Sri Lanka is a serene and picturesque island that lives up to its epithet; the pearl of Indian Ocean. Situated in South Asia, it a treasure cove of tropical flora and fauna, spread from the scenic sandy beaches to panoramic mountain ranges. Sri Jayawardenepura is the capital of Sri Lanka while Colombo serves as the heart of commercial activities. The country is home to a population over 20 million belonging to several races and religions living together in harmony while esteeming the rich Sri Lankan customs and traditions.

While pre-historic evidences reveal civilizations as far as 120,000 ago, the written history of Sri Lanka dates back about 3,000 years. The island had been a popular trading destination, supplying the buyers with the best spices, ivory, pearls, gems and many treasures while it served as a respected centre for Buddhism providing spiritual education. The remnants of the ancient kingdoms that prospered over the time are found across the country in the form of classic structures and manmade lakes that mesmerize even the present day architects and engineers. Several such regions including Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, and Kandy have been declared as UNESCO World Heritage sites. During the colonization times the country was known across the world by the name of “Ceylon” and soon after the independence in 1948, its previous name “Sri Lanka” was revoked.

The festivities and celebrations are quiet abundant in the Sri Lankan culture that is integrated with Buddhism over the ages. The annual Esala Maha Perahera is one event that exhibits this union. Other religions contribute in enlivening the days throughout the year. The exceptional arts of local music, drama, crafts, folklore as well as the piquant cuisine and traditional dresses display the essence and flavors of the nation to the whole world.

Sri Lanka is also blessed with natural beauty. The balmy climate and the gentle lands sustain plant and animal species that are endemic, rare as well as threatened.  Sinharaja forest reserve; Bundala, Kumana sanctuaries and Yala, Wilpattu national parks are crown jewels of the country. Among the many animals of special notice, the elephant is an iconic creature revered and loved by both the local and foreign communities.

With the influences globalization, the country has leaded itself to commercial, industrial, technological and scientific development along with standards of living. The democratic socialist republic of Sri Lanka works toward achieving success in the current global trends and advancements, striving to face the present day challenges with strength, intellect and cooperation while upholding national values.

By Erandi Silva