- GENERAL INFORMATION
- ARGRICULTURE & ECONOMY
- FLORA AND FAUNA
Officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island country in the northern Indian Ocean off the southeast coast of the Indian subcontinent in South Asia. Sri Lanka has maritime borders with India to the northwest and the Maldives to the southwest with geographical area 65,610 km2 . According to Hindu mythology, a land bridge existed between the Indian mainland and Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka, once known as the British Crown Colony of Ceylon, became independent in 1948, although it remained under dominion status. Its 1972 constitution proclaimed it an independent republic, and changed the country’s name. Finally, in 1978, a new constitution officially declared the island the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. Administrative capital or Sri Lanka is Sri Jayewardenepura, where as commercial capital is Colombo. Sinhalese and Tamil are the two official languages of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is tropical, with distinct dry and wet seasons. The seasons are slightly complicated by having two monsoons. From May to August the Yala monsoon brings rain to the island’s southwestern half, while the dry season here lasts from December to March. The southwest has the highest rainfall – up to 4000mm a year. The Maha monsoon blows from October to January, bringing rain to the North and East,. The weather in plains and the coastal areas is very hot and often humid with an average monthly temperature of 27 degrees Celsius. Relative Humidity varies from approximately 70% during the day to 90% at night. The hills are much cooler with an average temperature of around 20 degrees Celsius .
The main economic sectors of the country are tourism, tea export, apparel, textile, rice production and other agricultural products. Rice is cultivated during Maha and Yala seasons. Tea is cultivated in the central highlands and is a major source of foreign exchange. Vegetables, fruits and oilseed crops are also cultivated in the country. Oilseed crops such as Groundnut, Sesame, Sunflower and Mustard are also cultivated in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka’s major exports include tea, apparels, ceramics and porcelain. Other agricultural exports are rubber, spices, and coconuts and in recent times foliage plants and flowers are also being exported.
Sri Lanka is one of 25 biodiversity hotspots in the world. Although the country is relatively small in size, it has the highest biodiversity density in Asia. remarkably high proportion of the species among its flora and fauna, 27% of the 3,210 flowering plants and 22% of the mammals, are endemic. The plant life ranges from that of the equatorial rain forest to that of the dry zone and the more temperate climate of the highlands. Tree ferns, bamboo, palm, satinwood, ebony, and jak trees abound.
Sri Lanka has 86 species of mammals including leopards, monkey and the pride of place goes to the majestic elephant. Many species of deer – the Sambhur, the Hog Deer, the Mouse deer can also be seen in the Parks.Other mammals include the Sloth Bear, the protected Dugong, the Wild Boar, the Porcupine and Monkeys, especially the Grey Langur, which are common throughout the island. Of special interest is the endemic purple faced Leaf Monkey, found in the higher hill regions. The Ceylon elk ( sambhur ) and the polonga snake are unique to Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka is a paradise for birds providing home to more than 400 bird species. During various periods very year, August to April in particular, several species of foreign birds visit Sri Lanka.
Birlife includes Sri Lanka Spurfowl ,the vibrant Sri Lanka Blue Magpie,Indian Pitta, Pied Thrush, Kashmir Flycatcher, while the rare Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush is one of many hill endemics. Sri Lanka endemics, highlights being Red-faced Malkoha, Layard’s Parakeet, Green-billed Coucal, Sri Lanka Frogmouth and the recently described Serendib Scops Owl, Marshall’s Iora,
Sri Lanka has serval species of large reptiles, including 83 species of snakes, five of them poisonous. From the large variety of reptiles found here, 75 of them are endemic. The Saltwater Crocodile, Star Tortoise, Leatherback Turtle, Rock Python, Water Monitor and Land Lizard.
Sri Lanka has 54 species of fish, are found in the waterways and marshands, including scissor-tail barb and the ornate paradise fish. There are myriad clourful tropical marine fish. There are 38 species of amphibia found in Sri Lanka. Out of these, 16 are unique to the island. Nannophyrs, an endemic genus, is found in the Hill Country.
Sri Lanka is a multi-religious society. Though Buddhism is the major religion, other religions such as Hinduism, Christianity and Islam are also followed. About 70% of the population follows Buddhism. Buddhism came to Sri Lanka from India during the reign of Ashoka in third century BC and played a significant role in the establishment of Sinhalese kingdoms. About 70% of the population follows Buddhism. Buddhism came to Sri Lanka from India during the reign of Ashoka in third century BC and played a significant role in the establishment of Sinhalese kingdoms. Muslims comprise nearly 7% of Sri Lanka’s population. Christianity first came to Sri Lanka upon the arrival of the Portuguese in the sixteenth century.