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Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: the marvels of The Resplendent Isle

Legend has it that Adam's Bridge, an archipelago of sandbanks that virtually links Sri Lanka to India, is the remains of a causeway built by the god Rama.

Geography and climate

Located in the northern Indian Ocean just 30 km from the Indian coast, Sri Lanka is an island with a total area of 65,610 km².

Its rather odd shape is rather like a drop of water that's fallen into the middle of the sea. Plains and forests take up most of the island, surrounding a chain of mountains, the Central Highlands, with peaks over 2,000 metres in height, including Pidurutalagala , the highest point in the country at 2,524 m. the geography of Sri Lanka is not very hilly and is surrounded by a virtually uninterrupted, sandy coastline from one end of the island to the other.

The former Ceylon has devoted most of its land to agriculture and mining. But its forests have been preserved and occupy about a third of the country's plains. As we will see later, tourists need to go to the heart of the jungle to see its rich biodiversity.

The first contact with "The Resplendent Isle", its nickname in Sri Lanka, is made via the coast at Colombo, the economic capital, located in the south of the country. You are immediately close to the valleys and hillsides that surround the high plateaus, and then the Central Highlands from which stands out Adam's Peak, next to Pidurutalagala, a sacred mountain and place of pilgrimage for the local people. Also known as the "Central Highlands of Sri Lanka", this area became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010. 

Sunset at Weligama

You probably already know that this country has a tropical climate, with several monsoon periods in a year. But you may not know that although the average annual temperature is 30°C, it can also plunge below freezing for several days in a row, particularly in January. 

Flora and fauna

Even though the environment suffered greatly during the civil war which ended in 2009, the flora and fauna of Sri Lankais still very rich. the country is home to 22 national parks, including those of Yala and Wilpattu, to which you must add the virgin forest of Sinharaja, which is listed by UNESCO. You will soon find out during your travels in Sri Lanka that the elephant is the king of the animals. The elephant population having been decimated by hunters, it must share a little of its glory with the 85 other species of mammals and 400 species of birds, including 30 native species, which are present on the island. With teak, ebony, rhododendron and mahogany, the Central Highlands are home to a diverse and amazing range of plant species. The country's wildlife makes a trip to Sri Lanka a unique experience.

Rodolphe Ragu
33 contributions
Updated 7 March 2018
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