Sri Lanka

Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
இலங்கை சனநாயை சசாசலிசக் குடியரசு



Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte



6°54′N 79°54′E


Largest city
Official languages






Sri Lankan


Unitary semi-presidential
democratic socialist
constitutional republic


Mahinda Rajapaksa

-Prime Minister

D. M. Jayaratne

-Speaker of the Parliament

Chamal Rajapaksa

-Chief Justice

Mohan Peiris[1]



Independence from the United Kingdom

4 February 1948

4 Population -2012 census 20.610 km2 (122nd) -Total 25.597[2] (57th) -Density 323/km2 (40th) 836.135[3] (111th) GDP (nominal) 2012 estimate -Total $64.715[5] high · 92nd Currency Sri Lankan rupee (LKR) Time zone SLST (UTC+5:30) Date format dd/mm/yyyy (AD) Drives on the left Calling code +94 .332 sq mi -Water (%) 4.277.-Republic 22 May 1972 -Current constitution 7 September 1978 Area 65.139[3] (123rd) Gini (2010) 36.914 billion[3] (68th) -Per capita $3.6/sq mi GDP (PPP) 2012 estimate -Total $127 billion[3] (64th) -Per capita $6.4[4] medium HDI (2012) 0.

Sri Lankan Tamils. The first Tamil immigration was probably around the 3rd century BC. rubber and the native cinnamon. Indian Tamils. the G77 and the Non-Aligned Movement. The country has had a long history of international engagement. Sri Lanka is a diverse country home to many religions. Sri Lanka has a rich Buddhist heritage. Malays. . coconuts. Known until 1972 as Ceylon . Moors. Burghers. The culture of Sri Lanka dates back over 2500 years. Sri Jayawardenapura-Kotte. It is also the only country in South Asia that is currently rated 'high' on the Human Development Index. According to Islamic folklore. and the early mixing rendered the two ethnic groups almost physically indistinct. In more recent times. is an island country in the northern Indian Ocean off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinentin South Asia. Sri Lanka has been called the tear drop of India because of its shape and location and is known as "the Pearl of the Indian Ocean" because of its natural beauty. coffee. The island is the home to two main traditional cultures: the Sinhalese (centred in the ancient cities of Kandy and Anuradhapura) and the Tamil (centred in the city of Jaffna). Tamils co-existed with the Sinhalese people since then. being a founding member of SAARC and a member of the United Nations. The capital. Colombo. The country's recent history has been marred by a thirty-year civil war which decisively but controversially ended in a military victory in 2009. advanced health standards and high literacy rate. the Commonwealth of Nations. It is the land of the Sinhalese. Sri Lanka has maritime borders with India to the northwest and the Maldives to the southwest. Culture Main article: Culture of Sri Lanka Hindu devotees engaging in Kavadi at a temple in Vavuniya. is a suburb of the largest city. It is influenced primarily by Buddhism and Hinduism.Sri Lanka officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. ethnicities and languages. and the first known Buddhist writings were composed on the island. The rich cultural traditions shared by all Sri Lankan cultures is the basis of the country's long life expectancy. gemstones. Adam and Eve were offered refuge on the island as solace for their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Sri Lanka claims a democratic tradition matched by few other developing countries. It is also known as "the nation of smiling people". the British colonial culture has also influenced the locals. Ancient Sri Lanka is marked for its genius in hydraulic engineering and architecture. The island contains tropical forests and diverse landscapes with high biodiversity. Its geographic location and deep harbours made it of great strategic importance from the time of the ancient Silk Road through to World War II. Sri Lanka is a republic and a unitary state governed by a presidential system. An important producer of tea. Sri Lanka has a documented history that spans over 3000 years. Kaffirs and the aboriginal Vedda.

Food and festivals Main articles: Cuisine of Sri Lanka. wholemeal Roti. literary and performing arts Main articles: Cinema of Sri Lanka. Ranmuthu Duwa (Island of treasures. and Sri Lankan literature The movie Kadawunu Poronduwa (The broken promise). whip-dances. Undoubtedly the most influential and revolutionary filmmaker in the history of Sri Lankan cinema is Lester James Peiris. . Esala Perahera. Daŭla and Răbān were performed at these dramas. a symbolic Buddhist festival consisting of dances and richly decorated elephants. Kiribath. cashew nuts. and hoppers. originated among Kaffirs or the or Afro-Sinhalese community. Songwriters like Mahagama Sekara and Ananda Samarakoon and musicians such as W. and Festivals in Sri Lanka Traditional dish of Kiribath with lunumiris. The first music album. Gamperaliya (The changing village. In April. In 1979. is held in Kandy. Dishes include rice and curry. Nayagam of Chitra Kala Movietone. Music of Sri Lanka. Ramadan in their respective days of the year. including Rekava (Line of destiny. heralded the coming of Sri Lankan cinema in 1947. Breudher (DutchHoliday Biscuit). Sokari and Nadagam. R. M. was released through Radio Ceylon. Bolo Fiado (Portuguese-style layer cake). H. in 1903. Their cinematic style is similar to the Bollywood movies. 1968). during the month of August. Maha Shivaratri and Muslims celebrate Hajj. Jothipala and Clarence Wijewardene have contributed much towards the upliftment of Sri Lankan music. social transformation and the years of conflict between the military and the LTTE. Sri Lankans celebrate the Buddhist and Hindu new year festival. Nurthi. movie attendance rose to an all-time high. Baila is another popular music genre in the country. but has been in steady decline since then. Jackfruit may sometimes replace rice and curries. and Gumbo Lillas (Dutch style honey coated sweet treats). D. Fire-dances. The earliest music in Sri Lanka came from theatrical performances such as Kolam. Dances of Sri Lanka. 1964). It in the recent years has featured subjects such as family melodrama. Nidhanaya (The treasure. Tamils celebrate Thai Pongal. 1956). jaggery. kottu. produced by S. 1962) marked the transition cinema from black-and-white to colour. Traditionally food is served on a plantain leaf. Thammátama. who has directed a number of movies which led to global acclaim. Amaradeva. pittu. wattalapam (a rich pudding of Malay origin made of coconut milk. In addition. String hoppers. Theatre of Sri Lanka. List of Sri Lankan sweets and desserts. 1970) and Golu Hadawatha (Cold heart. while Dutch and Portuguese influences are found with the island's Burgher community preserving their culture through traditional dishes such as Lamprais (rice cooked in stock and baked in a banana leaf). Visual. and spices including cinnamon and nutmeg). Traditional music instruments such as Béra. eggs. Kandian dances and various other cultural dances are integral parts of the festival. Middle Eastern influences and practices are found in traditional Moor dishes.

Ancient chronicles such as Mahāvamsa. the author of Madol Doova is considered the iconic figure of Sri Lankan literature.A Low Country drummer playing the traditional Yak Béra. Udekki dance. and in monastic residence. Hansa Sandeshaya (Swan message) and Salalihini Sandeshaya (Myna message). the standard collection of scriptures in the Theravada Buddhist tradition. Pantheru dance and 18 Vannam. a work of Simon de Silva appeared in 1905. which flourished under kings of the Kingdom of Kandy. Kegalle. Muudu Puththu and Subha saha Yasa. In addition. The Pāli Canon. compiled in the 9th century.Kolam. and is heir to the Aryan literary tradition as embodied in the hymns of the Rigveda. as early as 29 BC. The greatest literary feats of medieval Sri Lanka include Sandesha Kāvya (poetic messages) such as Girā Sandeshaya (Parrot message). Martin Wickramasinghe. The chronicles have description of various paintings in relic-chambers of Buddhist stupas. Poetry including Kavsilumina. which is considered to be the golden age of Sri Lankan literature. the Kandyan dances. Sri Lankan literature spans at least two millennia. the Kandyan style. is to the drawing of a palace on cloth using cinnabar in the 2nd century BC. Pabāvatī. An elaborate headdress is worn by the male dancers and a drum called Geta Béraya is used to assist the dancer to keep on rhythm. The oldest surviving prose work is the Dhampiya-Atuva-Getapadaya. Pasu. Theatre moved into the country when a Parsi company from Mumbai introduced Nurti. a play written by Ediriweera Sarachchandra in 1956. that consists of five sub-categories: Ves dance. Mahāsāra. According to the German philosopher Wilhelm Geiger. The earliest mention about the art of painting on Mahavamsa. and several devil dance variants such as Sanni Yakuma and Kohomba Kankariya can be also observed. Kavya-Sekharaya (diadem of poetry) and proses such as Saddharma-Ratnāvaliya. . The golden age of Sri Lankan drama and theatre began with the staging of Maname. It is a sophisticated form of dance. and was followed by a number of revolutionary literary works. Naiyandi dance. The history of Sri Lankan painting and sculpture can be traced as far back as to the 2nd or 3rd century BC. a blend of European and Indian theatrical conventions to the Colombo audience in 19th century.[301] The first modern-day novel. is more prominent. It was followed by a series of popular dramas like Sinhabāhu. low country dances and Sabaragamuwa dances. Amāvatura (Flood of nectar) and Pujāvaliya are also notable works of this period. was written down in Sri Lanka during the Fourth Buddhist council. They are. that dates few more centuries back. There are three main styles of Sri Lankan classical dance. Meena. four folk drama variants named Sokri. the chronicles are based on SinhalaAtthakatha (commentary). at the Alulena cave temple. Nadagam. which was written in 6th century provide vivid descriptions of Sri Lankan dynasty. Out of these.

disparities in access to quality education. W. The number of public universities in Sri Lanka is 15. Its youth literacy rate stands at 98%. However. With a literacy rate of 92. Clarke (most famous as the author of 2001 A Space Odyssey) served as Chancellor of Moratuwa University in Sri Lanka from 1979 to 2002. computer literacy rate at 35%. In 1942 a special education committee proposed extensive reforms to establish an efficient and quality education system for the people. W. An education system which dictates 9 years ofcompulsory schooling for every child is in place. the participation at tertiary level education hovers around 5. . Kannangaraand A. But still. 817 private schools and Pirivenas. The proposed private university bill has been withdrawn by the Higher Education Ministry after university students’ heavy demonstrations and resistance. Ratnayake.Education Main article: Education in Sri Lanka The University of Peradeniya'sSarachchandra open air theatre. is a result of the initiative of C. The free education system established in 1945. degree awarding institutions have emerged in recent times to fill in these gaps. However in the 1980s changes to this system saw the separation the of administration of schools between the central government and the provincial government. Sri Lanka has approximately 9675 government schools. Sri Lanka's premier playwright. Kannangara led the establishment of the Madhya Maha Vidyalayas (Central Schools) in different parts of the country in order to provide education to Sri Lanka's rural children. lack of an effective linkage between secondary and tertiary education remain major challenges for the education sector. A number of private. Sri Lanka has one of the most literate populations amongst developing nations. The British science fiction author Arthur C. It is one of the few countries in the world that provide universal free education from primary to tertiary stage. Thus the elite National Schools are controlled directly by the Ministry of Education and the provincial schools by the provincial government. lack of responsiveness of the education system to labour market requirements.5%. named in memory of Ediriweera Sarachchandra. and primary school enrolment rate at over 99%.1%.

rising from underdog status to winning the 1996 Cricket World Cup. by Duncan White at 1948 London Olympics for men's 400 metres hurdles and one silver by Susanthika Jayasinghe at 2000 Sydney Olympics for women's 200 metres. Former Sri Lankan offspinner. The country co-hosted the Cricket World Cup in 1996. highest feat of a Sri Lankan in a Cue sport. competing on provincial and national levels. . 2004 and 2008. They lost to the West Indies by 36 runs. August 2011. The Sri Lanka national cricket team achieved considerable success beginning in the 1990s. Sri Lankans have won two medals at Olympic Games. and of the ICC World Twenty20 in 2009 and2012. There are two styles of martial arts native to Sri Lanka. swimming. football (soccer) and tennis. by far the most popular sport in the country is cricket. the beaches and backwaters attract a large number of Sri Lankans and foreign tourists. Sri Lanka has won the Asia Cup in 1986.Sports Main article: Sport in Sri Lanka The Sri Lankan cricket team practising ahead of a Twenty20 match againstAustralia at Pallekele Cricket Stadium. one silver. as do athletics. In 1973. 1997. Mohammed Lafir won the World Billiards Championship. 2011 and have hosted the 2012 ICC World Twenty20. Cheena di and Angampora. 2011. Current world records for highest team score in all three formats of the game are also held by Sri Lanka. Aquatic sports such as boating. While the national sport in Sri Lanka is volleyball. surfing. Muttiah Muralitharan has been rated as the greatest Test match bowler ever by Wisden Cricketers' Almanack. kitesurfing and scuba diving on the coast. They also became the runners up of the Cricket World Cup in 2007. Rugby union also enjoys extensive popularity. Sri Lanka's schools and colleges regularly organise sports and athletics teams.