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Sri Lanka honeymoon

Sri Lanka, a popular destination to get married and spend your honeymoon.

Seductive beaches and tempting water sports, magnificent landscapes featuring lazy lagoons, fertile wetlands, ecologically-wondrous types of forest, imposing mountains, bounteous rivers and waterfalls, an abundance of wildlife - much of it endemic - unique ecosystems, inspiring heritage sites from ancient cities to colonial forts, a vibrant culture including fine arts and crafts and grand festivals, and a people of diverse ethnicity and religious persuasion, charming and hospitable.

Contemporary tourist attractions such as luxurious Ayurveda spas and broad-based shopping opportunities have evolved, and Sri Lanka has become one of the world’s most popular destinations to get married and enjoy a honeymoon.

By Jithra Adikari from Calgary, Canada (Pool and Infinity  Uploaded by Ekabhishek) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Cultural heritage

Sri Lanka’s cultural depth is recognized by UNESCO, which has declared six archaeological World Heritage Sites in the country:

  • The sacred city of Anuradhapura
  • The ancient city of Polonnaruwa
  • The golden temple of Dambulla
  • The ancient city of Sigiriya
  • The sacred city of Kandy
  • The old town of Galle and its fortifications
  • (The seventh World Heritage Site in Sri Lanka is an ecological example, The Sinharaja Forest Reserve.)

From enormous dagobas (dome-shaped structures) and remains of ancient buildings in the ruined cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, to the awesome stairway to the temple at Dambulla and the sensual frescoes of heavenly maidens at the palace at the rock of Sigiriya, visitors can experience these World Heritage Sites within a compact area called the Cultural Triangle.

In the hill country lies the former royal capital of Kandy, home to the Dalada Maligawa or Sacred Temple of the Tooth, which houses the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha. With its distinctive architecture, art and music, Kandy is a bastion of traditional culture.

In contrast, experience the colonial heritage of the country by heading south to the mid-17th c. Dutch fort at Galle, the best preserved in Asia. With 14 massive bastions, a grid system of streets, and some original Dutch bungalows, the fort bustles with life just as it did when Galle was the country’s main port. It’s simply one of the most unique attractions in Sri Lanka.

Sun, Sea and Sand

Some of the delights of a Sri Lankan beach.
Where beaches are concerned you will be spoilt for choice in Sri Lanka. Beaches totalling 1,340km fringe the island, from the long-established tourist destinations of the southern coast, to the vast beaches of the deep south, and the less-visited expanses of the north and east. No matter what time of the year, you can find a beach that is in season and just waiting to welcome you to its warm sands.

The Indian Ocean is the world’s third largest. Occupying an area of 73.6 million square kilometres between Africa, Asia, Australia and Antarctica, and amounting to approximately 20% of the earth’s water surface, the Indian Ocean includes the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal, the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Malacca, and the Mozambique Channel. The Palk Strait between Sri Lanka and India is one of the ocean’s shallowest parts.

The Indian Ocean is affected by the north-east monsoon from December until April and the south-west monsoon from June to October, giving Sri Lanka two tourist seasons, one on the west coast and the other on the east coast. During monsoon time, when visibility is often reduced to 60m, the sea is usually rough. Sometimes the colour of the ocean changes from its recognizable turquoise to a bottle green and navy blue, depending on the intensity of the clouds above. When the sunshine breaks out, azure tones appear as the angry clouds chase over the sea making it a patchwork quilt of colour. In season, though, the sea is bright blue and crystal clear.

A wide coral reef largely surrounds Sri Lanka’s coastline making it ideal for diving. An underwater journey into the Indian Ocean rewards you with glimpses of a totally different world, full of astounding colour and life. Home to a variety of tropical fish and coral reefs, the ocean waters also lay claim to some historic wrecks that offer exploration opportunities. The more laid-back activity of snorkelling is a popular past-time in many southern coastal areas, particularly the Hikkaduwa Marine Sanctuary, and on the east coast around Pigeon Island off Nilaveli, near Trincomalee. Marine life to be seen includes big fish such as barracuda, whale shark, tuna as well as four species of turtle.

The gentle swell of the Indian Ocean waves offer great opportunities for surfing. There are first-class waves in Arugam Bay on the east coast, and along the south coast at Hikkaduwa and Mirissa. However, in other places the calm water of the Indian Ocean just laps onto the sandy shore, such as at Unawatuna, near Galle, and Nilaveli, making them safe for swimming and especially good for families with young children.

Wind-surfing can be enjoyed at many places along the coastline from Negombo to Tangalle. Bentota is the unofficial water-sports capital of the island because aside from its rolling surf and beautiful sandy beaches, it also has a river where beginners can gain experience before heading into the ocean. Trincomalee on the east coast offers a fantastic alternative for wind-surfers when the south-west monsoon brings strong winds and rough seas.

In Negombo and Hikkaduwa, the increasingly popular thrill-seeking sports of wake-boarding and kite-surfing are beginning to take off.

Finally, please remember to respect the Indian Ocean at all times. Always beware of the strong currents that often run parallel to the coast. Newcomers to the island should remember that it is rare to find a lifeguard at the beach in Sri Lanka or any flags indicating safe places for swimming. Less confident swimmers should ask a local for their advice or just test the waters carefully and make sure someone knows you have gone out for a swim or dive.

By Aidan Jones from Oxford, U.K. (Elephants at the River  Uploaded by Ekabhishek) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Traditions and Customs

Sri Lanka: Traditions and Customs

Customs and traditions are deeply ingrained in Sri Lankan society and have been safeguarded, from one generation to the next, over its rich 2,500 year old history. These traditions are intertwined with day to day life of the island’s four ethnic groups – the Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, and Burghers – and its religions – Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity.

Traditional greeting

In our island home, you will be greeted with clasped palms, as if in prayer, and a head nodded in welcome; the words “Ayubowan” – “May You Live Long” – forming on each islander’s lips. The equivalent greeting in Tamil is “Vanakkam”, whilst the Muslims will say “Assalamu Alaikum”.

Traditions: From Birth and Beyond

The traditions found below are an intrinsic part of the lives of primarily the island’s Sinhalese and Tamils. From birth, important rituals are conducted around culturally significant milestones such as the Naming Ceremony and a child’s first feeding of solid food.

By Anuradha Ratnaweera from Sri Lanka (dunsinane-1  Uploaded by Ekabhishek) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Naming Ceremony

The ‘Nam Tebima’ or Naming Ceremony is an important ritual in traditional Sinhalese society. An Astrologer, based on the time of birth, provides a selection of letters with which to name the child (usually, a selection of letters with which both the first and middle name should start with is given). Sri Lankan law requires a newborn to be registered within 90 days of birth.

 

Waterfalls

Waterfalls are one of the most fascinating of natural phenomena. The mesmerizing sight of free-falling water, the thunderous roar as it hits the rocks below, and the curiousity of what lies behind the aqueous curtain, all contribute to this fascination.

In comparison to its size, Sri Lanka has a surprising abundance of many things, including waterfalls . about 100, but there may be some undiscovered. Many of these waterfalls are of impressive height, the tallest being Bambarakanda, which is 263m. Even if they aren't, they are usually distinctive for some reason or another.

For more info: www.waterfalls.lk (voted amongst the top 20 websites in Sri Lanka )

By Juavenita ? Alphonsus from Colombo, Sri Lanka (St Clair Waterfall  Uploaded by Ekabhishek) [CC-BY-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Ecotourism & Nature Tourism

Ecotourism

Some define “ecotourism” simply as tourism focused on the natural environment. Some think eco-tourism consists of travel to fragile, pristine, and usually protected areas that strives to be low impact and small scale. Others say it requires local community engagement.

Amazingly, “ecotourism” was first used in print as late as 1982, in the title of a UN booklet, Ecological Tourism (Ecotourism). It’s defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as “Tourism to areas of ecological interest (typically exotic and often threatened natural environments), esp. to support conservation efforts and observe wildlife; spec. access to an endangered environment controlled so as to have the least possible adverse effect.”

Ecotourism has been known by other names: alternative tourism, sustainable tourism, community-based tourism, volun-tourism, among others. Definitions and criteria vary widely. Ecotourism and alternative tourism are umbrella expressions, although alternative tourism does not necessarily prize responsibility, just the move away from purely recreational mass tourism, whereas ecotourism does not exclude mass tourism.

Sustainable tourism is more specific, focusing on economically, socio-culturally and environmentally sustainable tourist activities. No impact should be permanent or irreversible. Sustainable tourism has been recognized by some United Nations agencies as an effective economic tool for, and measure of, sustainable growth – especially in the world’s poorer countries.

Community-based tourism necessarily implies the participation of local communities as the planners, managers and primary beneficiaries of sustainable tourism enterprises that support, dignify and respect local culture and resources.

Volun-tourism is a relatively new concept that sees visitors volunteering with local organisations, making sure that they give back as much as they can to the land offering them temporary hospitality.

Nature tourism

Nature tourism, on the other hand, is often defined as visiting a natural site such as a coral reef, rain forest, or wet land to enjoy its natural beauty. It denotes tourism dependent on natural resources. This does not include conventional beach tourism. Importantly, the definition of nature tourism is broader than that of ecotourism, which requires that travel is in an environmentally friendly fashion. Some nature tourism concerns viewing fauna and flora, or participating in adventure sports activities in which enjoyment of natural beauty is combined with physical exercise and general exhilaration.

Source: www.srilankatourism.org/

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