Sri Lanka: A paradise lost in the Indian Ocean
Posted on April 20, 2016
Sri Lanka, the tear-drop shaped country lying just south of the Indian peninsula, is said to be one of the most charming islands in the world. Discovered by Marco Polo, it is home to lovely beaches; plantations of tea, coffee, spices; lush jungles inhabited by elephants and leopards; and so on.
Surrounded by the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka has diverse landscapes from beaches to jungles to hilly terrains, which are dotted with coffee and tea plantations. It is rich in history with many monuments, particularly Buddhist ones, and ruined remnants of civilizations. Although a small nation, Sri Lanka is a multicultural land with different facets.
Northern Sri Lanka is home to Hindu civilization, where a lot of Tamil-speaking people live. Otherwise, the lingua franca of the rest of Sri Lanka is Sinhalese, said to have been derived from Sanskrit.
This island nation, originally known as Ceylon, was the battlefield of a bloody civil war fought between Sinhalese and Tamils from 1983 to 2009. All that is, however, part of history, and tranquility is more or less restored there now.
A trip to Sri Lanka has to begin in its capital city, Colombo, a modern metropolis with a lively night life. Colonial architecture resides along with the Oriental in this city, a home to plush hotels, museums, cafes, et al.
Sri Lanka’s more popular beaches lie on its west coast where there are numerous resort hotels. Some other well-known destinations, such as the Kalpitiya peninsula and Wilpattu National Park, are to the north of Colombo. On the southern coast is the quaint, attractive city of Galle, beyond which lie places such as Tangalla and Matara, a provincial capital. To the east of Matara lies Tissamaharama, close to Yala and Bundala national parks, and also Kataragama, a temple town.
To the northeast of Colombo and in the hilly lands, lie the tea plantations. Sri Lanka’s second largest city, Kandy, lies almost at its heart. Kandy is home to the Temple of the Tooth and is also the venue for the country’s most popular festival, Esala Perahera. To the south of this location lies Nuwara Eliya, a British colonial town. From here, one can head to the renowned Horton Plains National Park.
Other attractions include the old cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa. History buffs would do well to head to the cave temples of Dambulla, close to Polonnaruwa.
These are but a few of the not-to-be-missed places to visit in Sri Lanka. There are many more, which are waiting for adventurous tourists to discover them.