Sri Lanka, an island in the Indian Ocean is located to the South of the Indian subcontinent. It lies between 5 55, and 9 55' North of the equator and between the Eastern longitudes 79 42, and 81 52. The total land area is 65,610 sq. km and is astonishingly varied. A length of 445 km and breadth of 225 km encompasses beautiful tropical beaches, verdant vegetation, ancient monuments and a thousand delights to please all tastes. The relief features of the island consist of a mountainous mass somewhat south of the centre, with height exceeding 2,500 meters, surrounded by broad plains. Palm fringed beaches surround the island and the sea temperature rarely fall below 27 C.
Sinhala (also called Sinhalese or Singhalese) is the mother tongue of the Sinhalese ethnic group which is the largest in Sri Lanka. It belongs to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages.
Sinhala is spoken by about 16 million people in Sri Lanka, about 13 million of whom are native speakers. It is one of the constitutionally-recognised official languages of Sri Lanka, along with Tamil. Tamil is a classical language and the oldest of the Dravidian language family and spoken by the Tamil population of Sri Lanka. It is also spoken by Tamils in India, Malaysia and Singapore. As of 1996, it was the eighteenth most spoken language, with over 74 million speakers worldwide.
|Location||Southern Asia, island in the Indian Ocean, south of India|
|Climate||Tropical monsoon; northeast monsoon (December to March); southwest monsoon (June to October)|
|Ethnic Make-up:||Sinhalese 73.8%, Sri Lankan Moors 7.2%, Indian Tamil 4.6%, Sri Lankan Tamil 3.9%, 10.5%|
|Religion(s):||Buddhist 69.1%, Muslim 7.6%, Hindu 7.1%, Christian 6.2%, other 10%|