Sri Lanka – A Land of Never Ending Wonders
The Pearl of the Indian Ocean is another of the multitude of names of this wonderland surrounded by around 1600 kms coast line most of which is pristine, sublime palm-fringed golden beaches. It is small in size but it is enormous in diversity. Be it culture, be it nature, be it heritage, be it wild life, be it the lush mountains and sweeping plains, be it mystifying waterfalls or free flowing rivers, be it ancient embodiments or world heritage sites, be it modern luxurious hotels to colonial cottages, be it modern health care hospitals to the holistic Ayurveda treatments done only by the natures way, be it the multi-functional corner store to the envious modern malls, be it food and our own fresh tea we have it all packaged within a mere 65,332 Sqkms.
It is simply a gift of God for all the wonders within it.
Sri Lanka is a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities. Though predominantly a Buddhist country it is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural society which also includes Tamils, Muslims & Malays, Christians & Catholics, Burghers of European descent to a sprinkling of Chinese and Chetties from South India. This amazing diversity is perhaps the result of traders from all over the world descending in Sri Lanka in the ancient past and to the Portuguese, Dutch and British Colonial masters ruling Sri Lanka in the more recent past. Whatever is their situation in society, whatever is their religion, whatever is their ethnicity, the ever smiling sons and daughters of Sri Lanka possess a warm and friendly nature ever prepared to help. Sri Lankans are among the most hospitable people of Asia and take pride in inviting and hosting even the unknown people to their homes.
Sri Lanka is synonymous for the most famous of all teas the world over - Çeylon Tea, which is grown in over 500,000 acres spread across the central & southern midlands and climbing and snaking on to the misty mountains of the central hills. The cup of tea on your table is the result of a tedious and selective process from hand-plucking two tender leaves and a bud just when the sun rises to the production tables of the hundreds of factories strewn across the lush greentea bushes mostly lying alongside the multitude of flowing rivers and waterways.
Wild life is as diverse as all others. Boasting of no less than 14 national parks and sanctuaries which are spread across this wonderland is home to 91 mammals of which 16 are endemic. This is certainly a nature and wild life lovers paradise. The inhabitants of this vast collection of sanctuaries and reserves is truly diverse from the majestic asian elephants, the leopard, spotted deer, sambhur to the variety of monkeys and macaques. Animals and mammals are not alone as Sri lanka is a dream destination for ornithologists with no less than 233 resident species including around 30-plus endemic species and during the winter monthsin north Americas and Europe the migratory species swell the numbers to over 450. To add to the mammals and the birds, there are no less than 171 reptiles of which more than a 100 are endemic.
The pearl of the Indian ocean is surrounded by the sea and is also blessed with a multitude of rivers, lakes, lagoons, canals interspaced with breathtaking waterfalls in the mist-laced high lands in the centre of the island. All these offers the water-sports lovers a virtual one-stop-shop. The variety of water-sports include wind-surfing, water-skiing, surfing, sailing, scuba-diving (including wreck-diving), snorkeling, speed-boating, white water rafting or simply basking in the golden rays of the sun. The choice is enormous as is the diversity. Whale watching at close quarters is a must and is once-in-a lifetime experience.
In Sri Lanka accommodation options are yet again diverse as is the culture and varied as its wild life. From the palatial suites and large rooms to choose from luxurious hotels to the numerous boutique hotels or the high ceilinged iconic colonial styled hotels to the beach-side resorts and cabanas. The choice is endless. And so is the price. Sri Lanka is in a position to welcome and entertain tourists of all walks of life and all spending types. This paradise island is generally blessed with impressive hotels usually situated in stunning settings. The coastal areas, especially the East, West and South have innumerable resort hotels, where package tourists mostly stay. The hill-country towns such as Kandy, NuwaraEliya and Bandarawela have a few iconic colonial era hotels and the modern day 5-star luxury out-fits. All these are supplemented by a variety of low cost eco-friendly smaller hotels catering to those who venture farther afield, perhaps to indulge in adventure sports. Some of these are beautifully converted colonial period estate bungalows and tea factories in tea and rubber plantations.
A visit to our paradise isle is never complete with indulging in a bit of shopping for shopping in Sri Lanka can take many forms: haggling with a handicraft-seller while sunbathing on the beach to pick-and-choose ripe fruit from a road-side vendor or checking out the bargain-priced latest international fashions (Sri Lanka is a major garment exporter) while enjoying the ambience of a luxurious shopping centre in Colombo showcasing an impressive list of international fashion brands.
Last but certainly not least, Sri Lanka which has thus far given the world the three of largest blue sapphires also offers a wide variety of precious stones. The range of gem stones include blue sapphires, star sapphires, rubies, cat’s eye, garnets, moonstones, aquamarines and topazes. They are but a dazzling handful.
Discover your Sri Lanka !