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Sri Lanka Travel Guide
Sri Lanka Travel Guide

Sri Lanka is a tourist's paradise. Marco Polo described it as "the finest island of its size in the world". Wonderful pristine beaches, lush-green hills, majestic waterfalls, corals, wild life, heritage sites, pilgrimage sites, exotic cuisine-Sri Lanka has everything that a tourist can imagine. It has something to offer to everyone.

Though Colombo is widely known as the capital of Sri Lanka but strictly speaking Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte-a miniature town in Colombo-is the legislative capital of Sri Lanka. Colombo is the commercial capital of Sri Lanka.

Ever since the very early days of travel, Sri Lanka has been known as one of the worlds most beautiful and diverse exotic holiday destinations.

Sri Lanka is a green, fertile tropical island with palm-fringed beaches, misty mountains and significant archaeology.

Explore rain forests, marvel at ancient cities, discover the many national parks or get dazzled by the famous gems.

Surfing in Sri Lanka

Beaches are not just for sunbathing on, as any surfer will tell you.

Especially in Sri Lanka, one of the most reliable surf destinations in the Indian Ocean. Since the early 60ís Sri Lanka attracts surfers from all over the world.

Diving in Sri Lanka

Surrounded by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka offers exceptional diving opportunities along its southern and western shores

Yoga / Meditation in Sri Lanka

Yoga is a family of ancient Hindu spiritual practices that originated in India, introduced to Sri Lanka centuries ago. Yoga in Sri Lanka remains a vibrant living tradition and is seen as a means to enlightenment.

Ayurveda / Wellness in Sri Lanka

Ayurveda is a health system that has been practiced in Sri Lanka since the beginning of time. Relying solely on natural medicine, Ayurveda is not only used for medical purposes but as well for Wellness & Relaxation.

Beaches

Sri Lanka is an island with mysterious beauty in every corner, rich in History and filled with exotic charm... is an unforgettable escape.

This is place, where you can leave your footprints in white velvet sands, rock gently in sparkling turquoise waves, walk through the grand ruins of ancient kingdoms, feed orphaned baby elephants, sip the world's finest tea and explore precious gem mines.

Sri Lanka is surrounded by golden beaches.If soft sound of the waves overlapping in to the beach, contrasting deep blue waters of the ocean laying bare on the white sandy beaches and the hum of seagulls synchronized with music of waves lures you to travel to a beautiful tropical beach to spend a sunny holiday then plan a Sri Lankan holiday. Whether to set your spirit of adventure free or just to relax and enjoy the tranquil settings, Sri Lanka is the ideal holiday destination , the land of many stunning beaches.

Sri Lanka is endowed with many beautiful beaches, many of which enjoy an idyllic setting with swaying palm trees bending over the white sand lapped up by blue waves and coral reefs. So kick of your shoes and dip your toes into the divine beaches of Sri Lanka . As one travel along the western, eastern or southern coastline, around every bend one will come upon yet another tempting tropical panorama, which testifies Sri Lanka, aa a tropical island and the best place to holiday.

If you enjoy water sports, discover what an aquatic playground the beaches of Sri Lanka can provide. Snorkeling, windsurfing, angling and sailing are just a few activities if one wants to indulge in water sports. Windsurfing is a popular water sport activity, and tests one's competitive skills. Windsurfing races are held mainly on the southeastern coast. Swimming, diving and sunbathing are favorite activities of foreign visitors. Exploring coral reefs, the beautiful under water flora & fauna is a must when you travel to Sri Lanka. Various types of crustaceans and hydra add to the exquisiteness of a coral reef, which is home to many authentic species .

Sri Lanka, is studded with sunny beaches. While basking yourself in the beautiful sunset and sipping a drink made of tropical fruits or a cool beer , also soak your self in the serene sunny environment. These beaches are a paradise for honeymooners, providing the perfect romantic setting.

Nort coast

Jaffna

Situated in the north 398 km away from Colombo, Jaffna has an austere kind of beauty that is vastly different from the rest of the island. A vacation on its virgin beaches, coralline coast, off shore islets, and in the peninsula that is expressing a very distinctive way of life can be an enigmatic experience for a traveler. Not to be missed are the sand dunes of Manalkadu - a miniscule desert whose sheer wildness - that impresses most visitors. Casuarina Beach is situated at Karainagar and there are good beaches as well at Santhakulam and Thondaimannar.

West Coast

The West Coast broadly stretches from Mt. Lavinia, a southern suburb of Colombo to Mannar Island in the lower northwest. Mt. Lavinia and Negombo are considered the best developed beach resorts in this region. Isolated hotels have sprung up in most places along the western coastal stretch.

East coast

From April to October, the East Coast comes to life. It is one of the best stretches of beach in Sri Lanka. The Eastern beaches stretch for over 300 kilometers along which tourist resorts are developed.

South Coast

The southern coast is the most popular among tourists and comes to life mainly from October through April when the monsoon moves northeast and the sea becomes calmer with blue sky. It is an ideal place to go on a vacation. The main beach resorts are at Beruwela, Bentota and Hikkaduwa and Unawatuna.

People

People of Sri Lanka can be categorised on two bases: ethnic groups and religion. On ethnic base biggest group are the Sinhalese and then the Tamils. On basis of religion followers of Buddhism form the largest community in Sri Lanka. As for education most rural people recieve traditional education. European government introduced western education in Sri Lanka.

Ehtnic Groups

People of Sri Lanka are divided into four ethnic groups. These are the Sinhalese, the Tamils, the Muslims, and the Burghers. According to a data collected in 2001 the population percentage in Sri Lanka is: Sinhalese 73.8%, Sri Lankan Moors 7.2%, Indian Tamil 4.6%, Sri Lankan Tamil 3.9%, other 0.5%, unspecified 10%. Two chief characteristics that mark a person's ethnic heritage are language and religion. Sinhals are the largest ethnic group in Sri Lanka.

Religion

Most inhabitants of Sri Lanka are the followers of Buddhism, most of them from Sinhala community. Then come the people who have embraced Islam as their religion. Most Tamil people in Sri Lanka follow Hinduism. Then comes the Christian community. According to 2001 census the percentage of the followers of various religions in Sri Lanka is as follows:

Buddhist 70%, Islam 8%, Hindu 7%, Christian 6%

Media

Sri Lanka has kept pace with modern times and has all the wings of media like television, radio and newspapers. The country has both state-owned and private TV channels. Several radio channel operate on FM bands.

Archaeological Wonders

Archaeological past of Sri Lanka manifests itself in the colossal stupas and stone structures. The country has seen several phases of history and with every phase it witnessed some new monuments.

Museums

Museums give us insight into the past of Sri Lanka. They tell us how the country has evolved since ancient times. Particular for the people interested in history these museums are source of joy. Tour these museums.

National Museum

National Museum is the oldest and largest Museum in the country, established in 1877. Famous for its collection of antiques and objects displaying the cultural heritage of Sri Lanka., it is first public museum of Sri Lanka. National treasures and art facts from all parts of the island have been collected in the national museum. A Puppetry and Children's Museum are within the museum. It also hosts 4,000 plus ancient palm leaf manuscripts and 500,000 valuable books. Closed on Fridays.

The Dutch Period Museum

Five erstwhile elite houses have been transformed as the 'Dutch House'. The building was refurbished between 1977 and 1981. Distinct architectural features of a colonial Dutch town house can be seen in the structure. The museum enables one to look at Dutch legacy viz furniture, ceramics, coins, arms etc. portrays facets of contemporary life and culture. The museum was opened to general public in 1982.

Archaeological Museums

Archaeological museums have been established by the Archaeological Department in Anuradhapura (ancient city), Isurumuniya, Kataragama, Mihintale, Veheragala, Vavuniya, Deegavapiya, Jaffna, Sigiriya, Kandy, Dedigama, Yapahuwa, Panduwasnuwara, Kotte and Matara.

Temples

Temple of Tooth

The Temple of Tooth is the destination of highest pedestal among the adherents of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. It is the most sacred temple in the whole of Sri Lanka visited by hundreds of people everyday. The temple took nearly 100 years to build. The construction commenced in 1687 and finished in 1782. It is the grandest temple in Sri Lanka with an imposing pink-painted structure, encircled by a deep moat.

Kelaniya Temple

The ancient Buddhist temple at Kelaniya believed to have been visited by Buddha about 20km south of the town is a major attraction. A religious cultural pageantry is held in January at the temple. Completely re-built recently, fine wall paintings done in mid 1900s are an attraction

Hindu Temples

There are several Hindu temples, which are called Kovils in Colombo. In the Sea Street in Colombo are several Hindu temples, the Ganeshan, the Old Kathiresan and the New Kathiresan with their colourful Gopurams (doorways). Other important temples are the Shiva Subramania Swami temple on Slave Island and the Sri Muthumariamman temple.

Wolvendaal Church

It is Colombo's oldest Dutch church. Its floor tiles are made from tombstones from the Dutch church in the Fort, and were brought here in 1813.

Ancient Cities

Sri Lankan civilization is more than twenty centuries old. Its history is recorded in Mahavamsa, the Great Chronicle written in the 5th century AD.

Remains of this ancient civilization reflecting the character, imagination, culture, philosophy, and the faith of its people are seen in the form of ruined cities, buildings, palaces, reservoirs, parks, dagobas, Buddha images, temples, sculpture and painting throughout the little Island. However it is at the major archaeological sites of Anuradhapura, Mihintale, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, Dambulla and Kandy that the glory of the Islandís past can be seen in its true form still living among the several ruins. These ancient cities can be reached easily from Colombo in a comfortable morning's drive through green paddy fields, acres of coconut palms and alongside deep jungle where wild animals roam.

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