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About Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a teardrop-shaped island in the Indian Ocean, located just below the Southern tip of India, North of the equator.
See Detailed Map of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka enjoys a tropical climate. The bi-annual monsoon rains provide the only seasonal variations that one may experience. Colombo and the South West experience rain from April to May and September to October while the East coast gets its share of rainfall from November to January.
Due to its location being closer to the equator, the temperature tends to remain high throughout the year (with the exception of the hill country). The average temperature in Colombo is 27 degrees centigrade (80 degrees Fahrenheit) and is accompanied by high levels of humidity. The temperature and climate tends to vary in different parts of the island, based on the terrain. As you go higher up the mountainous regions such Nuwara Eliya, the temperature averages 16 degrees centigrade (61 degrees Fahrenheit).
The chronicled history of Sri Lanka dates back to over 2,500 years. Due to its strategic location in the Indian Ocean, the country had established trade and cultural links with many ancient civilisations. Throughout history, it has been known by different names. To the Greeks it was Taprobane, to the Arabs Serendib and Ceilao to the Portuguese! The Dutch and the British called it Zeylan and Ceylon respectively. Its present name, Sri Lanka stands for "The Resplendent Isle".
Sri Lanka's multi-ethnic population is approximately 19 million. With the majority being Sinhalese (72%), Tamils, Muslims and Burghers (descendants of Dutch and Portuguese) consist of 19%, 8% and 1% respectively. Sri Lankans, no matter the race or creed, are renowned for their friendly temperament.
The four major religions are:
Buddhism - followed by 69% of the population
Hinduism - followed by 13% of the population
Islam - followed by 8% of the population
Christianity - followed by 7% of the population
The most commonly-spoken languages in Sri Lanka are Sinhala, Tamil and English. However, many travellers to this country have been pleasantly surprised to see that most people at least speak a few of English.
The Sri Lankan Rupee (Rs.) is divided into 100 cents. The coins and notes fall into the following denominations:
Coins: 1 Rupee, 2 Rupees, 5 Rupees and 10 Rupees
Notes: 10 Rupees, 20 Rupees, 50 Rupees, 100 Rupees, 500 Rupees, 1,000 Rupees, 2,000 Rupees and 5,000 rupees