Sri Lanka Nature Travels Hill Country Railway
 
 
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History and Background
The history of Sri Lanka stretches back over 2500 years, the first Sinhalese arrived in Sri Lanka late in the 6th century B.C. probably from northern India. Buddhism was introduced in about the mid-third century B.C., and a great civilization developed at the cities of Anuradhapura (kingdom from circa 200 B.C. to circa A.D. 1000) following the advent of Buddhism in the3rd Century BC, a civilization rich in Indo Aryan culture took root. It produced the great cities with their Dagabas which compare, and even exceed in size, the pyramids of Egypt, palaces and pleasure gardens, a rich art and architecture and the gigantic irrigation works, many of which are still in use today.
Sri Lanka History
And Polonnaruwa (from about 1070 to 1200). In the 14th century, a south Indian dynasty established a Tamil kingdom in northern Sri Lanka. The coastal areas of the island were controlled by the Portuguese in the 16th century and by the Dutch in the 17th century. The island was ceded to the British in 1796, became a crown colony in 1802, and was united under British rule by 1815. As Ceylon, it became independent in 1948; its name was changed to Sri Lanka in 1972. Tensions between the Sinhalese majority and Tamil separatists erupted into war in 1983. After two decades of fighting, the government and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) formalized a cease-fire in February 2002 with Norway brokering peace negotiations. Violence between the LTTE and government forces intensified in 2006 and the government regained control of the Eastern Province in 2007. In May 2009, the government announced that its military had finally defeated the remnants of the LTTE and that its leader, Velupillai PRABHAKARAN, had been killed.
Geography
An island of approx. 65,610 sq lands: 64,740 sq km water: 870 sq km. Sri Lanka lies in the Indian Ocean off the southern tip of the coast of India. It lies between 5° 55' and 9°55' north of the equator and between the eastern longitudes 79° 42' and 81° 52'. Lowest point is Indian Ocean 0 m and highest point is Pidurutalagala 2,524. The coastline gives way to lowland plains, growing rice and coconut. In the mid country Rubber vies the gems, while green carpets of tea clothe the central mountain ranges reaching heights of some 2,432 meters.
Sri Laka Geography
Climate
Sri Lanka has no marked seasons. A special feature is that the hot and humid lowlands and the salubrious hill country are separated by a few hours motoring. Average mean temperature along the coast is 26.7 C (80 F) and 19.7 C (66.50 F) in the hill country. In Colombo, the commercial capital, situated on the west coast, the temperature varies from 26.4 C (79.5 F) to 27.8 C (82.12 F). Relative Humidity varies from 70% during the day to 90% at night. 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 meters. 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 main
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.
Sri Lanka Climate
Climate Chart
Area
Jan - April
May - August
Sept - December
Max.
Min.
Max.
Min.
Max.
Min.

  Colombo

300C
220C
300C
240C
290C
220C

  Kandy

310C
170C
290C
210C
280C
180C

  Nuwaraeliya

210C
140C
180C
160C
180C
150C

  Trincomalee

320C
240C
330C
250C
330C
230C
Population
Nearly 19 million, 74% Sinhalese, 18% Tamils, 8% Moors, Malays, Burghers, Literacy rate average 80% - one of the highest in Asia.
Sri Lanka People
Language

Place names and signboards are in the national languages and often in English.  Official languages - Sinhala, Tamil and English. National languages - Sinhala and Tamil

 
Dress Code

Sri Lankan dress styles are generally relaxed. Visitors should consider the religion and the culture of the people when they choose the dress code. Visitors should be modestly dressed to shrines, temples and other sacred places . A knee-length dress is accepted . Hats and footwear must be removed prior to entering Buddhist and Hindu shrines. Swimwear is not acceptable in public places. Also, nudism and topless bathing by females is prohibited.

 
Religions
Predominantly Buddhism but also Hinduism, Islam and Christianity
Temple, Kovil, Mosque, Church
Festivals
Owing to the variety of religions faiths, Sri Lanka has frequent colourful and elaborate festivals. A highlight among these is the Kandy Esala Perahara, Which is held in the full-moon month of Esala (July/August). This 10-day event builds up to a crescendo of dancing, drumming and parades of richly caparisoned elephants. At about the same time of year another elaborate festival is held at Kataragama in the south, where days of frenetic activity culminate in devotees walking across beds of glowing cinders.
Kandy Perahera
Beaches
For Many visitors, there's one destination that looms large on any trip to Sri Lanka: the beach. Swaying coconut palms, glistening white sand, shimmering waters - it's the ultimate escape from bleak winters and drab cities. Hikkaduwa and Unawatuna have long, clean beaches lined with restaurants, and Mirissa is so laid-back and the water is so clear, you'll never want to leave.
Sri Lanka Beaches
Hill Country
The Hill country is a different world: tea plantation, colonial bungalows with fire-places, crisp mountain air - all within hours of tropical coast. There is plenty of potential in the hills for keen walkers, and there are tea factories to visit, while the must-do train rides will wind you through exquisite landscapes, An evening stroll by Kandy's lake is a must. For a quieter option choose the tiny Ella nestled in the hills, with stunning views to the plains.
Hill Country
Visa
Most nationalities receive a tourist visa on arrival which is valid for 30 days. Visa extensions can be made at the Department of Immigration in Colombo. The office is open 9 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. Monday to Friday. Although visa application should be forwarded before 1030 A.M
Videoing & Photography
Generally photography is permitted. However some restriction should be followed for photography especially with statues of worship, some religious sites may require prior permission. Videoing and photography of military and governmental buildings are strictly prohibited.
Prohibited Exports
ese include antiques, all indigenous non-domesticated animals, and certain endemic plants, fish and amphibians. The law strictly prohibits trading or possessing protected wild fauna and flora.
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