SRI LANKA – GENERAL INFORMATION
At present, some 20.5 million people are living on the beautiful island of Sri Lanka, a Sinhalese term meaning „radiantly beautiful island near India“. Also, in Sanskrit, it transcribes as „venerable island“. An earlier name of Sri Lanka’s was Ceylon. Since 1972, the island state in the Indian Ocean bears the official designation of „The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka“. There are many names and interpretations in many languages and eras for this island which was even in antiquity known as a naval hub for many nations. Sri Lanka is the link between West and Southeast Asia.
One translation is „radiantly beautiful land“, and in our opinion that closely reflects today´s reality of the island. For once, because of all its multicolored glory and complexity and its smiling inhabitants. But also because of the hard times hopefully passed forever from this pearl of the Indian Ocean and replaced by a nation-wide spirit of optimism for the future.
The island of Sri Lanka lies in the Indian Ocean in a southeastern direction from the Indian sub-continent, between latitudes 6° and 10°N and longitudes 79° and 82°E. It has a north-southern length of some 445 kilometres and an east-west length of some 225 kilometres. It is separated from India by the Palk Strait and the Gulf of Mannar.
There are three distinct landscapes dividing the island: the central highlands rising up to 2500 metres containing the world famous tea plantations, the lowland plains, and the coastal areas with their palm beaches and fishing villages.
The central highlands located in the southern central regions are the heartlands of Sri Lanka. Its highest mountain is the Pidurutalagala with a height of 2,524 metres. However, the Sri Prada mountain (with a height of 2,243 metres) has the highest spiritual importance for the various religions.
Large tropical plains rising between 30 and 200 metres above sea level dominate the island´s surface. In the southwestern region, mountain ridges and valleys are easing into the central highlands. Laterite-covered plains and hills are found in the southeastern region. The transition from the plain to the central highlands is abrupt which makes the mountains appear like some giant wall. The northern and eastern plains are quite flat.
The island is surrounded by a coastal belt rising some 30 metres above sea level. Sri Lanka´s coasts consist mostly of sand beaches.
More information about Sri Lanka at this site.