21 km from east to west, and a maximum of 7 km from north to south, but it is a treasure trove of endemic species, including trees, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. The most common larger mammal is the endemic purple-faced langur. An interesting phenomenon is that birds tend to move in mixed feeding flocks, invariably led by the fearless greater racket-tailed drongo and the noisy orange-billed babbler. Of Sri Lanka's 26 endemic birds, the 20 rainforest species all occur here, including the elusive red-faced malkoha, green-billed coucal and Sri Lanka blue magpie.
Reptiles include the endemic green pit viper and hump-nosed vipers, and there are a large variety of amphibians, especially tree frogs. Invertebrates include the endemic common bird wing butterfly and the inevitable leeches.


Central Highlands

Central Highlands of Sri Lanka is a recognized world Heritage Site in Sri Lanka. On 31 July 2010, the World Heritage Committee holding its 34th session in Brasília inscribed Central Highlands of Sri Lanka as new World Heritage Sites. The site comprises the Peak Wilderness Protected Area, the Horton Plains National Park and the Knuckles Conservation Forest. These are rain forests, where the elevation reaches 2,500 meters above sea level. The region harbors a variety of mammal species including the bear monkey, Trachypithecus vetulus monticola, (a subspecies of purple-faced Langur) and the Horton Plains slender loris, Loris tardigradus nycticeboides, (a subspecies of red slender Loris).


Yala National Park

Yala National Park or Ruhuna National Park is the most visited and second largest national park in Sri Lanka. It is situated in the southeast region of the country, and lies in Southern Province and Uva Province. The park covers 979 square kilometers and is located about 300 kilometers from Colombo. Yala was designated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1900, and, along with Wilpattu it 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 and aquatic birds.


Pasikudah

Pasikudah is a coastal resort town located about 35 kilometers northwest of Batticaloa, Batticaloa District, Sri Lanka. It used to be a popular tourist destination, however due to 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and Sri Lankan Civil War tourist numbers have declined. Pasikudah and Kalkudah are located few km apart. Pasikudah has become a popular tourist destination amongst locals and foreigners alike because Pasikudah is known to have one of the longest stretches of shallow coastline in the world. In other words, people walk kilometers into the sea because the water is only a few inches deep and the current is relatively weak compared to the rest of Sri Lanka's coasts.


Jaffna

Jaffna is the capital city of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. It is the administrative headquarters of the Jaffna district located on a peninsula of the same name. Jaffna is approximately six miles away from Kandarodai which served as a famous emporium in the Jaffna peninsula from classical antiquity. Jaffna's suburb, Nallur served as the capital of the four centuries-long medieval Jaffna kingdom. Historically, Jaffna has been a contested city. It was made into a colonial port town during the Portuguese occupation of the Jaffna peninsula in 1619. The Dutch, took it from the Portuguese, only to lose it to the British in 1796. After Sri Lanka gained independence 1948.


Yapahuwa

Yapahuwa was one of the ephemeral capitals of medieval Sri Lanka. The citadel of Yapahuwa lying midway between Kurunagala and Anuradhapura was built around a huge granite rock rising abruptly almost a hundred meters above the surrounding lowlands. In 1272, King Bhuvenakabahu transferred the capital from Polonnaruwa to Yapahuwa in the face of Dravidian invasions from South India, bringing the Sacred Tooth Relic with him. Following the death of King Bhuvenakabahu in 1284, the Pandyans of South India invaded Sri Lanka once again, and succeeded in capturing Sacred Tooth Relic. Following its capture, Yapahuwa was largely abandoned and inhabited by Buddhist monks and religious ascetics.


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