Sri Lanka (Sinhala: ශ්රී ලංකා; Tamil: இலங்கை), officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is a country in Southern Asia. Sri Lanka is known for having the biggest tea distribution in the world and for being a hotspot for tourists. Ever since Marco Polo's discovery of Sri Lanka as the "finest island in the world" in 1292, Sri Lanka has been a destination for many European travelers, in which those travelers may refer to the island-nation as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean.
From July 1983 to May 2009, the country was heavily rocked by a civil war between the SL government and the Tamil Tigers. The Tamil Tigers were a separatist militant group that sought for an independent nation for the Sri Lankan Tamils after facing decades of discrimination ever since the country's independence from the British (1948).
Due to the Easter 2019 bombings, inflation, COVID-19, mismanagement of funds and poor policy-making, Sri Lanka is currently experiencing an extensive economic and political crisis. Due to the 2022 protests, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, then-president of Sri Lanka, was forced to flee the nation and a new president is supposed to be voted on July 20th to finish Rajapaksa's term.
Where is Sri Lanka?[edit | edit source]
Sri Lanka is located in Asia (South Asia to be specific) and is 55 miles south of India's Rameswaram. Sri Lanka is northeast of the Maldives, south of India, east of the Arabian Sea, and west of the Bay of Bengal.
How many people live in Sri Lanka?[edit | edit source]
Such a tiny country, yet so many people! As of 2013, about 20.48 million people have been living in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is growing at a rate of 0.913% per year.
What are the common languages in Sri Lanka?[edit | edit source]
Sri Lanka has several languages due to the diverse cultures, but Sri Lanka's official languages are Sinhalese and Tamil. Sinhalese is spoken by around 16 million people in Sri Lanka and is widely recognized as Sri Lanka's mother tongue. Sinhalese comes from the Indo - Aryan Branch.
Tamil is a classical language, and it is the oldest language of the Dravidian language family. Not only is it spoken in Sri Lanka, but as well as in India, Singapore, and Malaysia! In 1996, Tamil was the 18th most spoken language in the world, with 74 million speakers worldwide.
English is widely spoken in Sri Lanka as well, and is taught in schools.
What is the most common religion in Sri Lanka?[edit | edit source]
The common religion in Sri Lanka is Buddhism. But other religious minorities exist in Sri Lanka as well, such as Hindus, Christians and Muslims.
What is the sport in Sri Lanka?[edit | edit source]
The main sport of Sri Lanka is cricket, and currently has a big team that plays in Cricket Games, called the Sri Lanka Cricket team. Sri Lanka is one of the nations that are full members in cricket, and also the five that has one the Sri Lankan Cricket World Cup, in 1996. But Sri Lanka is not all about cricket!
Sri Lanka also plays rugby and soccer, but they aren't famously known for those sports compared to cricket. Sri Lanka has a national football team called the Sri Lankan National Football team (used to be called the Ceylon National Football team as a British Colony until 1972, when Sri Lanka gained independence) and has several rugby teams.
Although cricket is the most popular sport in the country, the national sport is actually Volleyball. It is a very popular sport amongst the schools.
What are some important sights?[edit | edit source]
- The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is a temple located in Kandy, Sri Lanka. It's a royal temple where the tooth of Buddha is kept. It is special for Buddhist people. Surprisingly, this little tooth has played a big role in Ancient Sri Lankan politics! It is believed that whoever has the tooth in position will govern the country, in which is why the ancient kings used to protect so they can remain in power. It is declared as a historical site by the UNESCO. This temple is located in Kandy, which was the capital of the Sinhalese Kings from 1592 to 1821.
- Anuradhapura is an ancient city in Sri Lanka. This City is best known for the old, ruined civilizations of ancient Sri Lanka. This city was the 3rd capital of Kingdom of Rajarata and is deemed a historical site by UNESCO. Anuradhapura was the capital of Sri Lanka from 4th century BC to 11th century AD. Many tourists visit Anuradhapura for the skilled crafts made by ancient craftsman that are still their today!
- Dambulla Cavekovil (also known as The Golden Temple of Dambulla) is a historical site in the central part of Sri Lanka. The Golden Temple of Dambulla is 92 miles east of Colombo, and 45 miles north of Kandy. This sacred site has been in Sri Lanka for 22 centuries, as well as it is the largest historic site complex in Sri Lanka. The 58 statues and Buddhist painting are one of the main reasons why tourist visit this sacred place in Sri Lanka.
- Mulkirigala Temple (or Raja Maha Viharaya) is a temple located in the Mulkirigala Junction in the Beliatta - Weeraketiya main road. The Rock of this Temple is 676 feet. There are seven cave temples, the Lower Terrace (Patha Maluwa), Bo Tree Terrace ( Bodhi Maluwa). Great King's Temple Terrace ( Raja Maha Vihara Maluwa), Upper Bo Tree Terrace (Uda Bodhi Maluwa), and Chetiya Terrace (Chaitya Maluwa). There are many cave paintings in this temple, such as the Reclined Buddha, Seated Buddha, and Standing Buddha Images, paintings of Buddhas, Arhats, Gods and Jataka.
- Sinharaja Forest Reserve (translated: Mountain of Lion) is a national park of Sri Lanka. This park is a Biosphere Reserve (Area proposed by residents, ratified by a national committee, and has been set by UNESCO, to work in harmony with nature) by the UNESCO. This area is 13 miles from east to west, and 4 miles from north to south. This forest is a home for several endemic (species that are only found in one country) trees, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.
- Jaffna (யாழ்ப்பாணம் in Tamil) is a city in Sri Lanka, the city is more close to India rather than Colombo. Jaffna was settled by early Tamil immigrants, their culture one which owes as much to Hindu India as to Buddhist Sri Lanka. From 1983 to 2009, Jaffna was engulfed in Flames by the big terrorist organization in Sri Lanka, the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam, or simply Tamil Tigers) who controlled the city and called it an independent state on its own. The LTTE bombed numerous structures/areas in Jaffna and killed several people as well (it wasn't safe to go to the Northern Part of Sri Lanka because children were being kidnapped by the LTTE). The painful rebuilding of shattered towns and villages, de-mining fields, and roads is most likely to still continue. Since 2009, the LTTE has been removed from the island, allowing tourists to revisit Jaffna again. There are the Jaffna Peninsula and the many other islands around the Jaffna area that provide many beautiful attractions (such as beaches and temples).