HISTORY OF SRI LANKA
The story of ancient Lanka has its beginnings in the culture of
stone, the Stone Age. An ageless, timeless period, the Stone Age
in Sri Lanka stretched from 125,000 BC to 1000 BC.
Encompassing tens of thousands of years, the scales are so vast that we still cannot measure it properly. It is like peering through a telescope, looking at a world so far away that is visible only in fractions, a fleeting glimpse here and there.
This era is called prehistory; the time before the dawn of history.
It is during this period that we find traces of early man. He appears
to have lived almost everywhere; along the coast, on the plains
and amongst the rolling grasslands of the hill country.
The richest evidence however survives in caves. It is only then that the Stone Age begins to take shape in our minds.
At caverns like Fa Hsien - lena, near Bulathsinhala (BC 35,000 - 3400 BC) Batadomba - lena in Kuruwita (BC 29,000 - 9500 BC) and Beli - lena in Kitugala (BC 28,000 - 1500 BC).
Sri Lanka lies on the Indian tectonic plate, a minor plate within
the Indo-Australian Plate. It is in the Indian Ocean southwest of
the Bay of Bengal, between latitudes 5° and 10°N, and longitudes
79° and 82°E. Sri Lanka is separated from the Indian subcontinent
by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait.
According to Hindu mythology, a land bridge existed between the Indian mainland and Sri Lanka. It now amounts to only a chain of limestone shoals remaining above sea level. It was reportedly passable on foot up to 1480 AD, until cyclones deepened the channel.
The culture of Sri Lanka dates back over 2500 years. It is influenced
primarily by Buddhism and Hinduism. According to Islamic folklore,
Adam and Eve were offered refuge on the island as solace for their
expulsion from the Garden of Eden.
The island is the home to two main traditional cultures: the Sinhalese (centred in the ancient cities of Kandy and Anuradhapura) and the Tamils (centred in the city of Jaffna). In more recent times, the British colonial culture has also influenced the locals. Sri Lanka claims a democratic tradition matched by few other developing countries.
Food and Festivals
Dishes include rice and curry, pittu, kiribath, wholemeal roti,
string hoppers, Watalappan (a rich pudding of Malay origin made
of coconut milk, jaggery, cashew nuts, eggs and spices including
cinnamon and nutmeg), kottu, and hoppers.
Jackfruit may sometimes replace rice. Traditionally food is served on a plantain leaf.
Middle Eastern influences and practices are found in traditional Moor dishes, 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), Breudher (Dutch Holiday Biscuit), Bolo Fiado (Portuguese-style layer cake), and Gumbo Lillas (Dutch style honey coated sweet treats).
World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka
Eight sites of Sri Lanka have been inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage, namely, the ancient city of Polonnaruwa (1982), the ancient city of Sigiriya (1982), the Golden Temple of Dambulla (1991), the old town of Galle and its fortifications (1988), the sacred city of Anuradhapura (1982), the sacred city of Kandy (1988), Sinharaja Forest Reserve (1988) and the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka (2010).
Sports and Adventure
Due to varying climate conditions and geography, Sri Lanka is an ideal destination for sports tourism. Some of the popular sports include Golf, Surfing, Diving & Snorkeling, Hot Air Ballooning, Rafting and Canoeing, Scuba Diving, Fishing, Cycling, Hiking, Trekking and Rock Climbing.
For a small island, the biodiversity of the country is most impressive. Sri Lanka is home for a wide variety of mammals, birds, fish, butterflies and snakes. The big five Sri Lankan wildlife species are the elephant, leopard, sloth bear, blue whale and the sperm whale.