The National Flag of Sri Lanka represents the country and her heritage as rallying device that integrates the minorities with the majority race.
Sri Lanka National Flag is an improvisation of the civil standard of the last king of Sri Lanka, Sri Wickrama Rajasingha.
The civil standard had a passant royal lion with a sword in it's right fore paw at the center, and a bo-leaf on each of the four corners on a plain border.
When Sri Lanka gained her independence from Great Britain on February 04, 1948, it was the lion flag of the last king of Sri Lanka was hoisted once again.
The first Prime Minister of independent Sri Lanka, D.S.Senanayake, appointed a committee to advice the government on the design of a new national flag. The design approved by the committee in February 1950 retained the symbol of the lion with the sword and the bo-leaves from the civil standard of the last king of Sri Lanka, with the inclusion of two verticle stripes green and orange in color.
The significance of each symbol of the national flag is as follows:
|Country Name :||
|Size :||65,610 sq km|
|Capital :||Sri Jayawardenepura, Kotte|
|Commercial Capital :||Colombo|
|Government :||Sri Lanka, is a free, independent and sovereign nation with a population of 19.5 million (2004 est). Legislative power is exercised by a Parliament, elected by universal franchise on proportional representation basis. A President, who is also elected by the people, exercises executive power including defense. Sri Lanka enjoys a multi party system, and the people vote to elect a new government every six years.|
|National Flag :||National Flag of Sri Lanka is the Lion Flag. A Lion bearing a sword in its right hand is depicted in gold on red background with a yellow border. Four Bo leaves pointing inwards are at the four corners. Two vertical bands of green and orange at the mast end represent the minority ethnic groups. It is an adaptation of the standard of the last King of Sri Lanka.|
|National Anthem :||"Sri Lanka Matha" composed by late Mr. Ananda Samarakoon.|
|National Flower :||The Blue Water Lily (Nymphaea stellata) is the National Flower.|
|Population :||19.5 million|
|Population Density :||296 people per sq km|
|Life Expectancy at Birth :||76.4 female, 71.7 male (2001 est)|
|Literacy Rate :||92.5%(2003 est)|
|Languages :||Sinhalese is the majority and widely spoken throughout Sri Lanka.|
|Ethnic Mix :||Sihalese, 74%; Tamil, 18%; Muslim 7%; Burgher (descendants of Dutch and Portuguese colonist) and others 1%|
|Religion :||Buddhism 70%; Hinduism 16%; Christianity 7%; Islam 7%|
|Climate :||Low lands – tropical, average 27°C Central Hills – cooler, with temperatures dropping to 14°C. The south-west monsoon brings rain to the western, southern and central regions from May to July., while the north-eastern monsoon occurs in the north and east in December and January. Sri Lanka boasts of a good climate for holiday-makers throughout the year.|
|Annual per capital GNP :||US $1197 (2005 est)|
|Industries :||Processing of rubber, tea, coconuts, and other agricultural commodities; clothing, cement, petroleum refining, textiles, tobacco.|
|Agriculture-Products :||Rice, sugarcane, grains, pulses, oilseed, roots, spices, tea, rubber, coconuts; milk, eggs, hides, meat.|
|Currency :||Sri Lanka follows decimal currency systilable in the denominations of Rs. 2,10,20,50,100,200, 500,1000 and 2000 in Rupees (Rs.) and cents (Cts.) with 100 cents equal to a rupee. Currency notes are avaCoins are issued in values of Cts.1,2,5,10, 25 and 50 and Rs.1,2,5 and 10. The intervention currency continuously will be the US Dollar.|
|Visa :||Consult your local Sri Lanka embassy, consulate, tourist office or your travel agent.|
|Working Week :||Sri Lanka works a five-day week, from Monday to Friday.|
|Business Hours :||Government offices 8.35 a.m. – 4.15 p.m,, Monday to Friday|
|Banks :||9.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. or 3.00 p.m. Monday to Saturday|
|Post Office :||8.30 a.m.- 5.00 p.m., Monday to Friday 8.30 a.m. – 1.00 p.m. on Saturday. The Central Mail Exchange, at D.R.Wijewardene Mawatha, Colombo 10, (Telephone : 326203) is open 24-hours.|
|Location :||An island off the south-eastern cost shores of India, 880 km north of the equator, in the Indian Ocean.|
The jungles of Sri Lanka abound in a variety of wildlife, which is surprising for an island of its size in the tropics. From ancient days the elephants and peacock from the Sri Lankan jungles were prize exports to the Kingdoms of East and West. But apart from these well-known examples of the fauna, a visit to the Sri Lankan jungles is to enter a whole new world where nature has largely stayed still. Sri Lanka has a rich and exotic variety of wildlife and a long tradition of conservation rooted in its 2,230 year old Buddhist civilization. The following are the most important sanctuaries in terms of attractions, accessibility and availability of facilities.
Yala National Park is the most visited and second largest national park in Sri Lanka. Actually it consists of five blocks, two of which are now open to the public; and also adjoining parks. The blocks have individual names also, like Ruhuna National Park for the (best known) block 1 and Kumana National Park or 'Yala East' for the adjoining area. It is situated in the southeast region of the country, and lies in Southern Province and Uva Province. The park covers 979 square kilometers (378 sq mi) Yala was designated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1900, and, along with Wilpattu it was one of the first two national parks in Sri Lanka,
There are six national parks and three wildlife sanctuaries in the vicinity of Yala hosts a variety of ecosystems ranging from moist monsoon forests to freshwater and marine wetlands. It is one of the 70 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Sri Lanka. Yala harbours 215 bird species including six endemic species of Sri Lanka. The number of mammals that has been recorded from the park is 44, and it has one of the highest leopard densities in the world. Sithulpawwa and Magul wehera are two ancient sites situated in Yala national Park.
Gal Oya National Park in Sri Lanka was established in 1954 and serves as the main catchment area for Senanayake Samudraya, the largest reservoir in Sri Lanka. Senanayake Samudraya was built under the Gal Oya development project by damming the Gal Oya at Inginiyagala in 1950. An important feature of the Gal Oya National Park is its elephant herd that can be seen throughout the year. Three important herbs of the Ayurveda medicine, Triphala: Terminalia chebula, Terminalia bellirica and Emblica officinalis are amongst the notable flora of the forest. From 1954 to 1965 the park was administrated by the Gal Oya Development Board until the Department of Wildlife Conservation took over administration.
Udawalawe is an important habitat for Sri Lankan Elephants, which are relatively easy to see in its open habitats. Many elephants are attracted to the park because of the Udawalawe reservoir. The Sri Lankan Sloth Bear is seldom seen because of its rarity. Sri Lankan Sambar Deer, Sri Lankan Axis Deer, Indian Muntjac, Sri Lankan Spotted Chevrotain, Wild Boar and Water Buffalo are among other mammal species. Golden Jackal, Asian Palm Civet, Toque Macaque, Tufted Grey Langur and Indian Hare also inhabit the park.
This was designed under the Mahaweli Development Project. Hermitages are found in Henanigala, Kudawila, Gurukumbura, Ulketangoda, and Werapokuna belonging to various periods of Sri Lankan history. The importance of the park's fauna species is its richness, which includes a number of endemic species.  Threatened mammal species include elephant Elephas maximus, of which there were 150-200 before the establishment of the park, Sloth Bear Melursus ursinus, leopard Panthera pardus, and Water Buffalo Bubalus bubalis. A recent study in 2007 shows that the current elephant population is still estimates around 150-200. Other mammals are Toque Monkey Macaca sinica, Common Langur Presbytis entellus, jackal Canis aureus, Fishing Cat felis viverrina, wild boar Sus scrofa, Indian Muntjac Muntiacus muntjak, spotted deer Cervus axis, and sambar C. unicolor. Smalls mammals include Porcupine Hystrix indica, Black-naped Hare Lepus nigricollis, Indian Pangolin Manis crassicaudata, squirrels as well.
The park's elevation range from 20–60 metres (66–200 ft) with sparse rock outcrop. The Mahaweli River flows from south to north through the centre of the park. The rich alluvial soil flood plains situated beside the river are featured by a number of shallow swampy depressions called 'villus'. Around 38 villus have been recorded from the floodplains. The villus system of Mahaweli River has received protected status from Flood Plains and Somawathiya National Parks. The extended inundation of these low-lying areas, along with the nutrients carried in by the water, are the cause of the high level of net primary productivity. Furthermore to being flooded in the wet season, the villus are also inundated during the dry season because the headwaters of the Mahaweli River experience the south-west monsoon at that time. Unto the recent diversion of the river for irrigational purposes, the villus were important as dry season grazing grounds. The park is situated in the dry zone, therefore there is only a north-east monsoon from October to late-January and the wet season is followed up by a dry lasting from March to September. Mean temperature is around 27 °C (81 °F) and mean rainfall is around 1,650 millimetres (65 in). Relative humidity range from 60-90% depending on the rainfall patterns and the area experience strong seasonal windy periods.
Mahaweli River in this section was connected to the nearby ancient irrigation network. On the right bank of the river, at the edge of the Mutugalla villu, ruins of an ancient cave monastery with inscriptions dating back to between 2nd and 7th century BC have been found. Flood Plains National Park which declared in 1984 is in the upper flood plains of Mahaweli River and Somawathiya National Park declared in 1986 is situated in the downstream. These two parks, along with Wasgamuwa National Park to the southwest and the Trikonamadu Nature Reserve to the northeast forms a system of contiguous protected areas. It has been proposed to link all these national parks together to form a single protected area.
The park is especially important for the long-term survival of elephants within the Mahaweli catchment. Together with adjoining Somawathiya National Park, Flood Plains provides a sanctuary for a wide variety of resident and migratory waterfowls. Although there is an overall systems plan for protected areas within the Mahaweli region, there is no management plan particularly for Flood Plains National Park. For management purposes, the northern half of the park is treated as part of Somawathiya National Park and the southern half as part of Wasgamuwa National Park. The construction of dam on the Mahaweli River will inevitably drop water flow and thereby reduce the magnitude and duration of flooding downstream. This drastic change in the water management of the villus will change the rich grasslands into poor quality grazing grounds, which in turn will be harmful to the wildlife. The park was added 1989 IUCN/CNNPA register of threatened protected areas of the world, for its integrity being threatened greatly by overexploitation of its resources. Elephants have fallen into the holes created by the hundreds of kilns and died. Harmful activities were due to be phased out or control strictly to enable to recover. Effective management has been hampered political and security problems in the region. The drying up of villus has facilitated the spread of invasive alien species such as Eichhornia crassipes, Xanthium indicum, Salvinia molesta, which has affected the native grasses and other aquatic plants, resulting in native herbivores' food loss.
The Horton Plains are the headwaters of three major Sri Lankan rivers, the Mahaweli, Kelani, and Walawe. In Sinhala the plains are known as Maha Eliya Plains. Stone tools dating back to Balangoda culture have been found here. The plains' vegetation is grasslands interspersed with montane forest, and includes many endemic woody plants. Large herds of Sri Lankan Sambar Deer feature as typical mammals, and the park is also an Important Bird Area with many species not only endemic to Sri Lanka but restricted to the Horton Plains. Forest dieback is one of the major threats to the park and some studies suggest that it is caused by a natural phenomenon. The sheer precipice of World's End and Baker's Falls are among the tourist attractions of the park.
Lunugamvehera is in the Dry zone of Sri Lanka, therefore the park is exposed to annual drought, relieved by the south western monsoon. The elevation of the park is 91 metres (299 ft). Out of 23,498 hectares of total land area 14 percent, that is 3283 ha, is land under the reservoir. Another 50 ha are two smaller reservoirs. Nearby Thanamalvila area receives a 1,000 millimetres (39 in) of annual rainfall. Rainfall decreases from North to South and West to East across the national park. Mean annual temperature of Lunugamvehera is 30 °C (86 °F).
Opened in 2002 just before the massive Wilpattu reopened, KAUDULLA NATIONAL PARK is Sri Lanka's newest national park, wildlife reserve and eco tourism attraction. Situated around the ancient Kaudulla tank, the national park provides a 6656 hectare elephant corridor, only 6 km from off the main Habarana - Trincomalee road. With fantastic opportunities to see many elephants at close range, the park has become a popular destination for wildlife safaris that also take in leopards, sambar deer and the occasional sloth bear! As an additional novelty, you can go for cataraman rides on the tank.
Pigeon Island National Park is one of the two marine national parks of Sri Lanka. The national park is situated 1 km off the coast of Nilaveli, a coastal town in Eastern Province. The island's name derives from the Rock Pigeon which has colonized it. The national park contains some of the best remaining coral reefs of Sri Lanka. Pigeon Island was designated as a sanctuary in 1963. In 2003 it was redesignated as a national park. This national park is the 17th in Sri Lanka. The island was used as a shooting range during the colonial era. Pigeon Island is one of the several protected areas affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004.
Galway's Land National Park is a small national park situated within the city limits of Nuwara Eliya in Sri Lanka. Having being declared as a wildlife sanctuary on 27 May 1938, the Galway's Land was elevated to the national park status on 18 May 2006. The park was declared to conserve the montane ecosystem. Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka considers the Victoria park of Nuwara Eliya and the Galway's Land as two of the most significant birding sites in Sri Lanka. Galway's Land harbours about 20 very rare migrant bird species and 30 native species. Apart from the avifauna, the park has valuable floral species of both native and foreign origin. Galway Forest Lodge is located close to the park.
In Hindu mythology, Ussangoda is believed to be the place where King Ravana lands his peacock chariot. Ussangoda is an important breeding ground for sea turtles and covers both land and sea areas. The red earth forms the soil of the area and the stunted vegetation is a feature resulted by heavy sea breeze. There are several archaeological sites of the origins in the pre-historic times also. The explanation for red soil is a high concentration of Ferric oxide in the area. Ussangoda is one of the four serpentine sites in Sri Lanka. The area is proposed to be designated as a Geopark originally. However due to the area's biodiversity and other important features such as archaeological and geographical values instead Ussangoda had been declared a national park.