Sri Lanka - Resplendent Land
There is much for you to discover in Sri Lanka. The country offers a huge range of new experiences in sights, sounds, tastes, and outlook. But different as it is from your home, a visit to Sri Lanka is an easy journey of discovery.
The island of Sri Lanka lies off the southern tip of India in the Indian Ocean. Apart from hundreds of miles of the world's most beautiful palm-fringed beaches, Sri Lanka boasts of seven World Heritage Sites listed by Unesco, ranging from sacred cities, palaces and cliff-top citadels to colonial strongholds, spanning close to 3,000 years of history. Sri Lanka is situated just three degrees north of the Equator and blessed with constant warm weather, hot, humid and tropical. Sunny skies are the order of the day; even in the brief monsoon season there is always a daily spell of sunshine.
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (known as Ceylon before 1972) is an island nation in South Asia, located about 31 kilometres (19.3 mi) off the southern coast of India. It is home to around twenty million people.
Because of its location in the path of major sea routes, Sri Lanka is a strategic naval link between West Asia and South East Asia, and has been a centre of Buddhist religion and culture from ancient times. Today, the country is a multi-religious and multi-ethnic nation, with more than a quarter of the population following faiths other than Buddhism, notably Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. The Sinhalese community forms the majority of the population, with Tamils, who are concentrated in the north and east of the island, forming the largest ethnic minority. Other communities include the Muslim Moors and Malays and the Burghers.
Famous for the production and export of tea, coffee, coconuts and rubber, Sri Lanka boasts a progressive and modern industrial economy and the highest per capita income in South Asia. The natural beauty of Sri Lanka's tropical forests, beaches and landscape, as well as its rich cultural heritage, make it a world famous tourist destination.
After over two thousand years of rule by local kingdoms, parts of Sri Lanka were colonized by Portugal and the Netherlands beginning in the 16th century, before the control of the entire country was ceded to the British Empire in 1815. During World War II, Sri Lanka served as an important base for Allied forces in the fight against the Japanese Empire.A nationalist political movement arose in the country in the early 20th century with the aim of obtaining political independence, which was eventually granted by the British after peaceful negotiations in 1948.
Modern Sri Lanka has experienced indigenous terrorism, particularly in the north of the island and the metropolis of Colombo city, but the beautiful beaches and towns of the south and southeast coast have been largely unaffected. Anyone travelling to Sri Lanka is advised to acquaint themselves with the current political and security situation before embarking on their visit. To compound matters, the island's tourism infrastructure is still recovering from the effects of the catastrophic tsunami, which devastated coastal areas in December 2004.