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Sri Lanka is a beautiful island with a colourful mixture of religious cultures, races and geography – the tropical meeting place of old and new and remains a true paradise on earth.Ruins of over 2500 years of old civilization, temples and monuments, wild life, parks , colourful festivals , pageantry, mountains, rivers and water falls, captures the eye of both locals and foreigners, young and old alike. It is an island throbbing wit excitement of living. The sun and serendipity follows you wherever you wander in Sri Lanka.Recorded history in Sri Lanka began when Buddhism gave birth to a cultural revolution more than 2000 years ago. And in the wake of this Cultural Revolution came an era of unsurpassed achievement. It fashioned life styles, fostered the arts and inspired the creation of dagabos, temples, monasteries, statues, vast man made reservoirs and irrigation systems which even today defy engineering interpretation.

  Situation
 

Sri Lanka from time immemorial has gained high esteem as Lord Buddha visited our island on three occasions. After the arrival of Mahina, Srilanka become the cradle of Theravada Buddhism.
Sri Lanka was known to the world by various names derived from the word “Sinhaladipa” – the island of the Sinhalese. Different nations used different names such as Sihaladipa, Rathnadipa, Lankadipa, Dharmadipa, Peral of the Indian ocean, Tambapanni, Taprobane, Serandip Ceylon, Ceylon to describe the island.
Ceylon is and island in the centre of the Indian Ocean and is situated towards south east India, and little above the equator. It lies between 5°-10° of latitude north and 79°- 81° of longitude east and is separated from the Southern extremity of the peninsular of India, by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait. The width of the intervening sea at the narrowest point being about 20 miles.

It has a land area of 25332 Sq. miles 65610 Sq. Kilometers. From north to south it has a maximum length of 272 miles (435 k.m.) The widest point between Dondra and Point Pedro is the Colombo west coast, and Sangaman mountains is east and its widest point measures 140 miles (225 Kilometers) The centre of the island is rather on mountainous area. From the point of view of relief the island may be divided into 3 categories.

  1. The costal plain : The area without any mountains, situated close to the coast is known as the coastal plain.

  2. The Pene  plain : The land which is between 100ft. to 1000 ft.  above sea level (30 meters) is known as pene plain. Small mountains are situatcd in this region. They are Ritigala 1817 ft, Dimbulagala 1757 ft, Kununegala 1005 ft, Kataragama 1390 ft, Sigiriya 1193 ft, Mihintale 1014 ft, Kadurukanda 960 ft,  Yapahuwa 780 ft, Veddakanda 398 ft and Batalegala Kanda 258 ft in height.

  3. The Central hill : Central hills is over 1000 ft, above sea level , This is situated in the centre of the island. These are situated no as a single unit, but as a range of mountains. Main mountains are Pidurutalagala, Adam’s Peak, Knuckles, Namunukula, Lunugala, Dolosbage, Haputale and Ragala.

The highest mountain in the island is Pidurutalagala situated in the central hills. It is 8281 ft, in height ( 2524 k.m.) Kotapola 7741 ft, Adam’s peak 7360 ft, Knuckles 6112 ft, and Namunukula is 6071 ft.
All the main rivers in the island begin from the central hills. The largest of  them all is Mahaveli and is 335 k.m. It starts from Adam’s Peak ( Sri Pada ) and flows to the sea at Trincomalee  , in the east coast, Kelani Ganga is 145 k.m. in length, Walave Ganga is 135 k.m.., Kalu Ganga 129 k.m. There are 36 main  rivers in Sri Lanka and 103 river basins.
In the Central hill are many fascinating water falls. Special mention should be made of Kaduru Oya which is 620 ft. in height, Diyalauma 560 ft, Lakshapana 377 ft, Kirindi Ella 347 ft, Ramboda 329 ft, Aberdeen 295 ft, Devon 281 ft and Dunhinda 190 ft , in height.
The sea surrounding the island is not deep, the depth is 216 ft. Sri lanka offers endless miles of perfect, pure golden sands, fringed by swaying coconut palms.

  Rainfall
  Sri Lanka receives her rainfall mainly from the monsoons. South west monsoon brings rain from May to September. During this period the regions is the West, Southwest gets rain, Northwest monsoon visits from December to February. Regions in the north, east, southeast and Northeast  receives this rain. Other than this depression in the Bay of Bengal and cyclones bring conventional rain in spells. As a result, depression brings heavily laiden rain clouds, causing torrential rains and sudden floods to some regions quite often. The average rainfall is between m.m. 1250 – 5537.
  Climate
  Sri Lanka’s fascinating variety in climate and landscape, and rich cultural heritage has for many centuries attracted travelers from all over world. Although it is surrounded by the Indian Ocen, the centre of the island is a high mountainous area. The rainfall is sufficient. The temperature does not reach above 98.4°, which is bearable to the people. Generally the temperature in Colombo is between 80°-90° fahrenheight, Kandy 77°, Diyathalawa 68° Nuwara eliya 60°. The lowest temperature is recorded in Nuruwa Eliya. i.e. 60 ° F. Sometimes the temperature drops down to 32° and even frost can be formed.
  International Relations
 

From time immemorial people from different countries came to Ceylon as missionaries, tourists, traders ambassadors and invaders.
Ceylon possesses a documented accurate long, history dating back to many years. The historical information given in the sources of Ceylon history, such as Dipavamsa, Mahavamsa and Chulavamsa have been written by the learned, thousands of years ago. From the date of the demise of the Lord Buddha, our country’s history is very clear and lucid. Even before this important event, there are instances for one to believe that there were civilized people in Ceylon.
The Yakkhas and Nagas were the inhabitants of the island, at the time of the arrival of Loard Buddha. These tribes were civilized. It is recoreded that there was a dispute between these tribes over the valuable gem studded crown.
From the reign of King Vijaya upto the reign of Sri Wickrama Rajasingha about 200 Kings ruled Ceylon. The majority of these were provincial rulers, while King Dutugamnu, Vijayabahu I and Prakramabahu VI unified Ceylon.
It is stated that in historical books like Mahavamsa that Lord Buddha visited Ceylon three times. The Enlightened One visited Mahiyangana Nagadeepa and Kelaniya and also other places in Ceylon. Some of these places have monuments erected to mark the occasion. Even up to the present day the Buddhists pay homage to the 16 great shrines visited by the Buddha.
It is recorded that during the reign of King Devanampiyatissa, Thera Mahinda came as a missionary to Ceylon, Almost at the same time Thera Mahinda’s Sister Sangamitta too came over to Ceylon to establish the order of Buddhist nuns. These missionaries made Ceylon their permanent adobe. Pliny the historian had stated that during the reign of Kind Claudis of the Roman Empire, about 2000 years before this event, a Sinhala ambassador went to Rome and was received with great honour, and that there was cordial relationship between Rome and Ceylon. The Roman Emperor requested that an army be sent from Ceylon to fight against Alexander the Great. Travellers like Iban Batuna and Marcopolo too have mentioned about Ceylon.

Tamil invasions were frequent from the beginning and invaders have caused much damage to the country. From time to time Arab merchants came to Ceylon, and as a result Sinhalese society is comprised of Muslims, too.
In 1505  the Portuguese invaded and conquered the Maritime provinces. They ruled up to 1656. In 1656 the Dutch conqured the Maritime provinces from the Portuguese and in 1796 the British East India Company conquered the Maritime Provinces. In 1815 according to the Kandyan Convention the Kandyan provinces were handed over to the British and with that the whole island fell under the British rule.

After the arrival of the Great Apostle Mahinda, Buddhism spread in Ceylon. With the coming of the Tamils Hindusim, Portuguese Catholicism, Arab merchants Islam, Dutch Christianity, British Protestantism spread in Ceylon.
In 1948 with the gaining of Independence, Ceylon established international relationship with different countries. Ceylon become a member of different countries. Ceylon become a member of different international organizations, such as the British Commonwealth, United Nations Organization, Non –Alligned Movement, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. On May 22nd 1972, Ceylon become a Republic and an entirely independent state.

  General Information
 

The population of Sri Lanka is around 18,500,000 and consists of 75 % Sinhalese, Ceylon Tamils 12.6%, Indian Tamils 5.5%, Muslims 7.1% and others 0.8%.
According to the religions 69.3% are Buddhists, 15.5% Hindus, 7.5% Christians, and 7.5% Islam. Of the total populations 89.5 % are literate.

This beautiful island with its hills, valleys, rivers, lakes and cascading waterfalls, mountain slopes covered with mist, National Parks like Wilpattu, Yala and Kaumana, Botanical gardens such as Peradeniya, and Haggla, historicals ruins and places of worship like Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, Yapahuwa and Kandy, tree in full blooms, some laden with luscious fruits, Sri Lanka’s fascinating variety in climate, landscape with hot, cold temperate climatic zones, cultural heritage, like religious festivals, processions, low country and up country dancing, traditional healing like Khomba Kankariya and 18 Sanniya, gems at Ratnapura have won the admirations of the whole world.

Sri Lanka welcomes you to see the places of worship. There is so much to do and see, so many places to go, each one a completely different experience form the other. When you visit these places of historical interest, you could get away from the grind of everyday pressures and also see some of Sri Lanka’s most fascinating archeological sites. A drive out side the city limits can be fun. The exquisite scenery beings once the cities and towns are left behind, wild flowers that border the route, geometric fields of paddy with buffaloes lazing in the mud, miles of majestic forests are captivating.
 
 
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