Journey to Sri Lanka, “the Pearl of the Indian Ocean”, during the holidays, and you can expect an unforgettable vacation. Aside from the palm-fringed golden sands, you can admire the natural wonders and enjoy the famed Sri Lankan hospitality. fun facts about sri lanka
Even better, there are a lot of travel companies out there that currently offer very reasonable flights to this jewel of an island. So, whether you’re visiting for the first time or returning for another tropical adventure, you might be interested to know these 5 fun facts about Sri Lanka. fun facts about sri lanka
IT’S A CULTURAL MELTING POINT
As the 122nd largest country in the world, it may be relatively small, but the teardrop island of Sri Lanka is rich in ethnic diversity. The country is home to a variety of religions from Buddhists, who constitute 70% of the population, to Hindus at 15%. Other ethnicities such as the Moors and Christians live harmoniously, all contributing their own traditions and values.
Immerse yourself in sacred sights by visiting some of the beautiful places of worship. The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in the sacred city of Kandy is among the most impressive. This Buddhist temple is said to house a tooth of the Buddha, which is considered one of the religion’s most important relics.
THE NATIONAL FLAG CELEBRATES DIVERSITY
The national flag of Sri Lanka has a long and interesting history. Based on a lion flag that arrived from India in 486 BC, the flag has undergone many adaptations as the island’s ruling powers changed. As a result, the current flag has many varied elements that ultimately symbolize and celebrate the country’s ethnic diversity.
While the lion and purple background represent the Sinhalese people, the four bo leaves symbolize the religion of Buddhism. Finally, the orange and green blocks represent the Hindu and Muslim communities, respectively.
SRI LANKAN ELEPHANTS ARE THE LARGEST OF THE ASIAN ELEPHANTS
Darker in colour than their Indian or Sumatran cousins, the native elephants are much loved by Sri Lankans. The national affinity with these magnificent creatures dates back more than 5,000 years to pre-Christian era. Used in both religious and traditional ceremonies, the elephant has long been revered.
Wildlife fanatics shouldn’t miss a trip to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage in the town of Kegalle. This extensive conservation project holds the largest herd of captive elephants in the world. Providing protection and care for those elephants lost in the wilderness, this sanctuary offers the perfect opportunity to admire the animals up close. Watching the elephants bathe is an experience you won’t forget.
THERE ARE LOTS OF HISTORIC SITES
Few places in Southeast Asia offer such a varied mix of historic attractions. In fact, Sri Lanka is home to 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites – that’s more than Thailand and Cambodia combined! Travel to the historic town of Galle and explore the ancient fortifications, first built in the early 17th century by the colonizing Portuguese.
The Sacred City of Anuradhapura is another major attraction that is guaranteed to leave a lasting impression. Once the island’s capital, this sprawling city thrived for 1,300 years until it was left abandoned after a major invasion. Fortunately, visitors can now explore the streets once again and take a journey back through time. Ancient ruins of monasteries and palaces are still visible amongst the jungle overgrowth.
SRI LANKA EXPORTS THE MOST TEA WORLDWIDE
Considering its compact size, Sri Lanka’s accolade as “largest exporter of tea” is even more astounding. Although it’s not the world’s largest producer, Sri Lanka does generate the highest revenue – even when compared to China and India. This is mainly due to the tea’s unrivalled quality, regarded by some as the finest in the world, which demands a higher price. Why not sample for yourself and see what all the fuss is about?
With so many low cost flights to Asia, Sri Lanka holidays have never been so popular. Take a trip to this spectacular island and you won’t be disappointed.
Image by , McKay Savage and used under Creative Commons license
Roger Falls is a lit grad, foodie, and travel addict from California. His top travel destinations are in Southeast Asia, his favorite food is Thai Chu Chi Talay, and his latest challenge is balancing fatherhood with travelling.