Facts about Sri Lanka
Hearing the name Sri Lanka or Ceylon conjures up images of coconut-fringed beaches, hills outlined with sparkling waterfalls, disciplined tea estates speckled with vibrant tea pluckers, captivating historical sites and splendid architecture. The list doesn’t just stop there it continues on with friendly locals and delectable cuisine influenced by the many settlers of Sri Lanka. Every country has certain qualities that make it unique. Here are some interesting facts about Sri Lanka that you should not miss.
General facts about Sri Lanka
- Being a little larger than West Virginia at 65,610 square kilometers, the island is packed with 13,640 kilometers of breathtaking coastline. The beaches in the west and south are best from November until March, whereas the shoreline in the north is awesome from April to October.
- Its tear-drop shape located at the tip of India resembles a pendant dangling from its necklace, giving it the name ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean’.
- Sri Lanka has numerous waterfalls which are used to generate electricity making it a user of hydro-power.
- Sri Lanka has many holidays in a month called Poya Days. These are the days when the full moon is sighted and Buddhists spend the day doing the religious rituals. Lankans are lucky people to have that many rest days.
- The Sri Lankan Navy has organized Whale watching tours that start from Galle.
- Have you ever heard about paper made from elephant dung? Needless to say, Sri Lanka is blessed with elephants so they have to find a way to repurpose so much of dung. You want to try some, head over to the Pinnawala Elephant Center.
- You wouldn’t have thought in your wildest dreams that a country the size of Sri Lanka will have as many as 8 UNESCO world heritage sites. The sites that have made the list are
Ancient city of Anuradhapura
Famous for the well conserved remains of the Sri Lankan Civilization, the city was the first prehistoric capital and is sacred to the Buddhists because of the religion, culture and history. Regarded as one of the world’s largest archaeological sites, the city is surrounded by many monasteries.
Ancient City of Polonnaruwa
The second historical capital of the country, it’s a true depiction of the superiority of the kingdom’s first rulers and is regarded as one of the most well-planned ruins in the country.
Ancient City of Sigiriya
Considered by many as the eighth wonder of the world, this rock fortress is a work of art in itself. The Sigiriya Frescoes, a series of paintings on the rock walls depicting beautiful ladies believed to be a part of King Kashyapa’s harem, the well planned moats surrounding the rock and the sky palace make this a wonder that shows the creativity and workmanship of its builders.
Sacred City of Kandy
Being the historical capital of the Sinhalese Kings, the city houses The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic (known as Sri Dalada Maligawa by locals) which played a huge role in the rule of the kings. The sacred tooth relic is housed within the walls of the temple and is respected by the Buddhists. During the reign of the kings, it was believed that whoever held possession of the relic was the one who had control over the entire country.
Old Town of Galle and its forts
Located in the southwestern coast of the country, Galle was known as Qali by the famous Arabian traveler Ibn Batuta. Galle still gives out a vibe of the British with its many forts and architecture that represents the British Colonial style.
Golden Temple of Dambulla
The Cave is the largest cave temple complex in the country. The series of roughly 80 caves are well-preserved and house 153 Buddha statues, 4 statues of gods and goddesses, 3 statues of Sri Lankan Kings and murals spanning 2,100 square meters.
Translating as Kingdom of the Lion, the lowland rain forest was designated as a World Heritage Site in 1989 because of it containing some endemic species of trees, insects, mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians.
This consists of the Adam’s Peak, the Horton Plains National Park and the Knuckles Conservation Forest because of its biodiversity.
Facts about Sri Lanka People
- Sri Lankans are regarded as the most educated people of South Asia with a literacy rate of 92.63%. That is no surprise because the country has 11 universities.
- Sri Lanka was the first country to elect a female as the prime minister. Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaiyke ruled Ceylon for a total of three periods. Firstly, from 1960 to 1965, 1970 to 1977 and 1994 to 2000. It goes without saying that Sri Lankans are very open-minded.
- Tourists usually mistake the common ’issaraha bahinawa’ call in the buses as someone screaming for help. Don’t fret; it’s just the Sinhalese way of saying getting off at the next stop.
- ‘Ella Kiri’ translated as cow’s milk is the Lankan way of saying ‘awesome’. Jot that down as you can surprise some locals with your new knowledge of Sri Lankan lingo when you visit there.
- Rice and curry is a staple among the locals and is eaten by hand. The array of three vegetable curries deliciously cooked in coconut milk and a mix of spices served with rice and a meat curry will literally play an orchestra of flavors in your mouth.
You might know all the facts about Sri Lanka, but this teardrop of an island will always surprise you with something unexpected. You can only enjoy the unexpected of Sri Lanka by setting foot on its soil, and trust me, you will never regret it!