It is not down in any map; true places never are.
— Herman Melville, 1819 - 1891

Sri Lanka


Sri Lanka

The first Sinhalese arrived in Sri Lanka late in the 6th century B.C. probably from northern India. Buddhism was introduced in about the mid-third century B.C., and a great civilization developed at the cities of Anuradhapura (kingdom from circa 200 B.C. to circa A.D. 1000) and Polonnaruwa (from about 1070 to 1200). In the 14th century, a south Indian dynasty established a Tamil kingdom in northern Sri Lanka. The coastal areas of the island were controlled by the Portuguese in the 16th century and by the Dutch in the 17th century. The island was ceded to the British in 1796, became a crown colony in 1802, and was united under British rule by 1815. As Ceylon, it became independent in 1948; its name was changed to Sri Lanka in 1972. Tensions between the Sinhalese majority and Tamil separatists erupted into war in 1983. After two decades of fighting, the government and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) formalized a cease-fire in February 2002 with Norway brokering peace negotiations. Violence between the LTTE and government forces intensified in 2006 and the government regained control of the Eastern Province in 2007. In May 2009, the government announced that its military had finally defeated the remnants of the LTTE and that its leader, Velupillai PRABHAKARAN, had been killed.


Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon, is in Southern Asia. It is an island country in the Indian Ocean, south of India.

Read more about Sri Lanka in our Sri Lanka travel guide »

Featured journals from

Sri Lanka

The essence of travel is keeping a heart of darkness that no one can sense...The way of the PJ - lost in the rush to be digital tourists...or not?

by hagakure

How to hide in the white rush! Top ten tips for hiding and being seen! What is left for us all? Journeys to the East, do you Hesse? Who are you in the picture a caller or a sweeper, did you ask her?

Jul 2012 - Jun 1992  »  Sri Lanka | United States

Sri Lanka Nursing

by Beth97

My elective placement in Sri Lanka

Nov 2016 - Apr 2017  »  United Kingdom | Sri Lanka | United Arab Emirates

Featured hotels in

Sri Lanka


Galle NONE
Sri Lanka

Price (US$): $299 - $1558 / night

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Traditional Sri Lanka meets ultra modern interior design at The Fortress, styled after Galle s historic Dutch fort. Enclosed within pretty walled gardens overlooking the Indian Ocean, this stylish resort offers an Ayurvedic inspired Lime spa, excellent regional and international cuisine and a fascinating wine cellar and restaurant, all within steps of the beach. Here you will find creative decor, with vibrantly coloured furniture and a glass walled wine cellar blending with carefully… more »


Bodhi Mawatha
Wella Wathuara
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka

Price (US$): $750 - $850 / night

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This is one of the most beautiful beach locations in the world. It was not peaceful in October with powerfull waves operating all day and night but combined with an empty crescent beach, palm groves, view of simple amanvillas on the hill and their tile roofs and local villagers chatting by the boats the Amanwellas location exceedes expectations and leaves a long lasting impression of a perfect place to which one would like to return every year. more »

Sri LankaJetwing Blue 

Negombo Beach
Sri Lanka

Price (US$): $159 - $318 / night

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Location. Jetwing Blue is located on the beach in Negombo, close to Negombo Beach. Resort Features. Jetwing Blue's restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A poolside bar and a bar/lounge are open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. A complimentary breakfast is served each morning in the restaurant. Recreational amenities include a children's pool, a spa tub, a sauna, and a fitness facility. The property's full service health spa has body treatments, facials, and… more »

Sri LankaHeritance Kandalama 

P.O Box 11
Sri Lanka

Price (US$): $291 - $292 / night

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Location. Heritance Kandalama is located in Dambulla's Central Sri Lanka neighborhood and local attractions include Dambulla Cave Temple. Regional points of interest also include Sigiriya Archaeological Site and Sigiriya Museum. Hotel Features. Heritance Kandalama features a coffee shop/cafĂ© and a bar/lounge. Room service is available 24 hours a day. The hotel serves a complimentary buffet breakfast each morning in the restaurant. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool, a spa tub, a… more »

Sri LankaEarl's Regency 

Sri Lanka

Price (US$): $189 - $255 / night

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Location. Earl's Regency is a business friendly hotel located in Kandy's Central Sri Lanka neighborhood, close to Sri Dalada Maligawa and Asgiriya Stadium. Other area points of interest include Royal Botanical Garden. Hotel Features. Dining options at Earl's Regency include 2 restaurants. 3 bars/lounges and a poolside bar are open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool, a children's pool, and a fitness facility. The property's… more »

Browse more hotels in Sri Lanka »

Sri Lanka

Full name
Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

Southern Asia, island in the Indian Ocean, south of India

Geographic coordinates

7 00 N, 81 00 E

Area comparative

slightly larger than West Virginia


1,340 km


tropical monsoon; northeast monsoon (December to March); southwest monsoon (June to October)


mostly low, flat to rolling plain; mountains in south-central interior

Lowest point

Indian Ocean 0 m

Highest point

Pidurutalagala 2,524 m

Natural resources

limestone, graphite, mineral sands, gems, phosphates, clay, hydropower



Ethnic groups

Sinhalese 73.8%, Sri Lankan Moors 7.2%, Indian Tamil 4.6%, Sri Lankan Tamil 3.9%, other 0.5%, unspecified 10% (2001 census provisional data)


Buddhist 69.1%, Muslim 7.6%, Hindu 7.1%, Christian 6.2%, unspecified 10% (2001 census provisional data)


Sinhala (official and national language) 74%, Tamil (national language) 18%, other 8%

Government type



4 February 1948 (from the UK)

National holiday

Independence Day, 4 February (1948)

Chief of state

President Mahinda Percy RAJAPAKSA (since 19 November 2005); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government; Dissanayake Mudiyanselage JAYARATNE holds the largely ceremonial title of prime minister (since 21 April 2010)

Head of government

President Mahinda Percy RAJAPAKSA (since 19 November 2005)

Internet country code


Internet users

1.777 million (2009)


18 (2010)

Ports and terminals


Other countries in the region