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SRI LANKA PICTURES

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  • Location & Physical Features 
  • Climate & Seasons 
  • Temperature Chart 
  • History 
  • Economy 
  • Demography 
  • Language & Religion 
  • Government
  • Location & Physical Features 
    Sri Lanka, an island in the Indian Ocean is located to the south of the Indian subcontinent. It lies between 5O 55' and 9O 55' north of the equator and between the eastern longitudes 79O 42' and 81O 52'. The total land area is 65,610 sq. km. and is astonishingly varied. A length of 445 km. and breadth of 225 km. encompasse beautiful tropical beaches, verdant vegetation, ancient monuments and a thousand delights to please all tastes. The relief features of the island consist of a mountainous mass somewhat south of the centre, with heights exceeding 2,500 metres, surrounded by broad plains. Palm fringed beaches surround the island and the sea temperature rarely falls below 27OC. 
     

    Climate & Seasons 
    In the lowlands the climate is typically tropical with an average temperature of 27OC in Colombo. In the higher elevations it can be quite cool with temperatures going down to 16OC at an altitude of nearly 2,000 metres. Bright, sunny warm days are the rule and are common even during the height of the monsoon - climatically Sri Lanka has no off season. The south west monsoon brings rain mainly from May to July to the western, southern and central regions of the island, while the north-east monsoon rains occur in the northern and eastern regions in December and January. 
     

    Temperature Chart 

    Jan-April May-August Sept-Dec
    Max. Min. Max.  Min. Max. Min.
    Colombo 30OC 22OC 30OC 24OC 29OC 22OC
    Kandy 31OC 17OC 29OC 21OC 28OC 18OC
    Nuwara Eliya 21OC 14OC 18OC 16OC 18OC 15OC
    Trincomalee 32OC 24OC 33OC 25OC 33OC 23OC
    History (a summary) 
    Recent excavations show that even during the Neolithic Age, there were food gatherers and rice cultivators in Sri Lanka. Very little is known of this period; documented history began with the arrival of the Aryans from North India. The Aryans introduced the use of iron and an advanced form of agriculture and irrigation. They also introduced the art of government. Of the Aryan settlements, Anuradhapura grew into a powerful kingdom under the rule of king Pandukabhaya. According to traditional history he is accepted as the founder of Anuradhapura. 

    During the reign of King Devanampiya Tissa, a descendent of Pandukabhaya, Buddhism was introduced in 247 B.C. by Arahat Mahinda, the son of Emperor Asoka of India. This is the most important event in Sri Lankan history as it set the country on the road to cultural greatness. As a new civilisation flourished Sri Lanka became rich and prosperous. 

    In the mid 2nd century B.C. a large part of north Sri Lanka  Sigiriya came under the rule of an invader from South India. From the beginning of the Christian era and up to the end of the 4th century A.D. Sri Lanka was governed by an unbroken dynasty called Lambakarna, which paid great attention to the development of irrigation. A great king of this dynasty, Mahasen (3rd century A.D.) started the construction of large `tanks' or irrigation reservoirs. Another great `tank' builder was Dhatusena, who was put to death by his son Kasyapa who made Sigiriya a royal city with his fortress capital on the summit of the rock. 

    As a result of invasions from South India the kingdom of Anuradhapura fell by the end of the 10th century A.D. Vijayabahu 1 repulsed the invaders and established his capital at Polonnaurwa in the 11th century A.D. Other great kings of Polonnaruwa were Parakrama Bahu the Great and Nissanka Malla both of whom adorned the city with numerous buildings of architectural beauty. 

    Invasion was intermittent and the capital was moved constantly until the Portuguese arrived in 1505, when the chief city was established at Kotte, in the western lowlands. The Portuguese came to trade in spices but stayed to rule until 1656 in the coastal regions, as did the Dutch thereafter. Dutch rule lasted from 1656 to 1796, in which year they were displaced by the British. During this period the highland Kingdom, with its capital in Kandy, (Click here to access "The majesty and splendour of Kandy") retained its independence despite repeated assaults by foreign powers who ruled the rest of the country. In 1815 the kingdom of Kandy was ceded to the British and thus they established their rule over the whole island. Modern communications, western medical services, education in English, as well as the plantation industry (first coffee then tea, rubber and coconut) developed during British rule. By a process of peaceful, constitutional evolution, Sri Lanka won back her independence in 1948 and is now a sovereign republic, with membership in the Commonwealth of Nations and the United Nations Organisation. 
     

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          Economy 
          Sri Lanka is mainly an agricultural country. The chief crop is rice with which the country is almost self sufficient. Tea, rubber and coconut are also important agricultural crops, with tea being a major foreign exchange earner. In addition, other crops of importance are cocoa and spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, pepper and cloves. Fruit and vegetables, native to both tropical and temperate regions, grow well in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is also a major exporter of precious and semi-precious stones. Within the last few years remittances from Sri Lankans employed abroad have contributed a large share towards foreign exchange. 

          The last three decades have seen tourism emerge as an important industry. There has also been a rapid growth in manufacturing industries which offer a wide range of export goods such as petroleum products, leather goods, ready made garments and electronic equipment. 
           

          Demography 
          Sri Lanka has a population of 18.5 million of whom the majority are Sinhalese (74%). Other ethnic groups are made up of Sri Lankan Tamils (12.6%), Indian Tamils (5.5%), Moors, Malays, Burghers (of Portuguese & Dutch descent) and others (7.9%). 

          Although Sri Lanka is a multi-religious country, Buddhists constitute the majority with 69.3%. Other religious groups are Hindus 15.5%, Muslims 7.6% and Christians 7.5%. Sri Lanka's literacy rate of 88.6% is one of the highest in Asia. 
           

          Language & Religion  
          Sinhala and Tamil are official languages in Sri Lanka. Sinhala, a language of Indo-Aryan origin is the language of the majority. English is widely spoken and understood. Place names and sign-boards on buses and trains are usually in all three languages. Sri Lanka is a land of religious freedom and tolerance. Wherever you travel you will come across a Buddhist Temple or Dagaba, a Hindu Kovil, a Christian Church or a Mosque, each with its own distinctive architecture. When visiting holy places please conform to the requirements as regards dress in order not to show disrespect. 
           

          Government 
          The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a free, independent and sovereign nation. A system of administration through provincial councils was introduced in 1988. Legislative power is exercised by Parliament, elected by universal franchise on a proportional representation basis. Executive power of the people, including defence, is exercised by the President, who is also elected by the people. 

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Click here for a clickable tour map of Sri Lanka   CLICK HERE FOR A TOUR MAP OF SRI LANKA
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SRI LANKA PICTURES

Click here for a visual bonanza of pictures and images of Sri Lanka

Places of Interest in Sri Lanka

Colombo
Population: 600,000  District: Colombo  Typical Weather: Warm & Sunny  Dist. from Colombo: 
 
Sri Lanka's capital upto recent times, Colombo, is a fascinating city, not only for a comfortable blend of east and west, but also for a cosy mixture of the past and present. It is still the commercial centre of the country. Situated 34 km. from the International Airport, Colombo has been a flourishing seaport for centuries. Today the bustle of the harbour mingles with the activity of its busy commercial, banking and shopping areas. The original trading settlers - the Portuguese, Dutch and the British have all left in their wake churches and monuments, names and religions, costumes and food and smatterings of their languages which have been absorbed into the speech of the Sri Lankans. Colombo, with its population of over half a million is divided into fifteen zones. 

While in Colombo attractions worth seeing are:- Buddhists temples, Hindu temples, Mosques, Christian churches, Parliament building, Parks, Zoo, Museums and Art Galleries. A half day tour covering 40 km. and including visits to a Buddhist Temple, Hindu Temple, the Zoo and the residential areas will cost around US $ 18 for a car with a chauffeur guide. 

 Anuradhapura
Click here to access The Grandeur of Anuradhapura
Population: 99,000  District: Anuradhapura  Typical Weather: Warm & Sunny  Dist. from Colombo: 206 km 
 
Sri Lanka's first capital, founded in the 5th century B.C. is situated 206 km. from Colombo. Attractions worth seeing are:- The Sacred Bo Tree, Abhayagiri Dagaba, Jetavanaramaya, Brazen Palace, Thuparama Dagaba, Samadhi Buddha, Kuttam Pokuna and Mirisavati Dagaba. 
 

  Mihintale
Population: 22,000  District: Anuradhapura  Typical Weather: Warm & Sunny  Dist. from Colombo: 217 km 
 
Situated 11 km. east of Anuradhapura is Mihintale, regarded as the cradle of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. The rock is dotted with shrines and rock dwellings. A grand stairway of 1840 steps made of granite slabs, 5 metres wide, leads to the summit with its splendid view of the surrounding countryside. 
 

 Polonnaurwa
Population: 106,000  District: Polonnaruwa  Typical Weather: Warm & Sunny  Dist. from Colombo: 216 km 
 
The island's medieval capital (11th to 13th century A.D.) is situated 216 km. from Colombo and rose to fame after the decline of Anuradhapura. The largest of the man made reservoirs, the huge Parakrama Samudra, is larger in size than the Colombo harbour. See also the ruins of the King's Council Chamber, the Royal Citadel, the Kumara Pokuna, Royal Pavilion, the Vatadage Relic House lavished with moonstones, guardstones and sculptured railing, Kiri Vehera - the best preserved of all Sri Lanka's un-restored dagabas; Gal Vihare - the most impresive sculptures are the colossal Buddha images carved on the face of a granite boulder. The recumbent Buddha measures 14 metres and the standing figure is 7 metres in height. 

 

 Sigiriya
Click here to access the The Wonder and Beauty of Sigiriya
Population:  District: Matale  Typical Weather: Warm & Sunny  Dist. from Colombo: 169 km 
 
This rock fortress was built by king Kasyapa in the 5th century A.D. and was a royal citadel for more than 18 years. In a sheltered pocket, approached by a spiral stairway, are the famous frescoes. The summit of the rock, with an area of nearly one hectare was the site of the palace, the outer wall of which was built on the very brink of the precipice. The UNESCO - sponsored Central Cultural Fund has restored Sigiriya's 5th century Water Gardens to their former glory. 
 

  Dambulla
Population: 56,000  District: Matale  Typical Weather: Warm & Sunny  Dist. from Colombo: 148 km 
 
Like Sigiriya, Dambulla is a vast isolated rock mass and it was here that King Valagam Bahu took refuge in the 1st century B.C. He later turned the caves into a rock temple. Some of the frescoes are over 2,000 years old and there is a colossal figure of the recumbent Buddha carved out of the living rock, some 14 metre long. 
 

  Yapahuwa
Population:  District:  Typical Weather: Warm & Sunny  Dist. from Colombo: 145 km 
 
An ancient fortress and capital built in the year 1301, approximately 145 km. from Colombo, Yapahuwa is a rock rising to a height of 90 metres. Many traces of the ancient battle defences can still be seen, while an ornamental stairway remains its biggest showpiece. 
  Aluvihara
Population:  District: Matale  Typical Weather: Cool  Dist. from Colombo: 142 km 
 
26 km. from Kandy is the Matale district. An ancient rock temple of great significance in the history of Buddhism. The Buddhist canon and its commentaries, which were till then handed down orally, were written for the first time at Aluvihara Temple. 


Click below for links to other sites developed by Ari Withanage

Virgin Net Tripod Com Fortune City-1 Angelfire-1
Geocities Tripod UK-1 Fortune City-2 Angelfire-2
Netscape Tripod UK-2 Line One Net under constr..
     

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Click here for a Welcome To Sunny Sri Lanka Click here to explore the Land of Beautiful Sri Lanka Click here for info on the People of Sri Lanka Click here for a safari of the Places to Visit in Sri Lanka Click here for a visual bonanza of Images and Pictures of Sri Lanka
Click here for The Story of Ceylon Tea as never been told before. Click here for a brief study on Buddhism, the main religion of Sri Lanka Click here for a survey of the relationship between Buddhism and Sri Lanka Click here for the best and the most essential Links to Sri Lanka Click here to return to my HOME page