We cruised around Sri Lanka from the Columbo in the West to Trincomalee in the North East. We visited museums, Buddhist and Hindu temples, bazaars, an old Fort town and a national game park. It was pleasing to see that Sri Lanka is recovering from the devastation of the 2004 Tsunami and the Tamil war. The country is very clean and tidy and the people extremely friendly. We were told that this is a result of it being a Buddhist nation.
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island country in South Asia near south-east India. It has maritime borders with India to the northwest and the Maldives to the southwest. Sri Lanka is mostly low, flat to rolling plains with mountains in the south-central interior rising to 2,524m at Piduruthalagala.
Sri Lanka's two official languages are Sinhala, spoken by the majority Sinhalese, and Tamil, spoken by the minority Tamil and Muslim groups. The Constitution defines English as the link language which is widely used for education, scientific and commercial purposes. However, most people in rural villages cannot speak any English, beyond a few simple words. Members of the Burgher community speak variant forms of Portuguese Creole and Dutch with varying proficiency and members of the Malay community speak a form of Creole Malay that is unique to the island. Sinhala writing is much more curved than Tamil.
Sri Lanka is a tropical country so it can rain anytime of the year in different parts of the country. However, the two major rainy seasons are the North-East monsoon (October to January) predominantly affecting the east coast and South-West monsoon (May to July) which predominantly affects the west & south coast.
Sri Lanka's documented history spans 3,000 years, with evidence of pre-historic human settlements dating back to at least 125,000 years. The Sinhalese arrived in Sri Lanka late in the 6th century BC, probably from northern India. Buddhism was introduced beginning in about the mid-3rd century BC.Partially occupied by the Portuguese in the 16th century and by the Dutch in the 17th century, the coastal parts of the island was ceded to the British in 1796 and became a British colony in 1802. The entire island was ceded to the British in 1815. As Ceylon, it became independent in 1948. The name was changed to Sri Lanka in 1972.In May 2009, government military forces defeated the Tamil Tigers' separatist movement and ended a brutal 26 year-long war that began in 1983, thus opening up a new chapter in its history.