Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon is an island country lying in the Indian Ocean and separated from peninsular India by the Palk Strait
Proximity to the Indian subcontinent has facilitated close cultural interaction between S.Lanka and India from ancient times. At a crossroads of maritime routes traversing the Indian Ocean, it has also been exposed to cultural influences from other Asian civilisations. Ancient Greek geographers called it Taprobane. Arabs referred to it as Serendib. Later European mapmakers called it Ceylon, a name still used occasionally for trade purposes.
Town hall in Colombo.
Colombo, which emerged as the main urban centre during British rule, remains the executive and judicial capital; Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte, a Colombo suburb, is the legislative capital. For administrative purposes, the country has been divided into nine provinces and subdivided into 25 districts.
The distinctive civilisation, with roots that can be traced back to the 6th century BCE, is characterised by two factors: the preservation of Theravada Buddhism (the orthodox school of Buddhism having its literary traditions in the Pali language) and the development over two millennia of a sophisticated system of irrigation in the drier parts of the country. This civilisation was further enriched by the influences of Hinduism and Islam.
Dalada Maligava (“Temple of the Tooth”), where a tooth of the Buddha is believed to be preserved, Kandy.
In 1948, after nearly 150 years of British rule, it became an independent country, and was admitted to the United Nations seven years later. It officially became got its name in 1972.The country is a member of the Commonwealth and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.
Tea plantation in Nuwara Eliya
The majority of its people are poor, live in rural areas, and depend on agriculture for their livelihood. A physical environment of wide-ranging diversity makes it one of the world’s most scenic countries. As the home of several ethnic groups, each with its own cultural heritage, the country also has a highly varied cultural landscape.