Sri Lanka

Which country's flag depicts a yellow lion holding a sword?

And the answer: Sri Lanka.

Image courtesy: Sri Lanka public domain. 

Located about 55 km off the coast of India, the island nation of Sri Lanka has a rich cultural history, with influences from India, Portugal, the Netherlands, and England. On the national flag, the yellow lion represents the Sinhalese, the majority ethnic group in Sri Lanka, while the orange and green stripes represent the two minority groups, the Tamils and Muslims.

As reflected in the religious recognition of its flag, Sri Lanka's cultural mosaic is is at once ancient and constantly adapting. The longstanding Hindu and Buddhist tradition is pervasive in fields of art, architecture, literature, music, medicine and astronomy, while Indian and western influence is reflected in modern original works and adaptations.

Sri Lanka has been continuously inhabited for over two millennia. Its history is so dated that the first tree planted by human hands can be found in its soil – a 2,300-year-old sacred fig or bo-tree named Sri Maha Bodhiya. Scientists estimate that it was planted around the year 288 BC, and it is said that mother tree from which this specimen was propagated was none other than the tree under which the Lord Buddha was sitting when he gained enlightenment.

The Pearl of the Indian Ocean, or so it's called today, is known for its tea export. As the fourth largest tea exporter in the world, Ceylon Tea is considered to be some of the cleanest tea money can buy. Check out this site to learn more about its uses, production and history.

To experience a taste of Sri Lanka's rich food culture, check out this recipe. For sights, history and picturesque scenery, check out the video below.

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