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Facts about Sri Lanka


An island off the south-eastern cost shores of India, 880 km north of the equator, in the Indian Ocean.

Country Name

Conventional long form: Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Conventional short form: Sri Lanka
Former: Ceylon


65,525 sq km


Sri Jayawardanapura

Commercial Capital



Sri Lanka, is a free, independent and sovereign nation with a population of 19 million (1998 mid year estimates). Legislative power is exercised by a Parliament, elected by universal franchise on proportional representation basis. A President, who is also elected by the people, exercises executive power inclusive of defense. Sri Lanka enjoys a multi party system, and the people vote to elect a new government every six years.

National Flag

National Flag of Sri Lanka is the Lion Flag. A Lion bearing a sword in its right hand is depicted in gold on red background with a yellow border. Four Bo leaves pointing inwards are at the four corners. Two vertical bands of green and orange at the mast end represent the minority ethnic groups. It is an adaptation of the standard of the last King of Sri Lanka.

National Anthem

"Sri Lanka Matha" composed by late Mr. Ananda Samarakoon. Click on the Speaker Icon to listen to a few bars of the Anthem

National Flower

The Blue Water Lily (Nymphaea stellata) is the National Flower.


19 million

Population density

309 people per sq km

Life expectancy at birth

74 female, 64 male

Literacy rate



Sinhala & Tamil English is widely spoken throughout Sri Lanka, with the exception of remote villages.

Ethnic mix

Sihalese- 74 per cent; Tamil- 18 per cent; Muslim -7 per cent; Burgher (descendants of Dutch and Portuguese colonist) and others- 1 per cent


Buddhism- 70 per cent; Hinduism- 16 per cent; Christianity- 7 per cent; Islam-7 per cent


Low Lands – tropical, average 270C Central Hills – cooler, with temperatures dropping to 140C. The south-west monsoon brings rain to the western, southern and central regions from May to July, while the north-eastern monsoon occurs in the north and east in December and January. Sri Lanka has a good climate for holiday-makers throughout the year.

Annual per capita GNP

US$ 1000


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

Agriculture - Products

Rice, sugarcane, grains, pulses, oilseed, roots, spices, tea, rubber, coconuts; milk, eggs, hides, meat.


Sri Lanka follows decimal currency system in Rupees (Rs.) and cents (Cts.) with 100 cents equal to a rupee. Currency notes are available in the denominations of Rs. 10,20,50,100,200, 500 and 1000. Coins are issued in values of Cts. 25 and 50 and Rs.1,2,5 and 10. The intervention currency continuously will be the US Dollar.


Nationals of all countries require visas to enter Sri Lanka. Visas can be applied for by logging on to -
For more information, please log on to the website of the Department of Immigration and Emigration -
http:/ /

Working week

Sri Lanka works a five-day week, from Monday to Friday.

Business hours

Government offices 8.30 a.m. - 4.15 p.m, Monday to Friday


9.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. or 3.00 p.m. Monday to Saturday

Post office

8.30 a.m.- 5.00 p.m., Monday to Friday 8.30 a.m. – 1.00 p.m. on Saturday. The Central Mail Exchange, at D.R.Wijewardene Mawatha, Colombo 10, (Telephone : 2326203) is open 24-hours.

Get in touch

4th Floor, Hotel School Building,
No 78, Galle Road,
Colombo 03,
Sri Lanka

+94114 865050
+94112 472985


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