Sri Lanka is a teardrop-shaped island in the Indian Ocean just below the Southern tip of India, and lying North of the equator.
See Detailed Map of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka enjoys a tropical climate. There are no seasonal variations. The bi-annual monsoon rains provide the only seasons. Colombo and the South West experience rain from April to May and September to October. The East coast gets its share of rainfall from November to January. Being closer to the equator, the temperature is high throughout the year. The average temperature in Colombo is 27 degrees centigrade (80 degrees Fahrenheit). This is accompanied by high levels of humidity. However, in the different parts of the island, the temperature and the climate vary according to the terrain. The higher you go, the cooler it gets. In the mountainous regions of Nuwara Eliya, the temperature averages 16 degrees centigrade (61 degrees Fahrenheit).
The chronicled history of Sri Lanka dates back to over 2,500 years. It had established trade and cultural links with many ancient civilizations. Throughout history, it has been known by different names. To the Greeks it was Taprobane, to the Arabs it was Serendib, to the Portuguese it was Ceilao, to the Dutch it was Zeylan, and to the British it was Ceylon. Sri Lanka was the ancient name meaning “The Resplendent Isle”.
The population number approximately 19 million. This multi-ethnic population comprises:
- Sinhalese – 72%
- Tamils – 19%
- Muslims – 8%
- Burghers (descendants of Dutch and Portuguese) – 1%
The four major religions are:
- Buddhism – followed by 69% of the population
- Hinduism – followed by 13% of the population
- Islam – followed by 8% of the population
- Christianity – followed by 7% of the population
The most commonly-spoken languages in Sri Lanka are Sinhala, Tamil and English.
The Sri Lankan Rupee (Rs.) is divided into 100 cents. The coins and notes fall into the following denominations:
Coins: 1 cent, 2 cents, 5 cents, 10 cents, 25 cents, 50 cents, 1 Rupee, 2 Rupees, 5 Rupees, 10 Rupees
Notes: 10 Rupees, 20 Rupees, 50 Rupees, 100 Rupees, 500 Rupees, 1,000 Rupees, 2,000 Rupees
* Please note that 1 cent, 2 cents, 5 cents and 10 cents coins are barely in circulation today.