HISTORY AND CULTURE
Sri Lanka has an ancient history, first recorded in the Ramayana, the epic tale of Hindu god Rama and Sita his concubine. It has a civilisation that spans 25 centuries, that began with the first Indo Aryan settlers who established the world’s oldest uninterrupted Monarchy, that lasted 2300yrs and ended with the fall of the Kandyan Kingdom to the British in the 19th century.
Its ancient Architecture gigantic stupas and vast reservoirs and irrigation schemes that still serve their original purpose is ample testimony to the wisdom and engineering genius of great kings of the past and an advanced agricultural civilisation.
Buddhism is the primary religion and was introduced in the 3rd century BC and accepted by the Sinhala Royalty, with the arrival of Arahat Mahinda, the son of the great Indian Emperor Asoka, who brought with him a sapling of the Bo tree under which Prince Gautama attained Enlightenment and is today the world’s oldest historically recorded tree!
Over the centuries, the island was visited by sailors and adventurers driven by the trade winds and searching for the Islands renowned gems, aromatic spices, and Elephants. In the 7th century AD, the Arabs, who brought Islam called it paradise, the land bequeathed to Adam and Eve and mentioned in the tales of Sinbad the sailor in the Arabian nights.
Visited by Columbus in the 15th century, the famous Portuguese navigator after whom the old capital City of Colombo is named ,Sri Lanka had earlier names of ‘Thaproban, Serendib and Ceylon .Followed by the Dutch and then the British, Sri Lanka went through 5 hundred years of European colonization, which brought the advent of Christianity.
Sri Lanka regained its independence in 1947.And is a thriving democracy!
Today Sri Lanka is a thriving cultural melting pot, and is home to the worlds four major Religions.