The island of Sri Lanka lies in the Indian Ocean, to the southwest of the Bay of Bengal. It is separated from the Indian subcontinent by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait.
It has also been a centre of the Buddhist religion and culture from ancient times and is one of the few remaining abodes of Buddhism in South Asia, including Ladakh, Bhutan and the Chittagong Hill Tracts, as well as being a bastion of Hinduism.
The Sinhalese community forms the majority of the population; Tamils, who are concentrated in the north and east of the island, form the largest ethnic minority. The country is famous for the production and export of tea, coffee, coconuts, rubber and cinnamon – which is native to the country. 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.
Location – South Asia.
Time – GMT + 5.5.
Area – 65,525 sq km (25,299 sq miles).
Population- 22.5 million (CIA estimate 2018).
Population Density –319 per sq km.
Capital – Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte [Population – 115,826]
Commercial Capital – Colombo [Population : 648,034]
Language– Sinhala, Tamil and English.
Religion – Buddhist majority (70%), with Hindu, Christian and Muslim minorities.
National Anthem – Sri Lanka Matha
National Day – 04 of February
National Flower – The Blue Water Lily
National Tree – Na Tree
National Game – Volleyball
National Bird – Junglefowl
National Animal – Grizzled Giant Squirrel
National Gem – The Blue Sapphire
Currency – Sri Lanka follows a decimal currency system in Rupees (Rs.) and cents (Cts.) with 100 cents equal to a rupee. Currency notes are available in the denominations of Rs.20, 50, 100, 500, 1000 & 5000. Coins are issued in values of Cts. 25 and 50 and Rs.1, 2, 5 and 10. The intervention currency continuously will be the US Dollar.
Electricity – 230 volts AC, 50Hz. Round three-pin plugs are usual, with bayonet lamp fittings.
International Dialling – +94
Visa – Residents from permitted countries are issued visas on arrival. Consult your local Sri Lanka embassy, consulate, tourist office or your travel agent.
Working Days – Five working days (Monday to Friday)
Business Hours – Government offices : 9.00 am. – 5.00 pm
Sri Lanka is a free, independent and sovereign nation with a population of 20,926,315 (July 2007 est.). Legislative power is exercised by a Parliament, elected by universal franchise on proportional representation basis. A President, who is also elected by the people, exercises executive power inclusive of defence. Sri Lanka enjoys a multi-party system, and the people vote to elect a new government every five years.
Politics of Sri Lanka takes place in a framework of a semi-presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Sri Lanka is both head of state and head of government. Executive power is exercised by the government.
President : Gotabaya Rajapaksa
Prime Minister : Mahinda Rajapaksa
Government : Unitary state, Semi-presidential system, Constitutional republic
Shaking hands is the normal form of greeting. It is customary to be offered tea when visiting and it is considered impolite to refuse. Punctuality is appreciated. A small token of appreciation, such as a souvenir from home or company, is always welcomed. Informal, Western dress is suitable, except when visiting Buddhist temples, where modest clothing should be worn (eg no bare legs and upper arms). Visitors should be decently clothed when visiting any place of worship, and shoes and hats must be removed. Jackets and ties are not required by men in the evenings except for formal functions when lightweight suits should be worn
Low Lands – tropical, average 27C
Central Hills – cooler, with temperatures dropping to 14C.
The south-west monsoon brings rain to the western, southern and central regions from May to July, while the north-eastern monsoon is from December t0 January.
Sri Lanka climate is ideal for holiday-makers throughout the year.