Location and Physical Features

Sri Lanka, an island in the Indian Ocean is located to the south of the Indian subcontinent. It lies between 5O 55' and 9O 55' north of the equator and between the eastern longitudes 79O 42' and 81O 52'. The total land area is 65,610 sq. km. and is astonishingly varied. A length of 445 km. and breadth of 225 km. encompasse beautiful tropical beaches, verdant vegetation, ancient monuments and a thousand delights to please all tastes. The relief features of the island consist of a mountainous mass somewhat south of the centre, with height exceeding 2,500 metres, surrounded by broad plains. Palm fringed beaches surround the island and the sea temperature rarely falls below 27OC.

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Climate and Seasons

In the lowlands the climate is typically tropical with an average temperature of 27OC in Colombo. In the higher elevations it can be quite cool with temperatures going down to 16OC at an altitude of nearly 2,000 metres. Bright, sunny warm days are the rule and are common even during the height of the monsoon - climatically Sri Lanka has no off season. The south west monsoon brings rain mainly from May to July to the western, southern and central regions of the island, while the north-east monsoon rains occur in the northern and eastern regions in December and January.

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Temperature Chart

  Jan-April May-August Sept-Dec
  Max. Min. Max. Min. Max. Min.
   Colombo 30OC 22OC 30OC 24OC 29OC 22OC
   Kandy 31OC 17OC 29OC 21OC 28OC 18OC
   Nuwara Eliya 21OC 14OC 18OC 16OC 18OC 15OC
   Trincomalee 32OC 24OC 33OC 25OC 33OC 23OC

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Economy

Sri Lanka is mainly an agricultural country. The chief crop is rice with which the country is almost self sufficient. Tea, rubber and coconut are also important agricultural crops, with tea being a major foreign exchange earner. In addition, other crops of importance are cocoa and spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, pepper and cloves. Fruit and vegetables, native to both tropical and temperate regions, grow well in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is also a major exporter of precious and semi-precious stones. Within the last few years remittances from Sri Lankans employed abroad have contributed a large share towards foreign exchange.

The last three decades have seen tourism emerge as an important industry. There has also been a rapid growth in manufacturing industries which offer a wide range of export goods such as petroleum products, leather goods, ready made garments and electronic equipment.

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Demography

Sri Lanka has a population of 18.5 million of whom the majority are Sinhalese (74%). Other ethnic groups are made up of Sri Lankan Tamils (12.6%), Indian Tamils (5.5%), Moors, Malays, Burghers (of Portuguese & Dutch descent) and others (7.9%).

Although Sri Lanka is a multi-religious country, Buddhists constitute the majority with 69.3%. Other religious groups are Hindus 15.5%, Muslims 7.6% and Christians 7.5%. Sri Lanka's literacy rate of 88.6% is one of the highest in Asia.

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Government

The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a free, independent and sovereign nation. A system of administration through provincial councils was introduced in 1988. Legislative power is exercised by Parliament, elected by universal franchise on a proportional representation basis. Executive power of the people, including defence, is exercised by the President, who is also elected by the people.

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Sports

Sri Lanka is a nation of sportsmen. Many clubs offer temporary membership to visitors and some of the games include Cricket, Tennis, Swimming, Golf, Canoeing, Rowing, Rafting, Diving and Windsurfing. Other water based recreational facilities for Water Skiing, Sailing, Boating, Fishing, Yachting and Coastal Cruising are available in most beach resorts.

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  Information provided by Sri Lanka Tourism Board.

 

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