Seylan, Tabrobana and Serendib were its ancient names. And now it’s called the Pearl of the Indian Ocean and to put it more correct, The Wonder of Asia and that’s the famous, historic, beautiful little Island Sri Lanka. I feel so pleased to share some details in short about my mother country Sri Lanka on this part of the Fikir Adası.
As you may see in the map, Sri Lanka is a beautiful Island located in the Indian Ocean much closer to one of the highly powered Nations in the world, India on its north and a country with a collection of approximately fourteen thousand small islands Maldives, on its south. Its location in the center of the Ancient silk route has also been a vital reason for gaining fame as a country which has cooperated in a greater length in the International trade at those times.
Talking about the geographical features, Sri Lanka owns some beautiful beaches around its coastal lines which have attracted many tourists from different parts of the world since the reason past. The Central part of Sri Lanka is also famous for its climate which is usually cold throughout the year. A many natives as well as foreigners flow into this part of the country mostly during April when it’s summer. Being cold is not the only reason rather beautiful gardens, huge waterfalls, farms, Golf spots, Horse races, old English bungalows, beautiful Hills and the list continues with all which provide entertainment and relaxation for whoever make their visit here. The high Hills found here are the birth place of the world famous Sri Lankan Tea which also facilitates in earning a high revenue from the agricultural sector to the country. Rubber which is produced in the lower part of the country also can be said as one of the strong agricultural supporter and it should be stated that Tea, Rubber, Coffee and some other plantations were all introduced by the English during the colonial rule before 1948. The lower land area of the country has also been contributing in producing varieties of Rice, Vegetables and Tropical fruits since early times. The monsoon Rains during the two phases of the year and huge rivers like the Mahaweli, Menikganga, Kelani ganga and other rivers are also contributing factors for such plantations.
Moving back to the History, Sri Lanka is considered to be one of the main places where Buddhism which was introduced by Venerable Mahinda, the son of King Ashoka of india and brought to Sri Lanka during the rule of King Devanambiyatissa . It’s said that two tribes called the ‘Yakkas’ and ‘Nagas’ were the only groups to live on the island before anyone had arrived. After the introduction of Buddhism, this little land has been ruled by many Sinhala (Buddhist) Rulers whom did also show serious interest in the Agricultural and international trade sectors. According to the historians, Muslims arrived on Sri Lanka thousand years back from now from the Arabian region for Trade purposes and were attracted by the rulers and the people of the country for the beautiful way of trade they were practicing. Later on they were permitted to live in even marrying the locals. This is how Islam began to spread in the island as it’s said. It’s also said that Muslims have had a strong relationship during every period with the respective rulers and even been praised and rewarded by the rulers for their sincerity. After the 16th century, the Portuguese first arrived from Europe, attracted by the geographical location of Sri Lanka which was then and now in a strategic point. After a while the Dutch followed them. Finally the British almost invaded the whole land and ruled for almost 150 years. This invasion of course did influence the culture, religion, education and the administration etc. in a great length. Finally, it was the time to gain freedom after the tremendous struggle of many heroic Personalities of our nation, followed by the freedom of India in 1947.
Since the freedom in 1948, the constitution has been renewed periodically during the rule of different parties accordingly and now it’s being called as the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (DSRSL). This is a country with a current population of approximately 21 million having Buddhists at 70%, Tamils 12%, Muslims 8% and Christians at 1-2% according to the official report released 15 years back. In spite Sinhala and Tamil being its official languages, English is widely understood and spoken by many in the country. The geographical administration structure is divided into eight Provinces and 25 Districts. The head of the country being its President (Currently his Excellency, President Mahinda Rajapakshe) and about a 250 elected members of parliament elected by the public contribute in the administration representing their respective electorates. The constitution can be said as somewhat similar to that of the British, despite some alterations being made according to the necessity of the country.
As far as the Economy of this Wonder of the Asia as it’s so called is concerned, it’s being advancing remarkably and especially after the conclusion of the 30 year old war which took place between the Tamil Tigers and the Government and which was hampering the growth of the country in many angles. The Monitory unit is called the Sri Lankan Rupee. According to the report of 2011, it has a GDP growth rate of 8.2% with the GDP Per Capita of US $2830 whereas inflation and unemployment lies at 4.9% and 4.3% respectively. Textiles and apparel, pharmaceuticals, tea, spices, diamonds, emeralds, rubies, coconut products, rubber manufactures and fish are its main exports whereas the main imports being Textile fabrics, mineral products, petroleum, foodstuffs, machinery and transportation equipment.
The International Monitory Fund has recognized Sri Lanka as a middle income emerging country. Sri Lanka enjoys a free trade agreement with Pakistan, in addition to India. It also has a preferential trade agreement with its south Asian neighbors, which is currently in the process of becoming a free trade agreement. Sri Lanka also benefits from special concessions from China, Korea, Thailand & Bangladesh. It should also be noted that Sri Lanka is one of the strong member of the SAARC Countries with the inclusion of eight South Asian Nations.
It was another great joyous moment for the Lankans when the first ever Highway with the limit of 100KMph was declared open on the beginning of this year, on the south part of the country connecting Colombo and Matara which of course has reduced the travel time from 4 hours to 1.5 hours. The upcoming projects such as the Artificial Island with an area of 15-20 acres, a Seven Star Hotel, three Five Star hotels, a resort with 18 hole Golf course, and the development of the old city Hambantota as a tourist city plus other construction and investment programmes are of course strong signs of a prosperous nation which will possess a strong economic background in the future.
Sri Lanka’s culture is related to that of the Asian and more related to India. Despite the colonial rule and the cultural changes that took place thereupon, Lungyis and Sarees are still upright preference for the Lankan men and women respectively, as clothes. Talking about food, well it’s always rice and curry for lunch and other special functions that exceeds all on the table and what makes it more special is its unique spices which have also been playing a vital role in the international business since the past. April 13th and 14th are celebrated by the Sinhalese and the Tamils as the New Year Festival. Tamils also celebrate the ‘Thai Pongal’ and the ’Deepavali’ festivals in two phases of the year. Muslims celebrate the Ramadan and Hajj festivals along with the rest of the Muslims around the world. Christmas is also something celebrated grandly, especially in the Capital city of Colombo despite Christians being less in numbers. Apart from these, the annual ‘Perahera Ceremony’ which takes place in Kandy, the city situated in the central part of Sri Lanka is also something remarkable. This ceremony contains the Sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha carried in highly decorated Elephants accompanied by whip crackers, Kandyan dancers and fireworks moving along the streets while a large crowd of tourists and locals would have gathered to sight the astonishing moments which is an important ritual of the Buddhists practiced only once every year, during the august phase.
When the name Sri Lanka is pronounced anywhere, there’s also something which almost suffixes it. That’s the Sri Lankan Cricket. Although Volleyball being its National game, Cricket is something which has yielded Sri Lanka more popularity among the global audience. The Team is also famous for its descent and fair game among the others in the row. This little miracle has connected our paddy fields, streets, cities and even made the homes as mini play grounds where our players start their carrier in the game even before they make their first step to the Nursery, something that can be compared with the Football Mania in Turkey.
Arriving to the conclusion of this part of my article, I have to admit that all the above information is only a brief summary on Sri Lanka as per the magazine’s requirement, for it is a country which means more than what it is depicted here. This final sentence extends an invitation for whoever gets to read this, to visit Sri Lanka at least once in lifetime which would be one of the best Holiday journey to make and a trip that would be never regretted.
A village, a town and now a metropol. Excelled in oratory, thrived in school. Best high-school experience was being the founder cum-president of the Media Forum. Now away from thousands of miles to learn something worthier. A fairly good reader, writer and have the passion to manage-and always! Hoping something in between the pearl of the Indian Ocean and heart of the Ottomon Empire.
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