|reference Sri Lanker by Lonely Planet website
sri lanker - history
(including: the rise & fall of Anuradhapura, the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa, tamil kingdoms, early Muslim links, the Portuguese period, the Dutch period, the British period
When the noted writer Sir Arthur C Clarke made his home in Sri Lanka in 1956, he claimed the island jewel of the Indian Ocean was the best place in the world from which to view the universe. The author of 2001: A Space Odyssey passed away in 2008, but no doubt the futurist would have logged on to Google Earth to gaze back at his island home from an online universe. And concealed in the sky-high imagery of this teardrop-shaped nation, he would have recognised an amazing diversity for somewhere so compact.
Fringing the coasts is an array of gently arcing golden-sand beaches, now making a comeback after the devastation wreaked by the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. Zoom closer to spy the giant tanks (artificial reservoirs) built by the first Sinhalese rulers around the ancient cities of Anuradhapura and Pollonaruwa. In the Hill Country, a layer of cotton wool clouds obscures the view, mirroring the misty mornings travellers often experience in this area of waterfalls and verdant tea plantations.
To the northwest, a gossamer-thin land bridge almost connects fragile Sri Lanka to the modern juggernaut that is India. Two and a half decades of civil war reinforces this bridge to Tamil Nadu is as much cultural as geographic.
Irrespective of their cultural background, Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim locals will welcome you with pride. Pride in their criminally underrated cuisine, pride in their national parks and wildlife, and – especially – pride in their national cricket team. Whether you’re a humble three-wheeler jockey or a British-trained lawyer or doctor, the sport that frequently stops the nation is always worthy of discussion. How will the boys do in the upcoming series against New Zealand? Will the country be ready to host the World Cup in 2011? And have you seen how much that opening batsman from Kandy is earning in the new Indian Premier League?
Faced with funding a war and weathering a global financial crisis, Sri Lanka’s proud population has been doing it tough for a few years. But equipped with a stellar combination of scenery, culture and history, a growing focus on sustainable tourism and (hopefully) a more settled society, Sri Lanka is firmly back on the radar for curious travellers seeking unique experiences.
Names some places of visit:
Anuradhapura – a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the north central part of the Island was the first capital (5th century BC - 9th century AD), the centre of the island's Buddhist civilization and undoubtedly the grandest city of ancient Sri Lanka. In antiquity and the interest, it is the equal of any ancient 'buried city' in the world. The oldest historically documented tree on earth (over 2,200 years old) - The Sri Maha Bodhi, brought as a sapling of the tree under which the Buddha attained enlightenment, and the island's oldest Buddhist shrines
Tea Plantation visit a tea plantation and a tea factory where one the best teas in the world is produced. You will be told all about the process of manufacturing tea and also gain first hand experience on the manufacture of some of the best teas in world. If you’re lucky you may be invited to taste a cup of pure Ceylon tea which begins its journey as raw green leaves in the hills and ends up as a final golden-brown graded product which we all but know too well.
Situated at around 2000m above sea level and surrounded by lush tea plantations Nuwara Eliya is the main hill resort of Sri Lanka and the heart of the tea industry. Once a pleasure retreat of the European planters the town is still very much an English town with many English style bungalows and buildings.
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