Sri Lanka is a little island in the southernmost tip of the Indian Sub-continent. It had been known by many names in the past. Ceylon, Serendib, Isle of Paradise, Pearl of the Indian Ocean, Tear Drop of India, Taprobane are some of the names that Sri Lanka has been known in the past.
This little Island has a recorded history dating back to over 2500 years and a rich heritage. The archaeological and religious ruins, which can be seen in most parts of the Island, depicts the splendor and the glory of the past. Man-made Tanks and canals built for irrigation purposes during the era of the kings who ruled this country are still being made use of by the farmers of today. No wonder, that this little Island was also known as “The Granary of the East” From about 1500 A. D. till 1948 this Island was under the rule of the Portuguese, The Dutch and the British. They too have left remnants of their traditions culture and Architectural monuments
Sri Lanka is a land of massive contrasts. The topographical, ecological and cultural diversity in its compact 66,000 sq.km makes it truly ‘a land like no other’ with no end to the nature and adventure related activities that are possible! Sri Lanka’s vast variety of habitats includes pristine rainforests, highland grasslands and tea plantations, virgin jungles, mangrove swamps, dry zone areas, white sandy beaches and several internationally recognized National Parks
Sri Lanka can be described as ‘tropical’ in its climate, with a wet and dry season, further affected by two monsoons. The yala monsoon rain to the southwestern part of the country- from May to August, while the dry season is approximately- from – December to March. In contrast, the north and eastern coast of Sri Lanka is affected by the Maha monsoon that makes it rainy and windy from October to January and dry from May to September. There is also an inter-monsoonal period in October and November when rain and thunderstorms can occur all around the island. These climate variations make it essential to plan your trip in advance to coincide with the best seasons for the particular areas you want to visit. Relative humidity in Sri Lanka varies from 70% during the day to 90% at night with an average temperature of 27°C in Colombo. In the higher elevations it can be quite cool with temperatures going down to 13°C at an altitude of nearly 2,000 m. So be prepared to bring clothing for the extremes
The civilizational history of Sri Lanka is more than 2500 years old. In earlier times it was known as Ceylon. Sri Lanka’s first settlers were the nomadic Veddahs. They were conquered by the Sinhalese around the 5th or 6th century BC. A number of Sinhalese kingdoms, including Anuradhapura in the north, took root across the island during the 4th century BC. Buddhism was introduced by Mahinda, son of the Indian Mauryan emperor Ashoka, in the 3rd century BC, and it quickly became the established religion and the focus of a strong nationalism.
Anuradhapura was established as capital of Sri Lanka in ancient times. Continuous struggle between South Indian kingdoms and Sinhalese kingdom went on for over 1000 years. In 11 century AD, the capital was shifted from Anuradhapura to Polonnaruwa.
The Portuguese arrived in Colombo in 1505 and gained a monopoly on the invaluable spice trade. By 1597, Potuguese had taken formal control of the island. But they failed to dislodge the powerful Sinhalese kingdom in Kandy. With the help of Dutch the Sinhalese kings were able to expel Portuguese from Sri Lanka in 1658. The Dutch were more interested in trade and profits than in ruling the country.
They only half-heartedly resisted when the British arrived in 1796. In 1815 Britain signed an agreement which granted them the power to rule and administer the country and became the first European power to rule the entire island. Coffee, tea, cinnamon and coconut plantations sprang up and English was introduced as the national language.
Sri Lanka achieved independence in 1948 and adopted democratic system of governance. In1972, the country became a republic and adopted Sri Lanka as its official name-hitherto it was known as Ceylon
Best Time to Visit Sri Lanka
Best time to travel to Sri Lanka is between the main rainy seasons. The period from November to April is the driest season on the south west coast and up in the hills. Here, some of the best beaches and many other places of tourist interest are located. Therefore, period between November and April is the best time to visit this region and this period is also considered as tourist season in Sri Lanka. May to September is the best time to visit east coast, as it is dry during this period. Hence, Sri Lanka is round-the-year destination-there is always a good time to visit at least some part of the country
Sri Lanka Time Zone & Time Difference
Local time of Sri Lanka is 5:30 hours ahead (+5:30 hours) of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)
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