Viceroy train - Rolling through Tea Estates in Sri Lanka. — Photo courtesy of the embassy
On the occasion of the Independence Day of Sri Lanka, Ambassador from Sri Lanka to Việt Nam Prasanna Gamage sends Việt Nam News a story to promote the image of his country.
On February 4, 1948, 72 years ago, Sri Lanka gained independence from British colonial rule. Since then, Sri Lanka has achieved much in socio-economic development, governance, international relations, poverty alleviation and free health and education. Sri Lanka can be proud of its rich history of governance, being the oldest democracy in Asia, and being the first country in Asia to practice universal adult enfranchisement.
Sri Lanka and Việt Nam have a deep-rooted, warm and friendly relationship, which has its roots in their mutual affinity towards Buddhism. This was consolidated with Sri Lanka’s strong solidarity with Việt Nam during its struggle against colonial rule. The year 2020 marks an important milestone for Sri Lanka – Việt Nam relations, as the two countries will celebrate 50 years of formal diplomatic connections.
Sri Lanka is a country where every visitor is privy to a great many wonders.
With a history spanning over 2,500 years, Sri Lanka holds some of the world’s ancient cities, including Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Kandy; their glorious townships, palaces, temples and monasteries, intricately carved out of stone, once abandoned and forgotten with time amidst the soaring jungles.
Of all the ancient cities of Lanka, the most famed and exquisite is Anuradhapura. It was the capital of Sri Lanka from the fourth century BC up to the turn of the 11th century and was one of the most robust centres of political power and urban life in South Asia.
The citadel Sigiriya, a fifth century AD fortress and water garden, displays some extraordinary futuristic landscaping features, and a number of the oldest murals in the country.
Polonnaruwa, the second most ancient kingdom of the country, boasts admirable irrigation systems that, to this day, provide irrigation water to farmers in and around the city.
Kandy is one of the most picturesque cities in Sri Lanka and lies in the midst of the central hills. Being the cultural capital of Sri Lanka, the city is frequently visited by Buddhists, especially of the Theravada School. Kandy is famous among tourists for three main reasons: it is home to the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha (Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic; Dalada Maligawa), the Royal Botanical Gardens, and it always plays a special role when it comes to festivities such as the Cultural Pageant of Asia - Esala Perahara- in August every year.
For several millennia, Sri Lanka has been renowned for its warm hospitality and unique food, mainly rice and curries cooked with a coconut cream base together with tantalising spices. Other dishes show international influence, like Sri Lanka’s take on devilled dishes (meat or fish cooked in a spicy, sweet-and-sour-style sauce with onions and peppers), hoppers, egg hoppers, string hoppers and dosas - paper-thin pancakes made from rice batter and usually served stuffed with spiced vegetables - which originated in neighbouring India.
Perhaps the most famous Sri Lankan street dish is kotthu (roti bread, vegetables, eggs and meat), chopped up on a hot plate with metal plates used to mix it.
Some of the world's most scenic train journeys are found in Sri Lanka. During these epic rides, the trains travel through parts of the country that cars, motorcycles or buses simply cannot go; through the depths of the high country, weaving through mesmerising lush green tea plantations. Others run right on the water’s edge, from Colombo down to the southern beaches.
The breathtaking journey east from Columbo to the Hill Country rides through Kandy, Nanu Oya and Ella, to Badulla. The segment from Haputale to Ella of this route is considered one of the world’s most scenic train rides.
Ella, a charming township filled with boutiques and restaurants and surrounded by tea plantations, has become one of the most popular destinations in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka is also blessed with some of the best beaches in the world. These wide, golden-sanded beaches, where coconut palms grow freely, are ideal for surfing, snorkelling and swimming, but perhaps best for sitting back, cracking open a coconut and enjoying a good book until sunset.
So, Sri Lanka! — VNS