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Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is an island in the northern Indian Ocean off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent in South Asia.

Known until 1972 as Ceylon, Sri Lanka has maritime borders with India to the northwest across the Gulf of Mannar and Palk Strait, and the Maldives to the southwest.

As a result of its location in the path of major sea routes, Sri Lanka is a strategic link between West Asia and South East Asia. It was an important stop on the ancient Silk Road Sri Lanka has also been a center of the Buddhist religion and culture from ancient times, being the nation where the Buddhist tea hings were first written down as well as the oldest continually Buddhist country.

Sri Lanka boasts a diverse range of cultures, languages and religions. The Sinhalese people form the majority of the population; Tamils, who are concentrated in the north and east of the island form the largest ethnic minority. Other communities include Moors Burghers Kaffirs Malay and the aboriginal Vedda people.

Sri Lanka is a republic and a unitary state which is governed by a semi-presidential system with its official seat of government in Sri Jayawardenapura-Kotte, the capital. The country is famous for the production and export of tea coffee gemstones coconuts rubber and cinnamon the last of which is native to the country.

Sri Lanka has been called The Pearl of the Indian Ocean. The island contains tropical forest , and diverse landscapes with high biodiversity The country lays claim to a long and varying history of over three thousand years, having one of the longest documented histories in the world.

Sri Lanka's rich culture can be attributed to the many different communities on the island The country is a founding member state of SAARC and a member of United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, G77 and Non-Aligned Movement. As of 2011, Sri Lanka was one of the fastest growing economies of the world.

Sinhalese and Tamil are the two official languages of Sri Lanka. The Constitution defines English as the link language. English is widely used for education, scientific and commercial purposes. Members of the Burgher community speak variant forms of Portuguese Creole and Dutch with varying proficiency, while members of the Malay community speak a form of Creole Malay that is unique to the island

Sri Lanka is also a multi-religious country. Buddhism constitutes the religious faith of about 70% of the population of the island most of whom follow the Theravada school of Buddhism. Buddhism was introduced to Sri Lanka in the 2nd century BCE by Venerable Mahinda A sapling of the Bodhi Tree under which the Buddha attained enlightenment was brought to Sri Lanka during the same time.

The Pali Canon (Thripitakaya), having previously been preserved as an oral tradition, was first committed to writing in Sri Lanka around 30 BCE. Sri Lanka has the longest continuous history of Buddhism of any predominately Buddhist nation, with the Sangha having existed in a largely unbroken lineage since its introduction in the 2nd century BCE. During periods of decline, the Sri Lankan monastic lineage was revived through contact with Thailand and Burma Buddhism is given special recognition in the Constitution which requires Sri Lankan to "protect and foster the Buddha Sasana .

[Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sri_Lanka]



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