How Many States in Sri Lanka
Expressed by Marco Polo as the finest island of its size in the planet, the Arab and European traders were well-aware of the many jewels hidden within its territory. From gems adorning the crowns of queens to hand-picked tea that revitalizes your taste buds, Sri Lanka has provided the world with some of the best. So, you must be wondering, just like every other country, ‘How many states in Sri Lanka’?
The country has a total of 9 states which are more commonly known as provinces throughout the country. These provinces are further divided into a total of 25 districts.
Area: 3,593 square kilometers
Housing a staggering 7 of the total 11 universities within its territory, the Western Province also has the most number of schools in the country. It is the most populated of the provinces and also the most developed. The commercial capital Colombo and the governmental capital Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte are situated within this province. The western province is sectioned into 3 districts:
i. Colombo District
One of the most open-minded regions of the Island, the city is a crucial link of Sri Lanka. Being the most developed city of the country, Colombo has many top-notch hotels and posh shopping complexes selling everything from local brands and renowned international brands. The streets of Colombo 5 and 7, on your way to Independence Square or the National Museum, are lined with trees that may be more than hundred years old. These trees provide a cozy shade and add a touch of nature to the mansion-lined streets.
District Capital: Colombo
Area: 642 square kilometers
Other cities: Avisawella, Dehiwala, Homagama, Maharagama, Moratuwa, Mount Lavinia and Nugegoda.
Attractions: National Zoological Gardens, Galle Face Green, Independence Square, Gangaramaya Temple, National Museum Colombo
ii. Gampaha District
The name translates into ‘five villages’ and is separated from Colombo by the River Kelani. Many private developmental projects have modernized the city with flyovers, shopping complexes and roads.
District Capital: Gampaha
Area: 1,386.6 square kilometers
Other cities: Ja-ela, Negombo, Nittambuwa, Veyangoda and Wattala
Attractions: Negombo Beach
iii. Kalutara District
The name of this resort city is a derivative of the ‘Kalu’ River and was once a crucial centre for spice trading. Due to the command of a South Indian Prince in the 11th Century, the city was made into a capital. The kalutara Bridge links the western part of the country with the southern border. At the left of the bridge is the Kalutara Vihara which is 3 stories high with a dagoba that is regarded to be the only hollow type in the world. The temple looks splendid at night, decorated with many lights that is reflected on the water of the Kalu River.
District Capital: Kalutara
Area: 1,606 square kilometers
Other cities: Aluthgama, Beruwala, Horana, Matugama, Panadura
Attractions: Kalutara Bodiya, Beruwala Beach
Area: 5,575 square kilometers
Located in the central hills of the country, the Central Province lies in an elevation ranging from 600 feet to roughly 6000 ft above sea level. This province comprises of 3 districts
i. Kandy District
The capital of the ancient kings, Kandy is surrounded by lush mountains and an artificial lake overlooked by a sacred temple. The temple of the tooth relic and the Royal Palace are surrounded with a white stone wall and is highly regarded by the Buddhists. The city is regarded as the cultural capital and is blessed with the gifts of Mother Nature. Every year in the month of August, a procession consisting of dressed-up elephants, traditional dancers and fire jugglers begins from the sacred temple.
District Capital: Kandy
Elevation: 1,526 feet
Attractions: The Temple of the Tooth Relic, The royal Palace, Royal Botanical Gardens
ii. Nuwara Eliya District
The name means ‘city of lights’ and was regarded as Little England by British colonialists. Most of the buildings still retain the looks of the colonial period. Famous for polo, golf and cricket clubs during the reign of the British, the city also offers its visitors with bird watching possibilities. Apart from that, the Horton Plains National Park is also accessible through Nuwara-Eliya. Visitors can observe many animals and birds of Sri Lanka going about in their natural habitat. If there’s one thing Nuwara-Eliya is famous for worldwide, it is tea.
District Capital: Nuwara-Eliya
Elevation: 6,128 feet
Attractions: Lake Gregory, Victoria Park, Galway’s Bird Sanctuary, Horton Plains National Park, tea factories, Hakgala Botanical Gardens, hatton
iii. Matale District
Home to the famous Knuckles mountain range, Matale district is made up of Matale, Dambulla, Galewela and Rattota. Although Matale is famous for gem pits, mica, ceramics, lime and granite its main form of income is paddy agriculture. The fields are supplied with water from the many mountain peaks in the district.
District Capital: Matale
Attractions: Sigiriya, Dambulla Cave Temple, Knuckles Mountain Range, Wasgamuwa National Park
Also consisting of 3 districts, the Southern Province is famous for its belt of scenic beaches and sites exuding the beauty of colonial architecture.
i. Galle District
The breathtaking Galle fort with the many buildings boasting colonial-style architecture within its territory is declared as a UNESCO world Heritage site. Visitors can admire its beauty and then go for a relaxing stroll in the beach. Unawatuna is also a famous beach that is a part of the Galle district. Apart from that, you can also go for a Whale watching tour that is organized by the Lankan Navy in Gallle.
District Capital: Galle
Attractions: Galle Fort, Unawatuna Beach
ii. Matara District
Mostly known for the scenic beaches and surfing opportunities, many cities in the Matara district are blessed with some of the best beaches in the country. Enclosing a part of the Sinharaja forest within its territory, the district has many gorgeous waterfalls too.
District Capital: Matara
Attractions: Kushtarajagala Weligama, Mirissa Beach, Weligama Beach
iii. Hambantota District
The country’s largest salt producer, Hambantota is also home to the world’s emptiest international airport, the Mattala Rajapaksa international Airport. The Tangalle beach is a a picturesque setting with clear blue water and soft sand.
District Capital: Hambantota
Attractions: Hambantota salt Factory, Tangalle beach, Tissamaharama temple
4. Uva Province
Having the Namunukula peak within its territory allows visitors of the Uva Province to admire the breathtaking views of the Hambantota beach, Welimada Basin and Katargama on a clear day. Apart from that, it also has many of the waterfalls like Rawana Falls, Duhindu Falls, etc within its territory. The province is made of 2 districts:
i. Badulla District
The cities that make up the Badulla district are famous for holidaying, especially Bandarawela. The climate resembles to that of Europe and the city is a main link for eco-tourism
District Capital: Badulla
Attractions: Rawana Falls, Lipton’s Seat, Dunhinda Falls, Bambarakanda Falls, Haldumulla Ayurveda Medicinal Plants Garden, and Dowa Rock Temple
ii. Moneragala District
The largest district of Sri Lanka, the name translates into ‘Peacock rock’ and is mostly known for its rubber and sugarcane. The hills of this district are a favorite among trekkers. The city of kataragama, is famous for the annual festival enjoyed by locals of all religions and also for pilgrimage.
District Capital: Moneragala
Attractions: Ruhunu Maha Kataragama Devalaya
The district is named after its aboriginal locals, the Sabara, who were hunters. The district is well-known for its contributions to the Sri Lankan gem and rubber industries
iii. Ratnapura District
The city of gems, even its name translates to it. The city is blessed with gems and houses many local and international gem traders.
District Capital: Badulla
Attractions: Adam’s Peak, Maha Saman Devale, Katugas Ella, Diva Guhawa
iv. Kegalle District
Relying mostly on agriculture and rubber production, the district is situated just 78 kilometres off east from Colombo.
District Capital: Moneragala
Attractions: Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
Visitors can experience the heaping of Lankan history by visiting this province. Once the seat of the kings, the area is packed with palaces, citadels, Buddhist temples and sculptures that dictate the rich history. Additionally, the golden, sun-drenched beaches are perfect for chilling out and some occasional whale watching.
Attractions: Ras Vehara, Ridi Vihara, Veraka Weladu Viharaya, Yapahuwa, Dambadeniya, Hattikuchchie, Kalpitiya
i. Kurunegala District
District Capital: Kurunegala
ii. Puttalam District
District Capital: Puttalam
The provincial capital Anuradhapura is one of the most sacred cities of Sri Lanka and is regarded as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Home to many monasteries, the city played a vital role in the history of the country, both religiously and culturally. Visiting the cities in this district will offer history buffs a good dose of rich Sri lankan history. Polonnaruwa is regarded as one of the cleanest cities with helpful and friendly locals.
Attractions: Ruwanvelisaya Dagoba, Statue of King Parakramabahu, The Palace of Parakramabahu, Issurumuniya Rock Temple, Lotus Pond, Medirigiriya and Parakrama Samudraya, Habarana
iii. Anuradhapura District
District Capital: Anuradhapura
iv. Polonnaruwa District
District Capital: Polonnaruwa
Closer to India than Colombo, the provincial capital Jaffna was subject to three decades of civil war, resulting in its depopulation.
Attractions: Mannar Adams Bridge, Nagadipa Purana Viharaya, Naguleswaram, Nallur Kandasamy Kovil, Jaffna Fort, Jaffna Library, Kantharodei Temple, Keerimalai Tank Pool
i. Jaffna District
District Capital: Jaffna
ii. Kilinochchi District
District Capital: Kilinochchi
iii. Mulaitivu District
District Capital: Mulaitivu
iv. Vavuniya District
District Capital: Vavuniya
v. Mannar District
District Capital: Mannar
Natural harbors, lagoons and spectacular beaches, the provincial capital played a vital role in the trading history of the country. Trincomalee is also famous for scuba diving, surfing, fishing and whale watching. The archeological department has acknowledged roughly 55 historical archaeological sites and Buddhist shrines within the Ampara and Batticalao territories.
Attractions: Magul Maha Viharaya, Kudumbigala, Kinniya Bridge, Dutch Fort Batticalao, Trincomalee Fort, Nilaweli Beach, Muhudu Maha Viharaya
i. Trincomalee District
District Capital: Trincomalee
ii. Batticalao District
District Capital: Batticaloa
iii. Ampara District
District Capital: Ampara
No matter how many states in Sri Lanka, the country will always surprise its visitors with something unique and unexpected.