Sri Lanka – The small Miracle
There is no island in the world that has attracted the so much attention of explorers, authors and geographers as Sri Lanka has during the ages.
The Greeks called it Thaproban, The Macedonians Serendib, The Portuguese Zeilan, The Dutch Ceylan & finally the English called it Ceylon. Today this “island in the sun” located 50 degrees north of the equator in the Indian Ocean, is called Sri Lanka, The wonder of Asia.
Sri Lanka has a rich and diverse history spanning nearly 2,500 years, ever since prince Vijaya landed not far from modern day Puttalum. The very first settlers selected river valleys as settlements, though these Aryan’s already knew the basics of irrigation it reached new heights in Sri Lanka with the introduction of Buddhism to the island in the 3rd century BC. For the next 1,500 years here thrived an ancient civilization building stupendous monuments out of rocks, giant stupa’s aimed at the heavens along with dams and reservoirs to stock rain water for cultivation, which are in use to this day.
The very first time the island of Sri Lanka is mentioned in European literature, is when Alexander the great returned home from his Indian expeditions, where his pilot “Onesicritus” has mentioned about the island of “Taprobane” (Modern Sri Lanka) as a pendant in his travel records. Then Pliny the Elder of the lower empire of Rome, dedicates a whole paragraph on his book of Natural History in 45 AD, and down the ages many famous ancient travellers have set foot on this island of Sri Lanka from the famed artesian of the silk route Marco Polo to Plato, who is famous for his fable on the mythical empire of Atlantis.
During the Middle Ages Sri Lanka became an important trading hub on the famed “Silk route”, and when the European nations tried to break the choke hold the Ottoman – Arabs had on spice trade setting sail around the world in search for new sea routes to the east. The fleet of Caravels setting sail from Portugal under Capitan Dom Lourenço De Almeida , accidently arrived in the port of Gall 1505 AD, which forever changed the course of history for Sri Lanka. The next four hundred years saw the island changing hands from Portuguese to Dutch and finally the British, at the same time the last Monarch of Sri Lanka was exiled in 1815 ending the dynastic rule of this island.
Portuguese were interested in two things spice and spreading Christianity, though acts of piracy were not above them. The Dutch who arrived in 1650 were more traders & docile than the Portuguese. Much of the colonial architecture preserved are achievements of the Dutch including the UNESCO World heritage of Galle fort. The English were more sinister in their conquest of the island, with long term domination of the nation’s populations and promoting export import based economy in place of the traditional self sufficient home grown one. This led to many rebellions under the British rule which were put down brutally and the brutality of handling 1848 rebellion caught the attention of Downing Street, which led to the dismissal of the colonial secretary. Sri Lanka received independence from the British on the 04th of February 1948 and is currently governed as 25 districts within 09 provinces under a democratically elected government based in Colombo and HE Mahinda Rajapakse is the current president of Democratic Socialist republic of Sri Lanka.
Modern Sri Lanka
Today Sri Lanka gets the same kind of attention as it got as a tropical paradise like no other world, where a tourist can move from a tropical beach to a chilly salubrious climate very much like the temperate zone in a matter of hours. Whether its ancient civilizations that interests you or wildlife safaris, to see leopards and elephant herds roaming carefree and wild Sri Lanka has it all. Sri Lanka boasts of no less than eight (08) UNESCO world heritage sites.
Sri Lankan families are children friendly making it an ideal destination for parents with kids, with so many beaches to select from you’ll be swamped by the sheer number of activities that are available to you from the beach to the hills from adventure to therapeutic, whatever your requirement is you’ll find a destination in Sri Lankan that caters to it.
This is a compilation of destination reviews and what’s hot in Sri Lanka along with “note to travellers” advising you the do’s and the don’ts while holidaying in this paradise isle of Asia. The information contained herein is updated regularly and should you require any help feel free to contact me on your travel planning, ranging from itineraries’ to accommodation.