(Democratic Socialist Republic ofSri Lanka)
Sri Lanka Flag
- Location: South Asia
- Capital: Colombo (commercial), Sri Jayawardenapura-Kotte (administrative)
- Language(s): Sinhala, Tamil
- Population: 21,354,422
- Total Area: 65,610 sq km
- Currency: Sri Lankan Rupee
- Curious Alcohol Fact: There is a local beer made from the sap of the palm tree and is known as toddy.
- Annual Average Liquor Consumption Per Capita: 0.79 liters
- Most Popular Drink(s): Tea, tambili (fresh coconut juice), local beers
Formerly called Serendib, Taprobane, Ceylon, Sri Lanka is located in the Indian Ocean just off the southern tip of the Indian subcontinent. The Palk Strait separates it from India however its proximity with its larger neighbor has promoted cordial relationship that can be traced back to thousands of years. Colonized by Britain, Sri Lanka became an independent nation in 1948. Known as one of the largest exporters of cash crops like tea, coffee and coconuts, Sri Lanka is a country where the past fuses imperceptibly into the future. With a history dating back to the prehistoric times, this is a country that will make you appreciate the past and contemplate on the present for a better future.
The country is fairly homogenous as the Sinhalese form around 75% of the population. Trailing behind the Sinhalese are the Tamils, Moors (descendants of Arab traders) and the Burghers who have some European ancestry. The most widely used languages in the country are Sinhalese and Tamil, while English is spoken by a significant minority. Although the island nation is multireligious, the predominant religion is Buddhism (Theravada Buddhism to be specific) and it is important to state that the country has been a very strong base for Buddhists for thousands of years. Today, around 70% of Sri Lankans are Buddhists. Others are followers of Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. Virtually every Sri Lankan I met emphasized the importance of religion and I found them to be a deeply religious people –with hearts of gold.
I was not surprised when the first meal I took was quite hot and full of spices, that is trend when you are in Asia. The dish can be considered as the staple on the island nation is rice with curry and my lovely hosts did not hesitate to welcome me with this grainy delicacy. Being an island, seafood and all kinds of fish were in abundance and generously used while cooking. Fish curry made with fresh tuna will leave you asking for more. The Sri Lankans use fantastic cutlery to eat –their fingers! You must also never miss a popular snack called kotu roti and is a nice blend of roti, chicken and vegetables.
Tea is one of the most popular drinks in the country and that does not come as a surprise as Sri Lanka is one of the largest producers of the commodity in the world. You can take it with milk, sugar and crushed ginger (yes, ginger!). Strong espresso coffee is also available and you can make your day with a cup of the sweet tambili, milk of the king coconut. A country full of agriculturalists, fruit juices are never in short supply. Alcoholic drinks are also sold all over the country and the most popular brands are Three Coins and Lion Lager.
Like India and Pakistan, cricket remains the most popular sports in Sri Lanka and the players have proven to be very successful in regional and international competitions. Other sports in the country include athletics, football, swimming and volleyball.
- The country is also referred to as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean.
- The Sigiriya Rock Fortress or the Fortress in the Sky is a wonder to many tourists and locals alike.
- The first female prime minister in the world, Sirimavo Bandaranaike was from this country. Her daughter, Chandrika Kumaratunga would later become the Prime Minister too.
- An old name for the country was Ceylon and is one of the world's largest producers of tea.
Story By World By Shotglass
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Special thanks to our contributors:
Adebayo Ahmed Adebola (Ilorin, Nigeria).
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