Known as Serendib, Taprobane, the pearl of the Indian Ocean, and Ceylon, Sri Lanka offers a diversity of attractions to suit each visitor's individual taste, be it nature, history, culture, adventure or golden beaches.

Within a mere area of 65,610 kilometres lie 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 330 kilometres of coastline - much of it pristine beach - 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, to a culture that extends back to over 2,500 years.

Official name:

Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

Government type:



Latitude 5° 55. to 9° 50. north, longitude 79° 42. to 81° 52., 650 km north of the equator


430 km north to south, 225 km east to west


1,340 km


65,525 km

Currency (code):

Sri Lankan rupee (LKR)


4 February 1948

Administrative capital:

Sri Jayewardenapura

Commercial capital:


Administrative divisions:

9 provinces; Central, North Central, North Eastern, North Western, Sabaragamuwa, Southern, Uva, Western, Eastern Province


Tropical, with a northeast monsoon (December to March) bringing unsettled weather to the north and east, and a southwest monsoon (June to October) bringing bad weather to the south and west


Mostly low, flat to rolling plain; mountains in south-central interior

Highest mountain:

Pidurutalagala, 2,524m

Highest waterfall:

Bambarakanda, 263m

National Flower

The Blue Water Lily (Nymphaea stellata)

National parks and nature reserves area:




Population growth rate:


Population Density:

309 people per sq km

Life Expectancy at Birth

Female 74, Male 64

Literacy rate :

Female 87.9 Male 92.5

Ethnic groups:

Sinhalese 73.8%, Sri Lankan Moors 7.2%, Indian Tamil 4.6%, Sri Lankan Tamil 3.9%, other 0.5%, unspecified 10% (2001 census)


Sinhala (official and national language) 74%, Tamil (national language) 18%, other 8%.

Note: English (a link language commonly) is used in government and spoken competently by about 10% of the population


Buddhist 69.1%, Muslim 7.6%, Hindu 7.1%, Christian 6.2%, others 10% (2001 census)

Time zone:

Sri Lanka Standard Time is five and a half hours ahead of GMT. (Allowance should be made for summer-time changes in Europe)

International dialing:



230- 240 volts, 50 cycles AC. If you travel with a laptop computer bring a stabilizer


Sri Lanka’s most dynamic sectors are food processing, textiles and apparel, food and beverages, port construction, telecommunications, and insurance and banking. In 2006, plantation crops made up only 15% of exports (90% in 1970), while textiles and garments accounted for more than 60%. About 800,000 Sri Lankans work abroad, 90% of them in the Middle East. They send home more than US$1 billion a year

Labour force

34.3% of the labour population is employed in agriculture, 25.3% in industry and 40.4% in services: 40.4% (30 June 2006 est.) The unemployment rate is 5.7% (2007 est.)

Agriculture & products

Rice, sugarcane, grains, pulses, oilseed, spices, tea, rubber, coconuts, milk, eggs, hides, beef, fish


Processing of rubber, tea, coconuts, tobacco and other agricultural commodities; telecommunications, insurance, banking; clothing, textiles; cement, petroleum refining


Textiles and apparel; tea and spices; diamonds, emeralds, rubies; coconut products, rubber manufactures, fish


Main import commodities are textile fabrics, mineral products, petroleum, foodstuffs, machinery and transportation equipment: $10.61 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.). Percentage of main commodities from main import partners: India 19.6%, China 10.5%, Singapore 8.8%, Iran 5.7%, Malaysia 5.1%, Hong Kong 4.2%, Japan 4.1% (2006)

Gross Domestic Product (GDP):

Purchasing power parity: $81.29 billion (2007 est.). Official exchange rate: $30.01 billion (2007 est.) Real growth rate: 6.3% (2007 est.) Per capita: $4,100 (2007 est.) composition by sector: Agriculture: 16.5% Industry: 26.9%

Gross National Product (GNP):

Sri Lanka is placed in 76th place in GNP figures of the world’s nations with $22.8 billion (2005)

National Flag


The national flag was hoisted for the first time on March 3, 1950. Its design was approved in February 1950 by a committee appointed by the first Prime Minister of independent Sri Lanka, D. S. Senanayake