Sri Lanka Facts for Kids

Here are some interesting Sri Lanka Facts which were chosen and researched by children especially for children.

Sri Lanka Facts | Country Facts

Flag of Sri LankaFlag of Sri Lanka
  • Population: 22 million inhabitants (2024)
  • Capital city: Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, referred to as Kotte (legislative) with 103,000 inhabitants and Colombo (commercial) with 640,000 inhabitants
  • Name: Sri Lanka, previously called Ceylon or Serendip, nickname: "Pearl of the Indian Ocean"
  • Government: Presidential republic
  • Languages: Sinhala and Tamil
  • Religion: mainly Buddhists (70%), Hindus (12%), Muslims (10%) Catholics (6%)
  • Currency: 1 Sri Lankan rupee  = 100 cents
  • History: The island was first settled in the 6th century BC, most probably by people from India. Various kingdoms ruled on the island from about 200 BC. Portuguese and Dutch settlers arrived here in the 16th and 17th century before the British arrived on the island. In 1802 Sri Lanka became a British crown colony. Sri Lanka was granted independece on 4 February 1948.
  • National Day: 4 February (Independence Day)
  • National Symbols: Ceylon junglefowl (national bird), Ceylon iron wood tree (national tree), blue water lily (national flower), jackfruit (national fruit)
  • National Anthem: Sri Lanka Matha (Mother Sri Lanka)
  • Prime minister: Dinesh Gunawardena since 2022

Sri Lanka Facts for Kids
Sri Lanka Geography

Sri Lanka is an island country in the Indian Ocean and located on the Asian continent in South Asia. The island lies to the southeast of the Indian peninsula.

A land bridge between the island and India existed until the 15th century when a cyclone broke the land bridge apart.

The island is mostly flat with some mountains in the central and southern parts. 

Map of Sri LankaMap of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is slightly larger than the state of West Virginia/ USA or slightly larger than Lithuania or about double the size of Belgium.

It takes a 10.5-hour flight from London/UK to reach Colombo/ Sri Lanka. A flight to Sri Lanka takes about 17 hours from New York/ USA and 14.5 hours from Sydney/ Australia.

Sri Lanka Geography Superlatives 

  • The largest city of Sri Lanka is Colombo with about 640,000 inhabitants. Colombo is the main business centre of the country.
Lotus Tower in Colombo is the highest building in Sri LankaColombo and Lotus Tower
  • The Lotus Tower in Colombo is the highest tower in Sri Lanka with 350 m/ 1,148 ft. Lotus Tower is among the 50 tallest skyscrapers in Asia.
  • Sri Lanka's highest mountain peak is the Piduruthalagala with 2,524 m/ 8,281 ft.
  • The longest river of Sri Lanka is the Mahaweli River with 335 km/ 208 miles.
  • Sri Lanka's does not have any natural lakes, but there are several dams, water reservoirs and water tanks in the country. The largest reservoir is called Kala Wewa and is almost 7 km/ 22,000 ft long.
  • The Kandy to Ella train journey is often named among the most scenic train rides in the world.
On the way to Kandy/Sri LankaOn the road to Kandy

Sri Lanka Facts 
Landmarks and Attractions

Sri Lanka's capital city KotteSri Lanka's capital city Kotte
Nine Arches Bridge in Sri LankaNine Arches Bridge
Golden Temple in Dambulla/Sri LankaGolden Temple in Dambulla
Lighthouse and Fort of Galle in Sri Lanka - image by Timo Gotz/shutterstock.comLighthouse and Fort of Galle - image by Timo Gotz
temple of the tooth relicTemple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy
Yala National Park in Sri LankaYala National Park
sri lanka baobab hirangaMannar Baobab

Sri Lanka Facts | Animals in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots.

More than 125 mammal species live in Sri Lanka, among them Asian elephants, the pangolin or the Sri Lankan leopard. 

Sri Lanka animals: Leopard in Sri LankaLeopard

The Horton plains in the central highlands of Sri Lanka are home to many endemic species such as the sambar deer and the purple-faced langur and many endemic bird species. 

Sri Lanka Facts 

Most of the people in Sri Lanka live in the country's southwestern regions and along the eastern coast as well as on the Jaffna Peninsula in the north. 

The Sri Lankan people mainly live in rural areas and only 19% live in urban areas which means cities and towns.

tea pickerTea picker in the tea plantations

Religion plays an important role in Sri Lankan culture and tradition. The religions in Sri Lanka are Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Islam. Most of the people are Buddhists or Hindus. 

sri lanka buddha statuesSri Lanka Buddha statues

The national languages are Sinhalese and Tamil.

Sinhala proverb

A typical Sri Lankan tradition is when greeting or when meeting a person, you should put your hands together and say the phrase "Ayubowan" which means 'hello' in a much more formal way. Another tradition is to welcome people and offer a glass of water or drink when visitors come to your house. 

Sri Lanka has many unique customs and traditions.

An essentially Sri Lankan festival that is celebrated annually, is the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, which is commonly referred to as the Aluth Avurudda

Another big celebration is Vesak Day or Buddha Day. This celebration is as important to Sri Lanka as what is Christmas to many western countries. Read more about Vesak Day traditions in Sri Lanka here.

vesak day facts

Cricket is the most popular sport in Sri Lanka, though Volleyball is named the national sport according to the National Ministry of Sports.

Sri Lanka won the cricket world cup in 1996 and the Asia Cup in 2022 where they were also runners-up in 2023 - together with Pakistan.

The Sri Lankan national cricket team is called "The Lions", the team colours are blue and yellow. 

sri lanka fanSri Lanka's national cricket colours are blue and yellow

Sri Lanka Facts for Kids
Sri Lankan Food

Sri Lanka's cuisine is renowned for its delicious rice and coconut dishes. The country is also famous for its spices mainly cinnamon and black pepper.

Rice is the main staple food and is eaten throughout the day. It can be served with different curries made with vegetables, spices, meats, nuts, yams and fruits.

Fresh fruits at the market in Sri LankaFresh fruits at the market

Typical Sri Lankan Food:

  • Kiribath: sticky and sweet milk rice 
  • Lunumiris: spicy chilli sambal paste made with chilli, shallots, lime juice and spices. This sauce usually  includes also cured tuna called 'Maldive fish' as the tuna used in the sambal comes from the Maldives.
  • Ambulthiyal: sour and peppery fish curry made with chilli, fish, tamarind and spices. 
  • Pittu: steamed rice dish made with rice flour and shredded coconut and coconut milk. It can be served for breakfast with fruit or can be enjoyed also as a savoury dish with curry or dried fish
Pittu is traditionally eaten for breakfast in Sri LankaPittu is traditionally eaten for breakfast
  • Kottu: shredded roti mixed with various vegetables, egg and meat such as chicken, beef or mutton
  • Dosa: similar to a very flat pancake or French crepe, this popular street food is eaten for breakfast or enjoyed with curries and chutneys.
  • Egg hoppers: Egg Hoppers are a local delicacy – one could consider it as a type of crepe with a fried egg on top. 
Egg hoppers - image by Hiranga Bandara SuraweeraEgg hoppers - image by Hiranga Bandara Suraweera

Traditional egg hoppers are made out of rice flour, or a combination of rice flour and bread flour, fermented together in water with a microbial culture. The fermented watery paste is then swept lightly across a round-bottom frying pan together with an egg at the center.

Sri Lankan Economy

Sri Lanka is rich in gems, pearls and ivory. The main agricultural products are tea, rubber, coconut, sugarcane, coffee, herbs such as cinnamon and coffee.

The main trading partners are the USA, UK, India, China and Singapore.

Cinnamon barkCinnamon is the inner bark of evergreen plants

Many people are also employed in the handloom and batik industry, fishing industry, clay industry, brass industry, mask industry and tourism industry. More than 2 million tourists visit Sri Lanka every year.

"In the southern coastal areas you will see many unique things, like stilt fishermen. Those fisherman stands on stilts from dawn to dusk to catch fish to sell."

Fishermen on Stilts in Sri Lanka at SunriseFishermen on Stilts

Sri Lanka Facts for Kids

This article contains content from: Narmada Bharati (Swarnamali Girls College Candy/Sri Lanka), Naveesha Menikwadeuge (Lyceum International School/Sri Lanka), Thisal Methvidu Kumarasiri (Gateway College Colombo/Sri Lanka), Senal Vidurath Kumarasiri (Gateway College Colombo/Sri Lanka) and D. Cojitha Senanayake (S. Thomas’ College/Sri Lanka) as well as Hiranga Bandara Suraweera - Thank you very much!

Further Resources used:

  • Central Intelligence Agency. "Sri Lanka". CIA World Fact Book. Updated 1 May 2024. Last accessed 3 May 2024
  • Rock. "How To Make Koththu Roti At Home." Top Sri Lankan Recipe. Last updated 16 April 2018. Last accessed 3 May 2024
  • Dilmah Conservation. "Mammals." Dilmah Conservation. Last accessed 3 May 2024
  • Sri Lanka Tourism. "Welcome to Sri Lanka". SriLankaTravel. Last accessed 3 May 2024

Images on Sri Lanka Facts for Kids: Mannar Baobab and Egg Hoppers by Hiranga Bandara Suraweera; Lotus Tower by msmclicks/, Galle Fort by TimoGotz/, others from, and own images.

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