Sri Lanka is an island country off the south east coast of India in Indian Ocean. It was called Ceylon until 1972. It has many beautiful beaches such as at Trincomalee in the north east. It has a warm tropical climate. Six main groups of people live in Sri Lanka. The largest group, the Sinhalese, make up about 74% of the population. Their ancestors came to Sri Lanka from northern India in about 500 BC.
Most Sinhalese are Buddhists. Tamils make up 19% of the population. Their ancestors came from southern India. Most Tamils are Hindus. The decedents of the Portuguese and Dutch are called Burghers.
It has two main landscape features. The coastal lowlands encircle the island blending inland with plains in the north, south, and east; a section of highlands covers much of the south western and central provinces.
Of the nation’s 16 major waterways, the Mahaweli River is the longest. The well watered regions of the central highlands and the south western coast are lush with vegetation and ever green rain forests are common. The nation is one of the world’s top gem producers.
Colombo is the capital, is also the chief seaport and focus of business. It is a mixture of old and new buildings.
Tourists and followers of the Buddhist faith visit the city of Kandy in the hilly region of south-central Sri Lanka. It preserves the renowned Buddhist Temple of the Tooth at Dalada Maligawa, where a sacred tooth said to be that of the Buddha is preserved.
Religious procession takes place here every August, A temple elephant, covered by beautiful cloth and lit by electric bulbs, carries the golden casket, which contains the sacred tooth of Buddha.
The scenic central highlands reach a height of 2524m. About four fifth of Sri Lanka is less than 300 m above sea level. Elephants are a common sight throughout the country and are used in logging industry.
Tourists visit the tea capital of the land Nuwara Eliya, the various national parks like Yale National park, Uda Walawe National Park, etc.
The well laid out 5th century world heritage fort of Sigiriya is cynosure of all eyes because of the display of fine paintings as well. Then there are the caves of Dambulla fort city of Galle and other ancient sights. No wonder tourism is an important industry here.