Portal:Sri Lanka

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The Sri Lanka Portal

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Sri Lanka ( UK: /sri ˈlæŋkə, ʃr -/, US: /- ˈlɑːŋkə/ ( About this sound listen); Sinhala: ශ්‍රී ලංකාව, romanized: Śrī Laṅkā; Tamil: இலங்கை, romanized: Ilaṅkai), formerly known as Ceylon, and officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island country in South Asia. It is situated on the Indian Ocean, southwest of the Bay of Bengal, and southeast of the Arabian Sea; while being separated from the Indian subcontinent by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait. Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte is its legislative capital, and Colombo is its largest city and financial centre.

Sri Lanka's documented history spans 3,000 years, with evidence of prehistoric human settlements dating back at least 125,000 years. It has a rich cultural heritage, and the first known Buddhist writings of Sri Lanka, the Pāli Canon, date back to the Fourth Buddhist council in 29 BCE. Its geographic location and deep harbours made it of great strategic importance from the time of the ancient Silk Road through to the modern Maritime Silk Road. Its location as a major trading hub made it known to both the Far East as well as to Europe from as far back as the Anuradhapura period. The country's trade in luxury goods and spices attracted traders of many nations, creating Sri Lanka's diverse population. During a period of great political crisis, the Portuguese, whose arrival in Sri Lanka was largely accidental, sought to control the island's maritime regions and its lucrative external trade. The Portuguese possessions were later taken over by the Dutch. The Dutch possessions were then taken by the British, who later extended their control over the whole island, colonising it from 1815 to 1948. A national movement for political independence arose in the early 20th century, and in 1948, Ceylon became a republic and adopted its current name in 1972. Sri Lanka's recent history has been marred by a 26-year civil war, which ended decisively when the Sri Lanka Armed Forces defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in 2009.

Sri Lanka is a multinational state, home to diverse cultures, languages, and ethnicities. The Sinhalese form the majority of the nation's population; and the large minority of Tamils have also played an influential role in the island's history, while Moors, Burghers, Malays, Chinese, and the indigenous Vedda are also established groups. It has had a long history of international engagement, as a founding member of the SAARC, and a member of the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, the G77, and the Non-Aligned Movement. Sri Lanka is the sole South Asian country rated high on the Human Development Index, with the second highest per capita income in the region. ( Full article...)

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The Jaffna Kingdom ( Tamil: யாழ்ப்பாண அரசு, Sinhala: යාපනය රාජධානිය) (1215–1624 CE), also known as Kingdom of Aryachakravarti, of modern northern Sri Lanka was a historic monarchy that came into existence around the town of Jaffna on the Jaffna peninsula. It was traditionally thought to be established after the invasion of Magha, who is credited with the founding of the Jaffna kingdom and is said to have been from Kalinga, in India. Established as a powerful force in the north, north east and west of the island, it eventually became a tribute-paying feudatory of the Pandyan Empire in modern South India in 1258, gaining independence in 1323, when the last Pandyan ruler of Madurai was defeated and expelled in 1323 by Malik Kafur, the army general of the Muslim Delhi Sultanate. For a brief period, in the early to mid-14th century, it was an ascendant power in the island of Sri Lanka when all regional kingdoms accepted subordination. However, the kingdom was eventually overpowered by the rival Kotte Kingdom, around 1450 when it was invaded by Prince Sapumal under the orders of Parakramabahu VI.

It gained independence from Kingdom of Kotte control in 1467 and its subsequent rulers directed their energies towards consolidating its economic potential by maximising revenue from pearls and elephant exports and land revenue. It was less feudal than most of the other regional kingdoms on the island of Sri Lanka of the same period. During this period, important local Tamil literature was produced and Hindu temples were built, including an academy for language advancement. ( Full article...)

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Balu Mahendra in 2013

Balanathan Benjamin Mahendran (19 May 1939 – 13 February 2014), commonly known as Balu Mahendra, was a Sri Lankan born Indian cinematographer, director, screenwriter and film editor who worked predominantly in Tamil cinema. Widely regarded as an auteur, Mahendra usually scripted and edited his films apart from shooting them. He was the recipient of six National Film Awards (including two for Best Cinematography), five Filmfare Awards South and several state government awards.

Mahendran developed a passion for photography and literature at a young age. After witnessing the shoot of David Lean's The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) during a school trip in Sri Lanka, he was drawn towards filmmaking. He graduated from the London University and started his career as a draughtsman with the Sri Lankan Government. In 1966, he moved to India and gained admission to the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) to pursue a course in motion picture photography. Upon completion of his diploma, he entered Malayalam cinema as a cinematographer in the early 1970s. ( Full article...)

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Beragala Pass

Photo credit: Namunukula
Uva Province ( Sinhala: Uva Palata) is Sri Lanka's second least populated province, with 1,187,335 people, created in 1896. It consists of two districts: Badulla and Moneragala. The provincial capital is Badulla. Uva is bordered by Eastern, Southern and Central provinces. Its major tourist attractions are Dunhinda Falls, Diyaluma Falls, Rawana Falls, the Yala National Park (lying partly in the Southern and Eastern Provinces) and Gal Oya National Park (lying partly in the Eastern Province). The Gal Oya hills and the Central mountains are the main uplands, while the Mahaweli Ganga ( Sinhalese: great-sandy) and Menik (Sinhalese: gemstone) rivers and the huge Senanayake Samudraya and Maduru Oya Reservoirs are the major waterways.

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Remains of a house near Telwatte

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