History of Sri Lanka: The earliest inhabitants of the island now known as Sri Lanka were probably the ancestors of the Veddas, an aboriginal people now numbering around 3,000 and living in remote mountain areas. One of the first written references to the island is found in the Indian epic Ramayana. The main written accounts of the country's history are the Buddhist chronicles of Mahavansa and Dipavansa.
Buddhism arrived from the Indian subcontinent in the 3rd century BC. The Bhikkhu Mahinda, said to have been a son or brother of Buddhist Indian Emperor Ashoka, was sent to Sri Lanka as a missionary; he is said to have converted the Sinhalese King Devanampiyatissa at Mihintale. The Sinhalese population at large subsequently became Buddhists.
In 1505 the Portuguese arrived on the island, and colonial rule began. Dutch arrived in the 17th century. During Portuguese and Dutch rule of coastal areas, the interior, hilly region of the island remained independent, with its capital in Kandy. Great Britain replaced the Dutch in 1796, and the coastal areas became a crown colony in 1802.
A struggle for independence started in the 1930s, when the Youth Leagues opposed the 'Ministers' Memorandum'. After the crucial role played by Ceylon in World War II, the pressure for independence intensified, and under the name of Ceylon, it became a Commonwealth realm in 1948.
When to Go
We have compiled a “what to pack” list specifically made for the needs of a traveler in the Sri Lanka. Staying in hotels in Sri Lanka minimizes the list as they provide most everything. There are also shops located in Hotels where you should find your basic needs.
Light cotton dresses of the drip-dry wash-and-wear variety and light weight suits are the most comfortable year-round attire. A wide-brimmed beach hat and sun glasses are recommended as well as comfortable shoes or sandals. Medium weight slacks and pullovers will be necessary in the hill country where the temperature can go down as low as 10’C. *Nudism is prohibited
Sri Lanka is a healthy country and with common sense there is no
reason why you should become unwell during your visit. It is
essential, however, that your take out adequate health insurance
for the duration of your stay and you seek proper medical advice
in advance. Most people ensure that they are immunized for
tetanus, diphtheria, polio, typhoid, and hepatitis A and B. You
may also wish to consider anti-malaria pills.
Sri Lanka is home to more than 20 million people. A strategic naval link between West Asia and South East Asia, Sri Lanka has been a centre of Buddhist religion and culture from ancient times, though a fifth of the population follow other faiths - notably Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and indigenous religions. Sinhalese people form a majority of the population (74%). The second largest community, concentrated in the north east of the island, are the Sri Lankan Tamils. Other communities include the Muslim Sri Lankan Moors and Malays as well as Burghers and indigenous Veddah peoples.
Festivals & Culture
of Sri Lanka
Approximately 68% of Sri Lankan peoples are adherents of Buddhism.
Duruthu Perahera (January): Celebrates a visit by Buddha to Sri Lanka.
National Day (February): Celebrated with parades, dances and national games
New Year (March/April): Celebrated with elephant races, coconut games and pillow fights.
Vesak (May): Commemorates the birth, death and enlightenment of Buddha.
Vel:(July/August): Must see : the ceremonial chariot of Skanda, the God of War hauled between two temples;
Kataragama (July/August): Devotees put themselves through the whole gamut of ritual masochism.
Kandy Esala Perahera (July/August):
Most important and spectacular pageant, with 10 days of
torch-bearers, whip-crackers, dancers, drummers and elephants.
Climaxes in great procession honouring the Sacred Tooth Relic of
Sri Lanka has several shopping malls, including Majestic City, Liberty Plaza, Crescat Boulevard, Odel Unlimited and JAIC Oberoi. Some 5-star hotels in Colombo also have shopping arcades.
- Passport valid for at least six months from date of entry
required by all.
Nationals of the following countries coming to Sri Lanka as
bona-fide tourists, do not require entry visas for a period of
thirty days: Albania, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium,
Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, Czechoslovakia, Denmark,
Finland, France, West Germany, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia,
Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Luxembourg,
Malaysia, Maldives, Netherlands, Norway, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan,
Philippines, Portugal, Poland, Romania, Qatar, Singapore, Saudi
Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, U.A.E., U.S.A.,
U.K., Yugoslavia, Turkey, 15 New States of The Former Soviet
Union, 5 New States of Former Yugoslavia.
Visit Visas are issued by Sri Lanka diplomatic missions abroad
free of charge for a period of 30 days on arrival at Colombo
Airport (for tourist visits only). Visitors overstaying their
visas are liable for action taken against them by the Government
of Sri Lanka..
For other destinations, email us your requirements to firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: We've tried to make the information on this page as accurate as possible, but it is provided 'as is' and we accept no responsibility for any loss, injury or inconvenience sustained by anyone resulting from this information. You should verify critical information (like visas, health and safety, customs and transportation) with the relevant authorities before you travel.
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