10 Interesting Facts About Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a rich and fascinating country that seems to have everything a traveller could possibly desire. There are verdant rainforests, misty hills amid fertile tea plantations and miles upon miles of dazzling beaches. You’ve got a perfect holiday destination squeezed into an island - a quarter of the size of the UK!
What’s more, the country is affordable and full of delicious cuisine as well as intriguing history. The people have dealt with war, disaster and all the challenges of a developing south-Asian country – and they have done it with grace and humility.
Despite the nation’s recent turmoil, the country and its people are moving quickly forward.
Take a look at our favourite interesting facts about Sri Lanka, the Land of Serendipity:
- Sri Lanka used to be called Ceylon which is a transliteration of Ceilao, the name of the country under the island’s first colonial rulers, Portugal. It changed its name to Sri Lanka when it became a republic in 1972.
- The oldest living tree known to be planted by man is in Sri Lanka. Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura has been tended continuously for over 2,000 years. It was grown from a cutting brought from Bodh Gaya in India, the tree under which Buddha is said to have found enlightenment.
- Sri Lanka may once have been physically connected to India. Hindu devotees believe the area between India and Sri Lanka – now known as Adam’s Bridge – was built millions of years ago by Lord Ram and an army of monkeys. Instead, scientists and archaeologists believe it to be a natural formation of sand and stone.
- Did you know that Sri Lanka is nicknamed as Pearl of the Indian Ocean and teardrop of India?
The name, Pearl of the Indian Ocean, is given to this small island nation probably due to its incredible natural beauty, extraordinary biodiversity as well as its precious gemstones. Besides, the island has a teardrop shape and is off the coast of India, which is easier to see from the map. That’s why it is also called teardrop of India. Below is a Google map snapshot of Sri Lanka to give you an idea of its location and shape.
- The colourful Sri Lankan flag is rather complicated:
- The lion represents Sinhalese ethnicity, the strength of the nation, and bravery
- The sword demonstrates the sovereignty of the nation
- The four bo leaves – symbolising Buddhism and its influence on the country – stands for the four virtues of kindness, friendliness, happiness, and equanimity
- Orange signifies Sri Lankan Tamils
- Green signifies Sri Lankan Moors
- Maroon signifies the Sinhalese majority
- And the yellow denotes other ethnic groups
- Sri Lanka is the world’s fourth largest tea producer (after China, India and Kenya) and third largest exporter. The country produces three main varieties: Ceylon black, Ceylon green, and Ceylon white tea.
- Sri Lanka was the ancient world’s leading producer and exporter of cinnamon, shipping the spice as far as Rome. Today, it remains the third largest producer behind Indonesia and China.
- For its size, Sri Lanka is home to incredibly diverse animal life: 125 species of mammal, 433 birds, 245 butterflies, 96 snakes, 97 lizards and 383 spiders (which includes 15 tarantula species!).
- Sri Lanka is said to be the only country in the world where you can see the world’s largest land mammal, the elephant, and the largest marine mammal, the blue whale, in a single day.
- A very popular destination for tourists is The Cultural Triangle. It is anchored by the three historic Sinhalese capitals of Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura, and Kandy. There are numerous historical sights in the area such as cave temples, Buddhist shrines, and impressive ruins of the capitals.
Explore the land of serendipity, Sri Lanka, a great country that owns countless beautiful sights which is also voted as the top destination of 2019!
Send us a mail at [email protected] or drop in a comment to find out more about the various affordable Sri Lanka trips offered by Team Go Discover Abroad.