Official Name      
Conventional long form: Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Conventional short form: Sri Lanka
Former name : Ceylon

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 Emblem    

Sri Lanka used the British emblem when it was a British Crown Colony and this continued after gaining independence in 1948. According to the recommendation of a select committee appointed to devise a state emblem more suitable for Sri Lanka (Ceylon) we opted for a new state emblem. It had a lion with sword in its right fore paw encircled with a ‘Palapethi’ design atop. Below there was a strip carrying the country’s name in Sinhala, Tamil and English. A new Republican emblem was chosen after the country was declared a Republic on May 22nd, 1972. In addition to the lion with sword and the ‘Palapethi’ design it portrays the punkalasa, dhammachakka, sun, moon and two sheaves of paddy.

National Flower        

Nil Mahanel flower was declared the National Flower of Sri Lanka on February 26, 1986. Its botanical name is ‘Nympheae Stelleta and grows in shallow waters is found in all parts of the country. ‘ The flower which is purplish blue in colour has a heavy concentration of petals in the center. The Nil Mahanel flower is also considered a symbol of truth, purity and discipline.This flower is mentioned in many Sinhala, Pali and Sanskrit literary works. This flower which is also referred to as “Kuvalaya “, “indheewara”, “Niluppala”, “Nilothpala” and “Nilupul” occupies a pre eminent position in Buddhist literature too. It is said the ‘Nil Mahanel Flower’ was among the 108 ceremonial designs found on the footprint of Prince Siddhartha. It is believed that the damsels depicted in Sigiriya Frescoes also carry the Nil Mahanel flower in their hands. Traditional poetry known as “Sandesa Kavya” likens women’s eyes to the Nil Mahanel flower which has also been used as an ear ornament.

Latitude    5.55 to 9.50 N
Longitude    79.42 to 81.52 E
Size    25,332 sq. miles (65,606 sq. Km)
Maximum length    432 km
Maximum Breadth    224 km
Land area    65,525
Highest Waterfall    Bambarakanda, 241 meters
Highest Peak    Pidurutalagala, 2518 meters
Longest river    Mahaweli, 335km
Capital    Sri Jayawardenapura
Commercial Capital    7 Colombo (Population – 800,000 approximately)
Other large cities    Kandy, Galle, Jaffna
Ports    Colombo, Trincomalee, and Galle
International Airport    Katunayake (20 miles from Colombo)


Tropical with average annual rainfall varying from about 37″ to 228″. South West quarter and Central Region (approx.1/3 of the Island) receives average 79″ with a highest range between 158″ to 228″ being restricted to Western slopes of the Central Hills and North Eastern Hill Country. A little less than 2/3rd of Sri Lanka receives less than 79″. The lowest average rainfall is less than 40″ is confined to the extreme North Western and South East Region of Sri Lanka.

March/April    Conventional (Inter-monsoonal)
May through September    South West Monsoonal
October/November    Conventional/Cyclonic Depressional (Inter-monsoonal)
December through February    North East Monsoonal/Depressional
Average temperatures:

Maximum / Minumum :    Colombo 87.7260F / 75. – 0F
Kandy 83.7260F / 68.4260F
Nuwara Eliya 68.4260F / 52.5260F



Population    19.043 million
Male    9.707 million
Female    9.336 million
Population density    309 people per sq km
Population growth rate    1.4%
Population by Ethnicity  

Sinhalese – 74%
Sri Lanka Tamils – 13%
Indian Tamils – 5%
Muslims – 7%
Others (Burghers, Malays, and others) – 1%
Population by religion  

Buddhists – 69%
Hindus – 15%
Islam – 8%
Christians – 7%
Others – 1%



Compulsory from age 5 to 14 years

School attendance    : 98%
Literacy Rate:    91% (1999)
11 Universities offering degree courses in – Humanities, Natural Science, Business Management, Commerce, Mass Communication, Medicine, Dentistry, Engineering, Agriculture, Law, Veterinary Science, Architecture, and Computer Studies.


Sri Lanka follows decimal currency system in Rupees (Rs.) and cents (Cts.) with 100 cents equal to a rupee. Currency notes are available in the denominations of Rs. 2,10,20,50,100,200, 500 and 1000. Coins 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.


Read more:

The Sri Lankan National Anthem

The Government

History of Sri Lanka



Register with the High Commission

The Sri Lankan High Commission in Canberra would like to keep in touch with Sri Lankans and persons of Sri Lankan origin living in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and other Pacific Islands as well as Sri Lankan community organisations in those countries.

If you are a current/former Sri Lankan or an office bearer of a Sri Lankan community organisation we invite you to register with the High Commission.


Contact Us

61 Hampton Circuit, Yarralumla, Canberra
ACT 2600

Tel: (02) 6198 3756
Fax: (02) 6198 3760


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