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Welcome to Sri Lanka


"Ayubowan" is the traditional greeting in Sinhalese meaning "MAY YOU ENJOY LONG LIFE."

 A Tradition of Welcome

The palms clasped together and a gentle bow of the head accompanies the "Ayubowan", Sri Lanka's gentle gesture of welcome and respect. It is the age-old greeting of our people, and the chances are you will be greeted this way, wherever you happen to travel throughout the island.

What may strike you most about Sri Lanka is its amazing diversity of scenery. It is possible to pass the brilliant green paddy fields, sun-bronzed beaches, ruined cities, small lively villages, near desert regions, sanctuaries for wildlife in tropical jungles, and the hill country tea plantations, within hours of each other.

The history of Sri Lanka stretches back over 2500 years, its very beginnings are lost in myth and legend, and the arrival of Prince Vijaya an exile from North India with his entourage of seven hundred followers. However, the earliest recorded civilization dates back to 380 BC, when Anuradhapura (206 km from Colombo) was established as the first capital city. Following the advent of Buddhism in the 3rd Century BC, a civilization rich in Indo-Aryan culture took root. It produced the great cities with their dagobas which compare, and even exceed in size, the pyramids of Egypt, palaces and pleasure gardens, a rich art and architecture and the gigantic irrigation works, many of which are still in use today.

With invasions from neighbouring South India, the base of power shifted to Polonnaruwa (101 km South East of Anuradhapura) and other cities such as Dambadeniya, Kurunegala, Kotte and Kandy. In the 16 the Century the island had its first recorded encounter with the traders and colonizers of the West, with the arrival of the Portuguese in 1505. What followed was a period of nearly five hundred years during which the island came under the control and influence of the Portuguese, Dutch and British. 

When the Portuguese and Dutch ruled over the maritime regions for a rough 150 years each, the British established complete control over the island with the fall of the Kandyan Kingdom in 1815. They too ruled for 150 years before the country regained independence in 1948.

The impact of many cultures over the centuries, from South Indian to the Moorish and that of the western colonisers, have resulted in the country's culture being enriched by a rich diversity, much of which is in evidence today.

The island's economy, has traditionally been based on agriculture, with rice as the main food crop. Spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg and pepper have been age old exports, as were gems and even peacocks and elephants. With western commercial influence, rice gave way to cash crops, until the British made tea the base of the economy.

The new thrust in the economy is on export-led industry. Agriculture is now being revived. Non-traditional exports such as garments, seafood, foliage, cut flowers and tropical fish and value added agro-industries have in recent years contributed to the economic advance of Sri Lanka.

The people of Sri Lanka are of diverse races and faiths. The majority are Sinhalese who are Buddhists, while among the minorities the Tamils, mainly Hindus are the largest, followed by the Moors who follow Islam, and a sharply declining number of Burghers, descended from the Portuguese and Dutch, who are Christians. There is also a considerable population of Christians among the Sinhalese and Tamils. 

The country was the first in South Asia to move away from a State-centred economic structure and embrace a private-sector led market oriented economy. The opportunities are many for foreign investment, with almost all exchange controls relaxed and many incentives given for foreign investment. Free Trade Zones, repatriation of profit, widespread education, a sophisticated middle class and a newly emerging capital market, have made Sri Lanka most attractive to foreign investors in the past decade.

Although well on the road to modernisation, the country and its people still cherish most of their traditional values and take pride in their rich culture. An aspect which continues to attract visitors from abroad, as much as the beauty and diversity of scenery, and the warmth and friendship of the people.


Click here for a visual bonanza of pictures and images of Sri Lanka

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This Homepage is Dedicated To........... 

This homepage is dedicated to those expatriates of Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) who have made their home in the UK over the last 25 years, and particularly to those who hail from the South (Ruhuna) of the Island. There are hundreds and thousands of Sri Lankans living in the UK, but still nurture a nostalgic desire for their roots in the towns and villages of Sri Lanka. This page is a meeting place for those who wish to make their presence known and express their wishes and interests.

It is a well known fact that all Sri Lankans who now live in the UK as British citizens are totally loyal to their Queen and country. They are very well integrated with the local communities in the UK, both socially and economically. This, perhaps, is due to that the Sri Lankan community in the UK has always been scattered, and they never congregated into living together in any 'pocket' or 'stereotyped' locality  of London or any other city for that reason. This is all the more reason for some Sri Lankans to feel themselves isolated and thus cherish a longing for news and tidings of their 'home' whenever and wherever they meet. The more you become secure and settled in this newly adopted country, the more you begin to feel and empathize with the tumultuous upheaval taking place in their island home far away. At present the island's history is going through such a turmoil due to a bloody and savage war waged against terrorism.

It is paradoxical that despite the terror and the turmoil inflicted by one of the deadliest and most fanatical terrorist organizations in the world (the LTTE or the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam), the serenity and the sanity of the majority of Sri Lankans still prevail. The undisputed natural beauty of the island and the charm and hospitality of her inhabitants attract many thousands of tourists from all over the world year in year after. There has NOT been a single incident in the history of the 14 year war that a tourist has been affected. The ballot and the power of democracy have prevailed against the bullet and the fear of terrorism. The continuity of normal life in regard to political, economic and social activities goes on in defiance of terrorism.

Let this page bring you memories of the peaceful times you enjoyed in Sri Lanka. May the most popular images of Sri Lanka, the Lion and the Lion Flag re-kindle your love and affection for the Island Paradise you left behind. It is my objective to develop this homepage into a comprehensive web site as contacts and links grow during the course of time. I intend to have a column or a 'notice board' type feature where your can express your views or comments about the current political situation in Sri Lanka.

This site makes a particular welcome to any old boys or Old Boys Associations of Rahula College Matara;   Mahinda, Richmond and St. Alosius Colleges of Galle and any old girls or Old Girls Associations of  Matara Sujatha and Galle Sanghamitta Vidyalayas to contact me so that a register of Ruhuna Old Boys and Girls can be set up in order to maintain and strengthen their existing contacts and, perhaps, to re-establish any long lost contacts.


Click here for a visual bonanza of pictures and images of Sri Lanka

Click below for links to other sites developed by Ari Withanage with the following sponsors.

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