Places of religious significance, intricately done handicrafts and laidback beaches, this is Sri Lanka!
1. The flag is one of the very few flags in the world that indicates religious harmony with the yellow representing the Buddhist sect, the orange for Hinduism and the green for Islam. It is also one of the oldest in the world, dating to 162 BC originally but having undergone changes and adaptations over time for the present day version.
2. The country was once to be Sinhala but the Britishers couldn’t pronounce the name and named it Ceylon. Today, it is the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.
3. It has the nicknames of “Pearl of the Indian Ocean” and the “Teardrop of India” bestowed upon it. Both could stem from its shape. Additionally, for the first is the fact that it has abundant natural beauty as well as gemstones. For the latter, is its geographical location just off the coast of India.
4. Love yourself some cinnamon rolls? Maybe cinnamon in chicken, coffee, pancakes, etc. The ingredient comes to greet you one too many times, something for which we have Sri Lanka to thank as it is responsible for 80% of it across the world.
5. “Haathi mere saathi” may work for Sri Lanka too! The country loves elephants, has an orphanage for them and even organizes an annual event complete with football games to a beauty pageant. The death penalty is liable on anyone killing elephants.
6. Once upon a time India and Sri Lanka looked at each other and said, “Meri Padosan!” and decided to meet up for a piping hot cup of tea. There is a chain of shoals from north-western Sri Lanka (Mannar) to India’s south-eastern coast. Some of the sandbanks are dry but geological evidence indicates that this could represent a former land connection between India and Sri Lanka. Hindus narrate that Lord Rama built the bridge for his troops to cross over for the rescue of Goddess Sita. Muslims have another legend which states that Adam crossed from the bridge to head to Adam’s Peak in Ceylon where he stood repentant for 1,000 years on pone single foot. The stories have led the bridge to be referred to as Adam’s Bridge or Rama’s Bridge.
7. The legends don’t end here. The mountain known as Adam’s Peak is also revered by many. While Christians and Muslims hold it dear for the aforementioned tale of Adam, the Hindus believe it is the footprint of Lord Shiva and the Buddhists believe it is the footprint of Lord Buddha. Quite the religious hub!
8. Speaking of chai, the country is actually heavily into tea production with a little over 1 million of its population employed in the industry. It has been exporting tea for 153 years. The brand of Dilmah tea is today world famous.
9. The country is blessed with incredible wildlife diversity. It is home to 272 species of birds and 123 species of mammals. Also, to 178 reptiles and 122 amphibians.
10. Have you ever seen the movie Serendipity? Or used the word in one of your captions or well, just while taking in a moment. Then you should know that we have Sri Lanka to thank for that. There is a Persian tale of the “3 Princes of Serendip” who would explore and make chance discoveries. The English writer Horace Walpole thus invented the word. And Sri Lanka was once named as Serendip for its beauty. That’s how you and I go on to refer to some moments and memories as a chance occurrence or serendipity.
11. Annually the festival of the tooth, i.e., Esala Perahera is celebrated. In the 4th century one of Lord Buddha’s teeth was brought to a temple in Kandy. It is still preserved there and the festival sees a grand celebration in its honour.
12. At 92%, the country has the highest literacy rate in South Asia.
13. In 1994 Sirimavo Ratwatte Dias Bandaranaike took office and became the first ever prime minister in the whole world! She went on to become Prime Minister thrice.
14. Combine the wealth of waterfalls and rivers with the high literacy and forward thinking and what do you get? You get a country that has over 50% of its electricity being generated as a result of hydropower!
15. The Bodhi tree is known because Lord Buddha attained enlightenment under it. This tree is the mother to the Sri Bodh Maya tree was planted in Anuradhapura in 288BC making it the oldest tree to have been planted worldwide. It is held in high regard and revered by the locals.
Trip Leader Niyati’s Recommendations:
Honestly, when I was heading to Sri Lanka, I didn’t quite expect it to be as beautiful as it turned out. Hats off to the tourism board and the citizens who have maintained the cleanliness of the country and beaches that still have turquoise blue waters! Easy on the pocket than a destination in far off continent, Sri Lanka with its natural beauty could be just the ideal destination that you need to visit.
1. Colonial style houses and hotels, cool climate and lush greenery, welcome to the Britisher’s favourite holiday retreat which will get you right in the holiday mode too, Nuwara Eliya! Parks, lakes, waterfalls, mountains and tea plantations, you’re going to have your hand full here! Not to forget that you have a chance to hike to the world’s end at Nuwara Eliya, the cliff which has a drop off 4,000 feet.
2. Now that the wildlife has been mentioned, why miss it?! Kaudulla National Park and Yala National Park both offer amazing open top jeep safari experiences.
3. The hike to Diyamulla Falls allows you to witness multiple tiny waterfalls as well as natural pools along the way.
4. It’s a full-fledged adventurous day! Climbing the Sigriya Rock is an alternative and another popular climb too.
5. The last capital of the ancient kings, Kandy, is a burst of colours and the cultural vibrance of Sri Lanka.
6. For those who love all things rustic and nostalgic, taking the train journey from Kandy to Ella can also be quite an experience for the picturesque landscapes it offers.
7. In Ella, visit the Ella Rock and the Nine Arch Bridge which was being planned around the First World War.
8. Mirissa and Unawatuna both have beautiful beaches. What’s even better is that the drive between them is so beautiful with palm trees and stunning beaches. Make sure to keep your eyes open because you’re going to want to stop at one of these beaches! Its tiny and doesn’t feature up on social media yet, but don’t worry you can ask your driver or some locals and easily find your way there. I would suggest leaving in time because in this blue wonder you’ll have to spend some time just laying back in its soft and quiet sands.
9. In Mirissa, the main beach itself and the coconut tree point for sunset are great. But walk up to the Secret Beach also. Honestly, it isn’t much of a secret anymore but thankfully it isn’t teeming with crowds. It’s a pretty little sight that you don’t want to miss. Also, while Mirissa has plenty of nice cafes they also have a weekly food festival which has just a few tiny food stalls but the food is great along with lovely live music. At some point in the night they even bring out folk dancers and their performance will leave you amazed! Also, sign up for one of the whale-watching tours because how many people in the world can say they have seen a whale? This is your chance to see the massive creature up close.
10. They say, save the best for the last and so ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Galle. Galle with its old fort, clock tower and old-world charm will transport you into a complete holiday zone. This is the sort of place where you want to take long leisurely walks, discovering an eatery here, a museum there and gazing at the remnants of the colonial touch.
11. And if you are looking to strike off scuba diving from your list or are someone who just cannot get enough of the adventure, then Bentota is your pick in Sri Lanka! Bentota too has nice laidback beaches for you to soak in the Sun and let loose your inner water baby!
We organize trips to Sri Lanka every few months, so, if you want to experience some of this for yourself tag along!
Notes from Sri Lanka that will make you crave a visit even more, by our very own Trip Leader Sakshi Pant. Click here.
How to Reach:
Sri Lanka is just a short 4 hours flight away from Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore!
For visa kindly refer to the following page on our website: