Sri Lanka: Pearl on the Belt and Road
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.