||Buddhist 70%, Hindu, Muslim, Christian 6%,
||Sinhala, Tamil, Other
||Sinhalese, Tamil, Moor, Burgher
|Total Land Area:
||25,322 Sq. Miles
||Colombo 24C/75F to 30C/86F
||Buddhism is the state religion, and as such, is protected and promoted.
Although freedom for other religions is assured, there has been a steady
erosion of that freedom with discrimination against minority religions
in taxation, employment and education.
Christianity is perceived as foreign, and a colonial imposition.
||The religious persecution is tied up in political strife and discord
within Sri Lanka.
In 1983 a bitter civil war broke out and all attempts at peaceful
resolution failed. Political life in Sri Lanka has been increasingly
violent and democratic processes are eroding.
Not only are Sri Lankan’s divided along the lines of political and
ethnicity, but religion plays a factor in the conflict.
Latest U. S. Department of State (DOS) and United States Commission on
International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) Report 2005:
Sri Lanka was not included on the State Department’s “Countries of
Particular concern” list.
In July of this year, USCIRF expressed concern over proposed pending
legislation in Sri Lanka and the climate of inter-religious conflict and
tolerance emerging in this predominantly Buddhist nation.
USCIRF also expressed concern about the ongoing violence against
religious minorities for the past two years. During this time, there
have been an increasing number of attacks targeting Churches, ministries
and other religious minorities.
WORLD HERITAGE SITES
(128 Miles from Colombo) Sri Lanka's first capital founded
around the 4th century BC. Sinhalese Kings ruled for over a
1000 years. Considered as one of the finest civilizations in
Asia, Buddhism flourished
in this magnificent city in the north central plains of the
island. The great kinds built huge religious monuments and
monasteries, amazing Palaces, parks, beautiful reservoirs
and intricate irrigation systems.
Kandy (80 Miles from Colombo) In the Sinhala
language, Kandy is referred as "mahanuwara" meaning the
"great city". In fact, the name Kandy was derived from the
word "kanda", which means mountain. The main part of the
city overlooks a scenic artificial lake built by the last
king of Kandy
1806. Near the lake is the Temple of the Tooth, said to
house one of Buddha's teeth. The relic, has made Kandy a
pilgrimage and tourist attraction especially at the annual
Esala Perahera pageant. The event marks one of the most
spectacular pageants in Sri Lanka, the Kandy Perahera.
Mihintale (over 7 Miles
east of Anuradhapura)
This rock is riddled with shrines and
A grand stairway of 1,840 steps made of granite leads to the
Nuwara Eliya (115 Miles
from Colombo) With its salubrious climate this became the
favourite hill station of the British during their rule.
Hortan plains is a special attraction. This remote plateau
is the island's last remaining mountain forest - the house
of some fauna and flora species found nowhere else in the
Polonnaruwa (135 Miles
from Colombo) The Islands medieval capital early in the 11th
century AD. The Palaces, Huge granite
sculptures and the massive tanks built by the Great Kings
convey the extent of development that existed in this middle
history period. The city and the surrounding plain was
watered by an unique irrigational complex (known as
WILD LIFE SANCTUARIES
Yata / Uda walawe / Wasgamuwa /
These are some of the national wild life parks visited by
many. From the safety of a park Bungalow or a covered jeep,
can watch Sloth Bear, Elephants, Monkey, Deer, Wild
Boar, Sambar roam free in their extensive reserve. If you
are lucky you could catch a glimpse of a Leopard too!
Sigirlya (120 Miles
The summit of the rock is nearly three acres in extent. This
was a royal palace of king Kasyapa for more than 18 years
(477-495 AD) This architectural
is famous for its well-preserved rock painting of the
beautiful "Cloud Damsels" seen half way up the rock and the
"Lion Stairway" that provides access to the summit.
Ratnapura (65 Miles from Colombo)|
Known as the 'city of gems'. You could visit a gem mine and
see the men at work.
Some of the valuable gems such as
Rubies, Sapphires, Zircons, Garnets, Amethysts, Topaz could
be found. A main attraction is the Sinharaja Rain forest,
one of the few such remaining forests in Asia. It is also a
primeval sanctuary for over 170 varieties of exotic orchid.
Miles from Sigirya)
Here you will find the famous Rock temple dating to the
first century BC. The walls are also adorned
frescoes of various scenes related to the arrival of
Buddhism to Sri Lanka and great deeds of the kings.