Sri Lanka

This is our page about unique and beautiful Island of Sri Lanka.

Cross Country Travels Sri Lanka here outlines what we think about our country. The page offers specific directions to some further reading. 

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Paradise or Hell?

A mythical foot print in Samanala Kanda (Adam's Peak) is disputed to be of the Adam of Abrahamic religions, God Vishnu and Lord Buddha.

Referring to Islamic script even some western scholars wonder if God actually placed Adam in Samanala Kanda in Sri Lanka after Adam broke the God's rule, eating forbidden fruit from forbidden tree. A Canadian writer, Melanie A. Murray and few others, points to Samanala Kanda as that place. The middle of Sri Lankan hill side was the closest thing there was to near paradise. Then again, think, on the other hand, if the fall of man supposes to be the punishment for the first ever sin committed by men then would not this land be the hell or lands of sinners? 

We beg to differ with latter, since we too have travelled around the earth, we understand our Island is unique in every aspect like yours!

What is more interesting is that recent scientific data of NASA's GRACE mission. Its data is explicit about the low gravitation pull exists in and around Sri Lankan Island. And even before the GRACE mission completed some have already used these data to further their line of historical speculations that alien like figures have probably landed in this Island in pre-history. Now, it seems, they have scientific ammunition too to speculate so. 

This Island's lush greenery is second to none. Its diversity is unparalleled - elephants and leopards are roaming in wild forests freely and blues whales, an variant of largest ever animal to live on this planetare too in our wild seas! Every time we visit the beauty of hill country mesmerises even us. And it is cooler too there all year around! Our dry-zones are always promising to keep you tan! Because the Island's geographical position is as such it has been attracting Eastern and Western traders and travellers since antiquity. Fa Hian, Ibn Battuta and Marco Polo are some of them. 

But even after having all those good things are going for this Island we have failed to build our country with good roods and cities as a developed nation. Discontinuity of history, colonialism and post-colonial interference in politics, liberal market, civil war, hence unavoidable corrupt politicians have dragged our development down the gully. Some says that people in a warmer country like ours tend not to be rational too. And the belief in KAMA too, by the majority Buddhists, may also have contributed to stalling of the development. In nutshell, sadly though, our institutions are yet to master their scopes to be effective. It seems keeping everyone happy and building a nation are two different things. Cross Country Travels Sri Lanka works harder towards and wish for a better country. Read about our own attempts for an ethical and sustainable tourism practices in this Island and our out-cry for cleaner roods and effective services at least at tourist sites. 

Magnificent stories of 'Rama Ravana' - Rama is believed to be the seventh incarnation of God Vishnu - tend to convince us them as godly figures who descended from above. Arthur C Clarke actually chose to buy his land in Rumassala area because he knew about this uniquely low gravitational pull in this area. Then if you read Ramayana you come to read about this Rumassala Kanda (mountain), which is suspected as the part of land that fell from the hands of Hanuma on the way to Lakshmana. 

We take great pride in King Ravana's stories. King Ravana was a fierce king who ruled this part of the world from our Island. Even some archaeologist like Raj Sovadeva is convinced now that we have to explore our ground to find hard evident to prove that if such a mighty king ever lived. Of cause the years King Ravana reigned in is not quite sure, varying from 7,000 - 10,000.

The work of Sigiriya is believed to be of King Ravan's. It is our belief, against most of contemporaries, that a king in hiding, King Kasyapa (477 – 495 CE), who only reigned in for short 22 years, could not finish a grand scale work like Sigiriya Rock Fortress.

We are especially fascinated about Rock Fortress' main Four Water Gardens. Contemporaries refer to this kind of gardens as Chahar Bagh or Char Bagh gardens. This kind of gardens was first ever mentioned in Verse 46 of Chapter 55 of Quran as the Paradise Garden. As we all suppose to know the Quran was written between 609–632 AD years, it was King Abbas I of Persia, 1588 to 1629 AD, who first ever built such a garden in contemporary world in Isfahan in Iran. 

This highly structured geometrical garden is a powerful metaphor for the organization and domestication of the landscape. The garden itself is a symbol of order and political power.

Even if were to believe King Kasyapa built Sigiriya Rock Fortress for a moment the question shall raise in any rational mind that from where he receives the inspiration to craft such a magnificent garden in 5th century AD. 

We wonder if Sigiriya Rock Fortress is the palace of mighty King Ravana. 

We are wanderers ... Hence we explore ...

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Basics 

Sri Lanka is an island in Indian Ocean. Its landmass area is about 65,610 squire kms, slightly bigger than Denmark. Sri Lanka is divided into 9 Provinces, 25 Districts and 331 Divisional and Sub-Divisional Secretary. From East to West it has 219 kms and 447 kms from North to South.

Sri Lanka accommodates nearly twenty one million people.  It consists of following ethnicities; Sinhalese (74.88%) Sri Lankan Tamil (11.20%), Indian Tamil (4.15%), Sri Lankan Moor  (9.22%), Burgher (0.18%), Malay (0.19%) and other (0.14%). 

In terms of economy, the country recorded $65 billion of Gross Domestic Product in October 2013.  Per capita income was recorded in 2015 as $3,924. Our Island now belongs to low middle income countries. Its main exports are still consist of textile, tea, rubber and coconut and gems. In 2015, the service sector accounted for 62.4 % of GDP, followed by manufacturing 28.9 % and agriculture 8.7 %.

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Historical geography (Palaeogeography) 

Before the super-continent Pangaea or Pangea formed, about 335 million years ago, this Island was a part of East Gondwana or Gondwanaland. Paleozoic and early Mesozoic eras consisted Pangea. The most of the bedrock of this Island is composed with deformed Proterozoic metamorphic rocks.

The earliest forms of life evolved in this Proterozoic era.

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Pre-History

The earliest archaeological finding of Homo Sapiens' existence in this Island were accidentally found in Pathirajawela, deep south near Hambantota. Those artifacts have been dated as 125,000 BP (Before Present/Physics - 1 January 1950). 

The oldest skeletal of Homo Sapiens in this Island was found in Bellan-Bandi Palassa. This skeletal is referred as the Balangoda Man and it has been dated as 36,000 BP.

This section will be completed soon.

Dr. Raj Somadeva points that hunter-gathering communities were in a transitional period as to become farming communities in and around 3,500 BP in Sri Lanka. 

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History

Sri Lankan history was clearly recorded. Mahavamsa, which was written in Pali language, is the single most important script regarding the history of this Island. Mahavamsa was written in 6th century AD by Ven. Mahanama Maha Thera.

It happens to be the oldest and longest chronicle as such in the world. Mahavamsa describes the life and times of the people who forged our nation, from the coming of Vijaya in 543 BCE to the reign of King Mahasena, 334 – 361, 6th Century BC to 4th Century AD. Ajanta caves in India hosts an elaborate depiction of King Vijaya’s travel to our Island.

Prince Vijaya was the son of Sihabahu, the ruler of Sihapura in Gujarat. Sihabahu’s mother in turn was the daughter of the king of Kalinga in Eastern India, presently Bangladesh. Legend goes that she conceived Sihabahu (etymologically meaning lion’s arm) with a lion who had kidnapped her.

A companion volume to Mahavamsa, the Culavamsa covers the period from the 4th century to the British takeover of Sri Lanka in 1815. In this two thousand years of Island's history fifty-four kings, (hence the Great Dynasty Mahavamsa), and one hundred and eleven sovereigns of the lower race have sat on the throne.

Read the fascinating history of Sir George Turnour's ten years of tenuous work of translating Mahavamsa tikk found from Mulgirigalla historical temple. 

According to this Mahavamsa this Island's history starts with Prince Vijaya landing in Tambapani with 700 hundreds of his entourage in 543 BC. 

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Recent DNA findings of Sri Lankan

Recent DNA research into paternally inherited Y-Chromosome, maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA and non-sex determined autosomal markers has made it explicit that native Sinhalese are closely relates to Vaddas, local aboriginal population. Vaddas followed a hunter-gatherer lifestyle until recently - very few are still do! Sinhalese's DNA relation to Gujarat, Bangladesh or to South Indian inhabitants are weaker. 

Dr. Ruwan Illeperuma, a renowned forensic scientist, has concluded that the Veddas has the least genetic admixtures. It proves Veddas were descendants of the original inhabitants of this Island. They had remained isolated. His study finds that Veddas showed the lowest observed heterozygosity [heterozygoste = an individual having two different alleles of a particular gene or genes, and so giving rise to varying offspring] in non-sex determined autosomal [autosome = any chromosome that is not a sex chromosome] markers compared to other Sri Lankan groups. This indicates a lower level of genetic diversity and suggests considerable isolation and inbreeding.

They were nevertheless shown to be more similar to the Sinhalese than any of the other groups studied, namely Tamils and Moors.

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