Sri Lanka: Pearl on the Belt and Road

Beijing (English) - - CONTENTS -

The is­land of Sri Lanka has been de­scribed as be­ing like a small, all-en­com­pass­ing uni­verse that has richer cul­tures, more pic­turesque scenery and more di­verse cli­mates than coun­tries a dozen times larger than it­self.

Sri Lanka is a trop­i­cal is­land in South Asia, of­ten re­ferred to as the “Pearl on the In­dian Ocean” or “Tear of God” be­cause of its teardrop shape. Let us now take a closer look at this “Pearl” on the Belt and Road.

“Cey­lon,” the for­mer name of Sri Lanka, means “land of light and plenty” in Sin­halese. The is­land was con­sid­ered by Marco Polo (1254– 1324, an Ital­ian mer­chant, ex­plorer and writer) to be the most beau­ti­ful is­land in the world and has been a mar­itime trans­port hub con­nect­ing East and West since an­cient times. In­di­ans, Euro­peans, Arabs and Chi­nese have all left their an­cient foot­prints and di­verse cul­tures here.

The south­ern and cen­tral re­gions of Sri Lanka are com­posed of plateaus, and its north­ern and coastal areas are made of low-ly­ing plains. The north­ern coastal plain is broad and vast; while the south­ern and west­ern plateaus are rel­a­tively nar­row. Lo­cated south­east of In­dia and near to the equa­tor, the is­land has a trop­i­cal mon­soon cli­mate and is hot all-year long.

Sri Lanka has abun­dant re­sources de­spite its ter­ri­tory com­pris­ing of just 65,610 sq.km. The coun­try has eight World Her­itage Sites, charm­ing beaches, mys­te­ri­ous reli­gions, plen­ti­ful an­i­mal and plant life, hos­pitable peo­ple and low prices. Th­ese fea­tures at­tract trav­ellers from all over the world to come ex­pe­ri­ence its ex­otic cul­ture.

Colombo, the cap­i­tal of Sri Lanka, is one of the old­est ci­ties on the is­land. The coun­try's na­tional tree (iron­wood) and na­tional flower (blue wa­ter lily) can be seen all through­out the city, and co­conut trees line the roads. Due to its prox­im­ity to In­dia, Bud­dhism ar­rived here back in the third cen­tury. The Sri Lankan Sin­halese, leg­endary de­scen­dants of In­dian and Bangladeshi princesses, are also Bud­dhists them­selves.

The Sri Lanka Na­tional Mu­seum to the south of Vi­harama­hadevi Park in Colombo is one of the most im­por­tant tourist sites in the city and fea­tures the largest col­lec­tion of cul­tural relics in the coun­try. A staff mem­ber from the Em­bassy of Sri Lanka in­tro­duced the mu­seum: “A mon­u­ment built by Zheng He (1371–1433, a Chi­nese mariner, ex­plorer and diplo­mat) of the Ming Dy­nasty (1368–1644) in Sri Lanka dur­ing his west­ward voy­age is col­lected in the mu­seum. The mon­u­ment is carved with Chi­ne­ses­tyle pat­terns and char­ac­ters on the top.” Vis­i­tors lis­tened at­ten­tively whilst also in­quir­ing about tourist visas for Sri Lanka. “It's pos­si­ble to get Elec­tronic Travel Au­tho­ri­sa­tion (ETA) for Sri Lanka, namely e-visas. It's sim­ple and easy to ap­ply for one on­line.”

In ad­di­tion to the rich nat­u­ral and his­tor­i­cal lega­cies, Sri Lanka also abounds in gem­stones and black tea. Sri Lanka pro­duces high-grade am­ber and jasper, as well as sap­phires, amethysts and moon­stones. Given the chance, you sim­ply must take a walk through the coun­try's misty moun­tains to view tea-leaves be­ing picked.

“We just show­cased tra­di­tional Sri Lankan women's cloth­ing— “Osariya” or “Kandyan Sari— in the fash­ion show. It's made of var­i­ous fab­rics com­bined us­ing mul­ti­ple pro­ce­dures such as weav­ing, spin­ning and batik­ing.” Inoka Weeras­inghe, sec­ond sec­re­tary of the Sri Lankan Em­bassy wore the tra­di­tional at­tire at the “Colour­ful World” event, show­ing the unique and fas­ci­nat­ing tra­di­tional cul­ture of Sri Lanka.

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