78 random things about Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a beautiful country with pristine beaches, cultural heritage, scenic landscapes and lots of elephants. Here are 78 random things about Sri Lanka.

I don’t like history, tell me interesting things about Sri Lanka.

History

1. The first established capital of ancient Sri Lanka was Anuradhapura and the era was known as Anuradhapura Kingdom.

2. This is the period when Tooth Relic of Buddha arrived to Anuradhapura from India. This is when the Sinhalese started following Buddhism.

3. The era ended when South Indian kings attacking and invading this kingdom. Then the capital was shifted to Polonnaruwa.

4. After almost 150 years, Polonnaruwa also declined which split the island into five smaller Kingdoms.

5. The Sinhalese power moved to Sri Jayawardanapura Kotte which is just a few miles from Colombo.

6. After four centuries Portuguese established a trading port at Colombo and moved the capital to Kandy.

7. During this period the Sinhalese were forcefully converted to Christianity.

7. The Lankan’s did not like the trade and made a treaty with the Dutch that they would have monopoly over the trading if they get rid if Portuguese.

8. By mid 1600 the Dutch ruled the whole island excepting Kandy.

9. About 150 years later, British starts taking control of the island and finally conquers Kandy in 1815.

10. British imports Tamilian labor to work in tea, coffee and coconut plantations.

11. Sri Lanka gains full independence from the British in 1948.

12. The Tamilians were deprived of citizenship after the new Sinhalese government was formed.

13. This led to tensions between the two groups – Sinhalese and Tamilians.

14. 1983 – 2009 Sri Lanka Civil War.

15. The name of Sri Lanka was Ceylon until 1972.

The ancient ruins of Polonnaruwa

The ancient ruins of Polonnaruwa

Geography

15. The shape of Sri Lanka is like a pearl or the drop of tear. This is the reason Sri Lanka is known as Pearl of Indian Ocean.

16. Sri Lanka is an island which is surrounded by the Indian Ocean on the West and Bay of Bengal on the East.

17. Area of Sri Lanka is 65,610 square kilometers slightly bigger than West Virginia.

18. The highest point is located on Mount Pedro (locally called as Pidurutalagala). No climbing is allowed on the mountain because it belongs to the army.

19. The island nation has 13640 kilometers of coast line.

20. Sri Lanka is one of the worst hit countries during the tsunami of 2004.

Beautiful evening sunset at the Negombo Beach

Beautiful evening sunset at the Negombo Beach

Country Facts

21. The official name of Sri Lanka is “Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka”.

22. The capital city of Sri Lanka is Sri Jayawardanapura Kotte, not Colombo.

23. Sri Lanka has two official languages – Sinhala and Tamil.

24. The government system is Semi-Presidential Republic.

25. Mahinda Rajapaksa, is the present President.

People

26. The population of Sri Lanka is about 20 million in 2012.

27. The two primary ethnic groups are Sinhalese and Tamilians, but there is small presence of Moors.

28. A person from Sri Lanka is called Sri Lankan or just Lankan. Never call them by their ethnicity.

29. 70% of Sri Lankans are Buddhist.

30. 12% Hindus, 9% Muslim and 7% Christians.

Economy

31. The currency of Sri Lanka is Sri Lankan Rupee(LKR).

32. The island nation has a GDP of 143 billion.

33. It is the second richest nation in South Asia, in terms of GDP per capita.

34. Ceylon Tea is one of the most exported product from Sri Lanka.

What the names mean?

35. The word Sri Lanka literally mean “Resplendent Island” in Sanskrit.

36. The world Sinhala means “Blood of A Lion”.

37. Sigiriya means “Lion Rock”.

Other Random Facts about Sri Lanka

38. When it comes to food, rice is the front runner. Lankans eat rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner along with curry.

39. There is a niche of music called Baila and people love it.

Listen to a sample of Baila music.

40. Sri Lanka flag contains a golden lion, surrounded by four golden leaves at four corners which represents Buddhism. The green and orange strips represent Islam and Hinduism respectively.

41. The Tooth Relic of Buddha is now located in a temple in Kandy.

Temple Of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy

Temple Of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy

42. Sri Lanka is crazy about cricket like India.

43. Sri Lanka’s most famous sporting moment came in 1996 when they beat Australia to win the cricket world cup.

44. Estimates of causalities during 2004 was predicted to be about 35000 to 40000.

45. In the Indian epic of Ramayana, the devil king who kidnaps the queen comes from Sri Lanka.

46. Also in that epic, Lord Ram builds a bridge between known as Ram Sethu South Indian and Sri Lanka with arrows (bigger version of darts).

47. During the civil war the Northern part known as Jaffna was declared independent by the rebellion group LTTE.

48. India’s Prime Minister then Rajiv Gandhi was killed by LTTE for taking a anti-LTTE stance.

49. In pre-historic time, people used to live in present caves of Dambulla.

50. Sri Lanka has only one international airport in Colombo.

51. Sri Lankas name in Sinhalese is “Shri Lanka Prajatantrika Samajavadi Janarajaya/Ilankai Jananayaka Choshalichak Kutiyarachu”. Try to say it.

52. Sinhalese have very long names. The average number of words in a person’s name is five.

53. The first woman Prime Minister in the world comes from Sri Lanka. Her name is Sirimavo Bandaranaike.

54. The most famous alcohol is Arrack which is made by fermenting either fruits, coconut, rice or sugarcane.

55. Sri Lanka has two medals in Olympics, both silver. One by Duncan White and the other by Susanthika (she finished the race 3rd but was awarded the silver after Marion Jones was disqualified for doping charges).

56. It is estimated that 20,000 elephants survive in Sri Lanka.

Elephants bathing in the river

Elephants bathing in the river

57. Like Indians, Sri Lankans also eat with hand.

58. The women eat their food after the men and kids finish their meals.

59. Cinnamon is so famous, that an area in Colombo is called Cinnamon Gardens.

60. There are casinos in Colombo.

61. The coconuts here are king sized.

62. String hoppers are rice noodle eaten for breakfast. Also accompanied by coconut sambol.

63. Every meal is accompanied with coconut sambol, a dish made from coconut. It’s called as Pol Sambol and easy to prepare.

64. If you have to make an international call to Sri Lanka prefix the number with +94 and dial.

65. Sri Lanka has a total of 8 UNESCO heritage sites.

66. Nuwara Eliya was summer home of the colonial rulers.

67. At Pinnawala elephant center, paper made from elephant dung is sold.

68. You can see Sigiriya from the top of Dambulla cave temple.

69. There is a KFC spoof known as Hot Pack in Galle.

Hot Pack is KFC's spoof located in Galle

Hot Pack is KFC’s spoof located in Galle

70. There are lot of monkeys in Anuradhapura.

71. During a festival in Katharagama, the men pierce their tongues and body with needles. Some even walk on red hot charcoal.

72. Government put a  ban establishments on beaches which are prone to high tides.

73. There are blue whale watching tours organized by Sri Lankan navy from Galle.

74. The sea port in Hambantota is being financed by the Chinese Government.

75. The famous Lipton tea was sourced from Sri Lanka by its founder.

76. The person who takes care of the temple elephants is called a Mahoot.

77. The Poya day, full moon day is a public holiday in Sri Lanka.

78. The most famous beer brand is Lion Lager.

If you know any more facts or trivia which is interesting, post it in the comments below.

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Sai Karthik Reddy Mekala

Karthik Reddy has been traveling around the world since completing his M.B.A in 2012. He is passionate about photography, trying out new food, meeting new people, experiencing different cultures and explore places solo.

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11 Responses

  1. Agness says:

    I went to Sri Lanka 2 years ago and let me tell you that I absolutely loved it!!!! I travelled by trains and been to almost all big cities and small town there. I was surprised that people were eating with hands, but I quickly got used to it and I did the same. Moreover, the food was served on a piece of newspaper – so weird!

  2. michaela says:

    hm… i was trying to google the info about the olympic games, but found only 1 woman, susanthika jayasinghe, winning silver on 200m in 2000.
    can you please, revise you info or let me know the second woman??? 🙂
    thank you thank you!

  3. Gobitha says:

    I am a Sri Lanka but I left Sri Lanka when I was 10 years old. I didn’t go to Sri Lanka after that but I know that they wrap food parcels in newspaper but never that people do serve snack in newspapers it’s so weird.
    I am going to ask my parents about this because I couldn’t believe it.

  4. udana says:

    Hi i am a Sri lankan, yes we serve snacks wrapped in news paper sheets, But that will depend on where you buy your food. if you buy from streets or from a lower end shop it will be like that, but the trend is changing. vendors can find old news papers free of charge so they use it as they do not want to pay extra for papers.

  5. Jenna says:

    There’s no such thing as women eating after husband & kids!

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