Sri Lanka, an island country in the Indian Ocean, might be small in size but is full of pleasant surprises. Sri Lanka’s cultural wealth and natural beauty are mentioned in many accounts of ancient travelers. Even today, visitors from around the world flock to this country in thousands to explore its intriguing history, culture, and wildlife. Some of the most fascinating facts associated with Sri Lanka has been mentioned below.
10. The World’s First Female Prime Minister Is From Sri Lanka
Sirima R. D. Bandaranaike was the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka for three terms dated 1960 to 1965, 1970 to 1977, and 1994 to 2000. She is modern history’s first non-hereditary female head of government. She was born in 1916 to an aristocratic Kandyan family. After completing her education, Bandaranaike participated in various social activities before she married and raised a family. She became the Prime Minister of the country following the assassination of her husband, the then incumbent Prime Minister, in 1959.
9. Sri Lanka Is Called The Teardrop Of India
The island country of Sri Lanka is nicknamed “The Teardrop of India” because of its unique teardrop shape in the Indian Ocean just south of the Indian Peninsula. Sri Lanka also has another name “Pearl of the Indian Ocean" based on its geography.
8. The Oldest Known Human-Planted Tree Is In Sri Lanka
The sacred fig or bodhi tree of Sri Lanka is regarded as the world’s oldest human-planted tree. It is believed to be 2,300 years old. Named Sri Maha Bodhiya, the tree stands in Anuradhapura where it was planted in 288 BC. Accounts mention that the mother tree of the Sri Maha Bodhiya was none other than the tree under which Lord Buddha attained enlightenment.
7. Sri Lanka Protects The Relic Of The Tooth Of The Buddha
Sri Lanka is a major pilgrimage location for Buddhists and that is not surprising. In addition to the Maha Bodhi tree, the country also has the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy. It is a holy site inside the royal palace complex of the former Kingdom of Kandy where the relic of the tooth of the Buddha is kept. It is believed that one who holds the relic rules Sri Lanka. This belief of association of power with the relic has led to a lot of politics being associated with the relic.
6. Sri Lanka Gave The World The Term “Serendipity” -
Ages ago, the island of Sri Lanka was called Serendip by Persians and Arabs who came to know about its existence through trading. The name was of Arabic origin. It was used as early as 361 AD. A Persian fairy tale called “The Three Princes of Serendip” was also written describing heroes from Serendip who often made chance discoveries. In the 18th century, Horace Walpole, an English writer, politician, and art historian was inspired by the fairytale to coin the term “serendipity” to describe discoveries made by chance.
5. Both The Largest Land Mammal And Largest Marine Mammal Can Be Seen In Sri Lanka
Despite its small size and separation from mainland Asia, Sri Lanka is host to an incredible diversity of flora and fauna. It has one of the world’s highest rates of endemism where 23% of the flowering plants and 16% of the animals are endemic. It is also one of the world’s 25 biodiversity hotspots. The Sri Lankan elephant, Sri Lankan sloth bear, Sri Lankan leopard, civets, porcupines, dugongs, dolphins, whales, and many other animals live in the terrestrial, freshwater, and marine habitats of the country. It is said that in Sri Lanka it is possible to spot the largest terrestrial mammal (elephant) and largest marine mammal (blue whale) in one day.
4. Sri Lanka Has Breathtaking Landscapes
Sri Lanka is one of the world’s most scenic destinations. 103 rivers criss-cross the country and give birth to 51 natural waterfalls that are more than 10 m tall. The 263 m tall Bambarakanda Falls is the tallest in the country. Sri Lanka has 1,585 km long coastline whose adjacent waters support a variety of coastal ecosystems including fringing coral reefs and estuarine seagrasses. Dazzling beaches decorate the coastline of Sri Lanka. The country has over 40 lagoons and 45 estuaries. Sri Lanka has 7,000 hectares of the mangrove ecosystem. Mountains rise in the south-central part of the country. It also has verdant forests and fertile tea plantations.
3. A Bridge Linked India And Sri Lanka In Ancient Times
Rama Setu or Adam’s Bridge is a chain of limestone shoals linking the Rameswaram Island of India to the Mannar Island of Sri Lanka. Geologists believe that these are the remnants of a land connection between the two countries hundreds of years back. This bridge is 48 km long and separates the Palk Strait from the Gulf of Mannar. It is possible that people could walk between India and Sri Lanka using this bridge until the 15th century when a cyclone sunk the bridge.
2. Sri Lanka Has One Of The World’s Spiciest Cuisines And A Highly Prevalent Tea Culture
For centuries, Sri Lanka has been known for its spices, especially cinnamon which is native to the country. Sri Lankans use spices liberally in their dishes. The Sri Lankan dishes are influenced by indigenous, Indian, European, and Persian cuisines. The cooking methods and ingredients also vary widely throughout the country. The high use of a variety of chili peppers makes the country’s cuisine one of the spiciest in the world.
Sri Lankans love to have tea throughout the day. Tea is also offered to all guests who visit Sri Lankan homes. The internationally famous Ceylon Tea is from this country.
1. Birds Have A Special Place In The Hearts Of Sri Lankans
Sri Lankans rever and love birds. In many villages, homes have nests to house sparrows which are believed to bring good luck to the people. Peacock is considered to be a sacred bird. Many other birds like swans and parrots are associated with the divine in Sri Lanka. Local gods are believed to have these birds as their vehicles.
About the Author
Oishimaya is an Indian native, currently residing in Kolkata. She has earned her Ph.D. degree and is presently engaged in full-time freelance writing and editing. She is an avid reader and travel enthusiast and is sensitively aware of her surroundings, both locally and globally. She loves mingling with people of eclectic cultures and also participates in activities concerning wildlife conservation.
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