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Fittingly referred to as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, because of its natural beauty, Sri Lanka lies in the Indian Ocean in South Asia.  

Sri Lanka has a documented history that spans over 3000 years. Its geographic location and deep harbours made it of great strategic importance from the time of the ancient Silk Road through to World War II. Sri Lanka is a diverse country home to many religions, ethnicities and languages. It is the land of the Sinhalese, Sri Lankan Tamils, Moors, Indian Tamils, Burghers, Malays, Kaffirs and the aboriginal Veddhas.

The pre-history of Sri Lanka dates back over 125 thousand years Before Present (BP) and possibly even as early as 500,000 BP. The era spans the Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and early Iron ages. The remains of Balangoda Man, an anatomically modern human, found in archeological excavations,suggests that they may have engaged in agriculture and kept domestic dogs for driving game.

One of the first written references to the island is found in the Indian epic Ramayana, which provides details of a kingdom named Lanka that had been created by the divine sculptor Vishwakarma, for Kubera, the lord of wealth. It is said that Kubera was overthrown by his demon stepbrother Ravana, the powerful Emperor who built a mythical flying machine named Dandu-Monara. The modern city of Wariyapola is described as Ravana's airport.

A tropical island of 65,610 Sq.Km. in extent with a population of some 20 million, Sri Lanka indeed is a ‘land like no other’. Sun drenched sandy beaches, breath-taking scenarios of wide plains, high mountains of gentle slopes to steep precipices, green forested hills, scrubland, grassland, semi-deserts, lakes, waterways, waterfalls, wildlife sanctuaries, botanical gardens, lively villages, ancient cities of cultural heritage, places of spiritual importance - Sri Lanka has everything any tourist can ask for, and that too in few hours of travel apart.

 

General Facts:

 

Official Name:
Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

Government Type:
Republic

Location:
Lies in the Indian Ocean, to the southwest of Bay of Bengal, separated from the Indian subcontinent by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait.

Dimensions:
430km North to South, 225km East to West

Coastline:
1,340km

Area:
65,525km

Administrative Capital:
Sri Jayewardenepura

Commercial Capital:
Colombo

Population:
21,128,773

Terrain:
Mostly low, flat to rolling plain; mountains in south-central interior

Highest Mountain:
Pidurutalagala, 2,524m

Highest Waterfall:
Bambarakanda, 263m

Weather:
Sri Lanka has no marked seasons. There are two monsoons.  Southwest monsoon from May to September and Northeast monsoon from September to February. The tropical climate prevails in most parts of the country. The hill country is cooler and more temperate.

Languages:
Sinhala, Tamil and English. English is widely spoken throughout the country.

Religion:
Predominantly Buddhism. Hinduism, Islam and Christianity also practiced.