Archaeologists have discovered Paleolithic human settlements in caves in the western plain regions and the southwestern face of the Central Hills located in Sri Lanka. While some archaeologists have found similarities between what was found in Sri Lanka and with what has been found in southern India, others have dismissed this and instead liken the findings to those that have been uncovered in northern parts of India. Regardless of similarities to other nations, ancient Sri Lanka was quite exceptional in its own right. It is believed that Sri Lanka was the first country in the world to have dedicated hospitals dating back to the fourth century BC. They were also the world’s largest exporters of cinnamon and were the first Asian nation to have a female leader, Queen Anula who reigned from 47-42 BC.
For the most part, Sri Lanka was ruled by monarchs with the Sinha Dynasty lasting for over 2,000 years. At times, parts of the country were ruled by the Chola Dynasty, the Pandya Dynasty, the Chera Dynasty and the Pallava Dynasty. Sri Lanka was also invaded by South Indian kingdoms various times throughout its history. Buddhism first arrived in Sri Lanka in the third century BC from India. This new religion was immediately accepted by the monarchy and they helped spread it around the country. Various Buddhist schools and monasteries were set up which helped the religion spread not only within the country, but through Southeast Asia also.
Sri Lanka is a pear shaped island about 438km (272mi) long and about 225km (140mi) wide located in the Indian Ocean. Sri Lanka is approximately 645km (400mi) north of the Equator and is separated from the Indian subcontinent by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait. There are a number of islands around Sri Lanka with the most prominent islets located to the west of the Jaffna Peninsula. The geography of Sri Lanka can roughly be divided into three zones based on elevation: the central highlands, the plains and the coastal belt.
The central highlands are considered to be the “heart of the country”. The highest mountains in Sri Lanka are found here with Pidurutalagala in the south-central region being the highest at 2,524m (8,281ft). The core of the highlands is a high plateau that runs north to south. To the north is the Knuckles Massif, which is composed of steep escarpments, deep gorges and peaks that rise more than 1,800m (5,905ft).
The plains of Sri Lanka are made up of several plains between 30-200m (98-656ft) above sea level. The plains meet the central highlands in the southeast where the mountain ranges appear abruptly like a large wall. To the east and north, the plains are flat.
The coastal belt surrounds this island and is approximately 30m (98ft) above sea level. Much of the coast of Sri Lanka is made up of beautiful sandy beaches.
Sri Lanka- Country Quick-facts
Area: 65,610 km² (25,332 sq mi)
Capital: Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte
Country Code: 94
Population Density: 340 per Km2 (881 people per mi2)
Credit Cards: All major credit cards are accepted. Tourist spots like museums and temples generally do not accept credit cards.
Currency: Sri Lankan rupee (LKR)
Departure Tax: There is no departure tax for Sri Lanka
Drives on the: Left
Location: Island country in the northern Indian ocean
Official Language: Sinhalese and Tamil
Religion: Buddhism, Hinduism, Islamic.
Time Zone: SLST (UTC+5:30)
Getting a Visa for Sri Lanka
Foreign nationals wanting to travel to Sri Lanka need to possess a passport of their country and a valid Sri Lanka visa. From now on, you can get your Sri Lanka visa quickly and simply without having to send your passport to the Sri Lanka Embassy by applying for e-Visa/ETA online. E-Visas/ETA can be used for tourism, recreation, sightseeing, casual business, casual visit to meet friends or relatives.
The tropical location of Sri Lanka ensures hot weather all year. In the lowlands, the average monthly temperature ranges from 22˚C(72˚F) to 33˚C (92˚F) while the higher altitudes found in the central highlands make for somewhat cooler temperatures (can range from 7˚C (44˚F) to 21.6˚C (71˚F)).
The weather in Sri Lanka is not dominated by traditional seasons, instead the only seasons in the country are due to monsoons. The south and west experiences monsoons between May and September, while the north and east experiences monsoons between October and April. Most parts of the country receive an average annual rainfall of more than 1,270mm (50 in). Sri Lanka can be quite humid with coastal regions experiencing daytime levels above 70% all year, and rising to 90% during monsoon seasons. The highlands typically experience humidity levels between 70-79%. November to March is considered the principal tourist season as it is dry in the south and western parts of the country as well as in the central highlands, however, due to the tropical climate, tourists will find beautiful beaches at different points on the island throughout the year.
Currency of Sri Lanka
The Sri Lankan currency is the rupee (Rs), which is divided into 100 cents; pricing in cents is rare. Rupee coins come in denominations of one, two, five and 10 rupees. Notes come in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000 and 5000 rupees.
Best Time to Visit Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a good destination year-round. However, there are two monsoon seasons but neither should deter you from visiting the country. The main monsoon brings rain to the west and south-west coasts and the hill country from May to August with the wettest time being April to June. The less severe monsoon hits the east coast from November to March with the wettest time being November and December. So to summarize, the best times to visit are December to March on the west and south coasts when beaches are dry, hot and sunny and the hill country and on the east coast, from April to September.
Because of Sri Lanka’s position close to the Equator, this means that temperatures are fairly constant year-round. Naturally, temperatures decrease with altitude. At night in the hill country, it can be chilly. In the daytime, humidity is high everywhere.