-By Ranjith Chandrasiri-
Sri Lanka, where nature’s beauty remains abundant and unspoilt offers a combination of stunning landscapes, pristine beaches, captivating cultural heritage and unique experiences to the traveller. Within a compact area of just 65,610 kilometers lie 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites with a cultural heritage that extends back to over 2,500 years, 1,330 kilometers of coastline – much of it pristine beaches – 15 national parks showcasing an abundance of wildlife, nearly 500,000 acres of lush tea estates, 250 acres of botanical gardens, 350 waterfalls, 25,000 water bodies.
This is an island of magical proportions, once known as Serendib, Taprobane, the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, and Ceylon. In modern day English the term Serendipity denotes the property of making fortunate discoveries while looking for something unrelated. Today, Sri Lanka is no different. It is a land of serendipity, one where as you search for one moment of bliss you discover a thousand more.
Closely following the Buddhist tradition of conservation that dates back over 2,500 years, Sri Lanka is home to no fewer than nine national parks and seven bird sanctuaries. Sri Lanka is one of the few places on earth where the world’s largest land and sea mammals can be seen in a day. Home to the inimitable Asian Elephant, Sri Lanka’s southern ocean waters are the playground to the giants of the sea- the docile Blue Whales.
Sri Lanka offers over 1,300 kilometers of idyllic sandy beaches. With its year-round summer and two different weather systems, whatever the time of year, there’s always a beach with sunshine and a choice of clear blue sea or steady surf in the beautiful island of Sri Lanka.
To this day Sri Lanka’s centuries old heritage lives on, in the culture and the way of life of the Sri Lankan people. The rich tapestry of cultural practice, beliefs and the traditional way of life renews and revives this Island nation’s historic ties, creating an oasis of cultural richness in the modern day.
Exquisitely carved stone friezes, serene statues of Lord Buddha, dazzlingly decorated temples built into rocky overhangs, and feats of irrigation that amaze the world even today are just some of the treasures left by a proud civilization stretching back more than 2500 years.
The remains of Sri Lanka’s ancient and medieval civilizations — palaces, monasteries, shrines, water gardens and temples — bear witness to thriving kingdoms and to the influence of Buddhism.
It is time to discover the exotic beauty of Sri Lanka and it’s the mystical world of ancient History and culture.