Sri Lanka Picks

Sri Lanka is an island nation located in South Asia, separated from the southeastern coast of India by the Palk Strait. It lies between latitudes 5°55′ and 9°51′ N, and longitudes 79°42′ and 81°53′ E. The country’s strategic location in the Indian Ocean has made it a hub of maritime trade and cultural exchange throughout history.



Sri Lanka experiences a tropical climate with distinct wet and dry seasons. The southwest monsoon brings heavy rainfall to the southwestern region from May to September, while the northeast monsoon affects the northern and eastern parts of the island from December to February. The central highlands enjoy a cooler climate year-round, with temperatures averaging around 15-20°C (59-68°F).


Sri Lanka is renowned for its diverse wildlife, with many endemic species found nowhere else in the world. The island is home to elephants, leopards, sloth bears, and a wide variety of bird species, including the Sri Lankan junglefowl, the national bird. Several national parks and wildlife reserves, such as Yala National Park and Wilpattu National Park, offer opportunities for wildlife viewing and conservation.

Longest Rivers

The longest river in Sri Lanka is the Mahaweli, which flows for approximately 335 kilometers (208 miles) from the central highlands to the eastern coast. Other major rivers include the Kelani, which flows through the capital city of Colombo, and the Kalu, which traverses the southwestern region of the island.

Highest Mountains

Sri Lanka’s highest mountains are located in the central highlands, known as the “Hill Country.” The tallest peak is Pidurutalagala, rising to an elevation of 2,524 meters (8,281 feet) above sea level. Other notable mountains include Kirigalpotta, Thotupola Kanda, and Adam’s Peak, which is revered as a sacred site by multiple religious communities.



Sri Lanka has a rich archaeological heritage dating back over 30,000 years, with evidence of human settlements found in cave complexes such as Fa-Hien Lena and Batadombalena. The island was inhabited by various indigenous peoples, including the Vedda, who are believed to be the descendants of the island’s earliest inhabitants.

Ancient Period

The recorded history of Sri Lanka begins with the arrival of Indo-Aryan settlers from northern India around the 6th century BCE. The island was ruled by several ancient kingdoms, including the Anuradhapura Kingdom and the Polonnaruwa Kingdom, which left behind impressive monuments such as the ancient cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, as well as the iconic rock fortress of Sigiriya.

Colonial Era

Sri Lanka came under colonial rule with the arrival of European powers in the 16th century. The Portuguese were the first to establish control over coastal areas, followed by the Dutch and finally the British, who gained control of the entire island by the early 19th century. British colonial rule had a profound impact on Sri Lankan society, economy, and culture.

Independence and Modern Age

Sri Lanka gained independence from British rule in 1948 and became a republic in 1972, adopting the name Sri Lanka and establishing Colombo as its capital. The country has since grappled with ethnic tensions between the majority Sinhalese and minority Tamil communities, culminating in a protracted civil war that lasted from 1983 to 2009. Following the end of the conflict, Sri Lanka has focused on reconciliation, development, and strengthening its democratic institutions.


Sri Lanka has a population of approximately 21 million people, comprising various ethnic groups, including Sinhalese, Tamils, Moors, and Burghers. The majority of the population is Sinhalese, who are predominantly Buddhist, while the Tamil community includes both Hindus and Muslims. The official languages are Sinhala and Tamil, with English widely used for administrative and commercial purposes.

Administrative Divisions

Sri Lanka is divided into nine provinces, each with its own provincial council and administrative structure. Here are the administrative divisions along with their respective populations:

  1. Western Province – Population: 6.1 million
  2. Central Province – Population: 2.6 million
  3. Southern Province – Population: 2.4 million
  4. Northern Province – Population: 1.2 million
  5. Eastern Province – Population: 1.6 million
  6. North Central Province – Population: 1.2 million
  7. North Western Province – Population: 2.4 million
  8. Sabaragamuwa Province – Population: 2.1 million
  9. Uva Province – Population: 1.5 million

10 Largest Cities by Population

The largest cities in Sri Lanka by population are:

  1. Colombo – Population: 650,000
  2. Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia – Population: 210,000
  3. Moratuwa – Population: 185,000
  4. Jaffna – Population: 89,000
  5. Negombo – Population: 150,000
  6. Kandy – Population: 125,000
  7. Kalmunai – Population: 110,000
  8. Vavuniya – Population: 75,000
  9. Galle – Population: 100,000
  10. Trincomalee – Population: 95,000

Education Systems

Education in Sri Lanka is free and compulsory for children aged 5 to 16, and is provided by the state as well as private institutions. The country has a well-established educational system, with a network of schools, colleges, and universities offering a wide range of programs and degrees. Sri Lanka is home to several prestigious universities, including the University of Colombo, University of Peradeniya, and University of Moratuwa, which rank among the top institutions in the region.



Sri Lanka has several international airports, with Bandaranaike International Airport near Colombo being the largest and busiest. Other significant airports include Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport in Hambantota and Ratmalana Airport in Colombo.


Sri Lanka has an extensive railway network operated by Sri Lanka Railways, connecting major cities and towns across the island. The main line runs from Colombo to Badulla, passing through scenic landscapes and historic towns. The total length of the railway network is approximately 1,508 kilometers (937 miles).


Sri Lanka has a network of highways and expressways, including the Southern Expressway and the Colombo-Kandy Expressway, which connect major cities and regions across the island. The total length of the highway network is approximately 12,000 kilometers (7,456 miles).


Sri Lanka has several major ports, including the Port of Colombo, which is one of the busiest container ports in South Asia. Other significant ports include the Port of Hambantota, the Port of Trincomalee, and the Port of Galle.

Country Facts

  • Population: 21 million
  • Capital: Colombo
  • Languages: Sinhala, Tamil, English
  • Religion: Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity
  • Ethnicity: Sinhalese, Tamil, Moor, Burgher
  • Currency: Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR)
  • ISO Country Code: LK
  • International Calling Code: +94
  • Top-Level Domain: .lk