Location: An island off the south-eastern cost shores of India, 880 km north of the equator, in the Indian Ocean.
Conventional long form: Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Conventional short form: Sri Lanka
Size: 65,525 sq km
Capital City: Sri Jayawardanapura
Commercial Capital: Colombo
Government: Sri Lanka, is a free, independent and sovereign nation with a population of 19 million (1998 midyear 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.
Population: 2.16 million
Population density: 309 people per sq km
Life expectancy at birth: 74 female, 64 male
Literacy rate: 91.8%
Languages: 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
Religion: Buddhism- 70 per cent; Hinduism- 16 per cent; Christianity- 7 per cent; Islam-7 per cent
Climate: 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
Industries: 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.
Currency: 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.
Visa: Nationals of all countries require visas to enter Sri Lanka. Visas can be applied for by logging on to – www.eta.gov.lk
For more information, please log on to the website of the Department of Immigration and Emigration –
Working week: Sri Lanka works a five-day week, from Monday to Friday.
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
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.