Rakhee Ghelani

Business Consultant, Writer and Traveller

The Difference Between Sri Lanka and India

It had been 18 months since I had been outside of India.  That’s a long time, and to be honest I didn’t think going to Sri Lanka was really going to be a big change from what had become normality to me, after all at some points there is only 30 kilomtres separating Tamil Nadu from Sri Lanka, as I discovered when visiting Rameswaram.

How wrong was I?

From the minute we got off the plane I knew I was in a different country. It wasn’t just a case of a “same same but different”, it was a competely new and refreshing experience.  So exactly how is Sri Lanka different from India?

The People

The first thing I noticed was the people.  They are polite, respectful and considerate of others.  I was astonished at the airport as a car slowed down to let us cross the road.  I have become accustomed to being defensive when trying to pass a car, it took a while for me to get used to trusting that someone wasn’t going to try and run me over when I went near a road.  The only exception would have to be buses, which hurtle down the narrow roads at a breakneck pace to catch their next passenger, taking no prisoners along the way. You have to be quick and on your guard to stay out of their way.

One of the disadvantages with dealing with such a polite race is that it was a challenge getting them to tell us what they wanted.  Our driver was too shy to ask us for an advance payment. It took him four days to work up the courage to subtly ask us for some money, something that would have been no issue at all.

Whilst I didn’t feel “stared at” as much as I do in India, I have never been flashed at at home, and unfortunately I was on my first day in Sri Lanka. That said, I still think I would feel quite safe travelling around Sri Lanka on my own if I were to come again.  There is a gentleness to the race that makes me believe it would be alright for a solo female traveller (however on this trip I travelled with my parents and cousin).

The Environment

I have always known that India is not the cleanest of places, but I think after 18 months I am becoming a little bit desensitised to the filth that covers the streets.  Sri Lanka certainly reminded how beautiful the world can look.

Even though this country does not have as much wealth as India, its people appear to have a much better standard of living.  I only saw one small slum in my travels, unlike the hundreds (or thousands) I have seen all over India.  Yes Sri Lanka is much smaller than India, but it doesn’t have anywhere near the amount of resources or extravagance that I have seen either.

Somehow, this small country has found a way to provide a reasonable standard of living for its population, despite being in a state of war for so long.  The streets are relatively clean, there are few make-shift houses and I had almost forgotten what fresh, unadulterated air smelt like! Walking along the seaside promenade in the centre of Colombo I couldn’t help but wonder why Bandra Bandstand or Marine Drive couldn’t be so pristine.  There was no rubbish littering the sand, no one relieving themselves on the beach and no fear that the water was contaminated with god knows what.

Looking around Sri Lanka made me feel a bit sad that India, this country that I love and call home, can’t find a way to provide a minimum standard of living to so many, or even just have some pride in the environment.  In this regard, Sri Lanka really does put India to shame.

The Food

The hardest part of the trip would have to have been the lack of variety in the food, particularly for vegetarians.  Whilst I am not vegetarian my mother is and I really felt for her whenever we stopped somewhere for a meal.  At almost every town and restaurant we visited we were greeted with exactly the same menu. Whilst Sri Lankan rice and curry is fabulous, there was no other variety for a vegetarian. I found this really odd, particularly since it is a predominantly buddhist country.

In India I was vegetarian for the 9 months I backpacked and never had an issue, it is such an accepted part of the culture that it makes travelling the country a joy. For any vegetarian thinking of going to Sri Lanka, I would suggest they should be prepared to have little variety and just stick to the local rice and curry (without the meat).

Return?

Leaving Sri Lanka, did make me think a little about why I was choosing to return to India.  Now I am back here I see the opportunity and diversity that this country has, but I do long for the crystal blue waters of Sri Lanka.  I am sure I will return to this neighbouring country sometime soon.

244 comments on “The Difference Between Sri Lanka and India

  1. Dasun
    May 11, 2014

    Hi Rakhee,
    Your great article impressed me a lot and make me proud of my country. Thanks a lot and of course you should visit this paradis again. :)
    No please let me narrate my story.
    I’m a Sri Lankan and from my early childhood I wished every day that this country to be a better place where every family will get a good living standard. Tall sky scrapers, etc. a true model of European development :D
    . I read and also reading many history related books that relates the history of Europe and what obstacles they’ve came across to get an actual idea of how European societies developed and evolved wit time and why some other countries gone wrong in their struggle to development.
    In those books I found that European countries have also came across so many wars and there were so many dark ages during the past few hundred years. But some decisions taken in some periods made their success. Such as
    industrialization ( which is started in England).
    French Revolution which accepts every human being has his own rights that are inherently coming but not to be granted explicitly by their rulers.
    Readiness to take risks.
    So by those books i got a cristal clear abstract picture about how some countries get totally developed and some countries are still in progress. Finally found that if your nation have a vision and eagerness to be developed, you’ll be able to achieve it in some how. It’s all about time. Time will make any country developed. Sri Lanka or India or Pakistan. Theory is same. But you should manage your productivity. Make your population more productive so they’ll become an unbeatable force and asset ( like in china) . I think India has far more to go because their over population (which is still not fully productive)pulls it down. Unlike India , Sri Lankan workforce is more productive. All they need is to give some fresh air of new technologies. (I’m happy that its currently happening so that school and university syllabuses are changed which now occupies some hundreads of new areas such as bio technology, information technology, and so on. That will make Sri Lankan people more productive and unbeatable.
    Finally if you need to read more how fates of societies change with their envirnment, genes, and so on, you can read this “Guns Germs and Steel” which gives us a broad picture about development.
    http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1842.Guns_Germs_and_Steel

    Your great article impressed me a lot and make me proud of my country. Thanks a lot and God Bless you.

  2. Pingback: Sri Lanka is not India (Blogpost #2 GP) | Tales of a Tall Man

  3. Sandya Perera
    February 28, 2014

    To sacheen,
    Sri lankan army has never killed any innocent tamil citizen and there are dozens of proof for that,it’s just that tamils who are biased to LTTE spread unsubstantiated news which are totally false against them to create a wrong impression on us.the LTTE wanted to own Sri lanka and make it a pure tamil region,they kill so many innocent people unlike our army.They forcibly train little children by deviating them from education for the war wage.They kill any mass impartial of their nationality.be it a sinhalees or a tamil, if they show any reluctance to join their party, they will be sentenced to death.And that is the bitter truth about them
    Please do get your facts corrected!!!
    The people in our country are more polite than Indians.For an instance take a loo at our cricket team.I have seen many Indian,Pakistani cricketers passing insulting hints to their opponents when they play really good unlike our cricketers.
    Sri lankans are bonded to Idians as we come from North Indians.Hence we have a lot more in commen,Be ith the language ,the gestures.you don’t feel any difference.
    And as we don’t have a huge film industry we prefer watching bollywood films than Hollywood films because the cultures are so silmilar.
    I am touched by your sweet compliments on my country.Do take a visit another time.God bless you….

  4. Vikram
    January 13, 2014

    I should point out here that the experience of a foreign country being cleaner than India is not just restricted to Western ones, Japan or even Sri Lanka. Virtually every country in the world is cleaner than ours. Syria, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Argentina, you name it. It is a mystery to me as to why India is so unclean. It might have something to with our over centralized government at the state level, as well as the fact that the country is going through a phase of urbanization, with the distressed rural poor moving to the cities.

    But in any case, I hope India makes progress on this count soon. Its not a hard problem to solve.

    • Rakhee Ghelani
      January 16, 2014

      Yes indeed, I have just come back from Thailand and Burma, and I found the refugee camps on the Thai border cleaner than Bombay! I actually think there is a cultural issue to it as well, where people will go to lengths to keep the space that is “theirs” clean but have no issue throwing rubbish right outside their door. There seems to be an absence of any civic responsibility in India.

  5. Steven
    December 29, 2013

    Dear Rakhee,

    I thought you hit the nail on the head with your comparison of Sri Lanka and India. Your article is well-written and offers a balanced viewpoint.

    I’ve been visiting Mumbai, New Delhi, Panaji and Ahmedabad for 10 years now and despair that those cities are just as dirty as they were when I first went, the roads just as pot-holed, filthy and smelly, the number of homeless just as high, the drivers just as inconsiderate, the beaches and landmarks just as neglected, the levels of hygiene just as low and the scammers just as rife.

    What a breath of fresh air, literally, my visit to Sri Lanka was, in comparison, this Christmas! My first impressions were the calm atmosphere, clean toilets, friendly and smiling airport and immigration staff at Colombo Airport.

    It’s a shame that Colombo Airport is the only airport with regular scheduled flights to Sri Lanka. (The Matalla Airport near Hambantota is a complete white elephant as it does not have (m)any scheduled international flights. Maybe because it’s not near any popular tourist destinations). How about investing in airports near Galle, Kandy, Trincomalee and Jaffna?

    My driver greeted me politely when I came out of Arrivals. Although his English wasn’t the best (which is quite rare as everyone else I spoke to, including tuk-tuk drivers, spoke and understood English really well). I arrived at Unawatuna and was impressed by the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff at the hotel there. I hadn’t encountered anything similar in all the times I’d visited India. Maybe I’d just been unlucky. I visited various towns and beaches on the south coast of Sri Lanka as well as the town of Kandy and I was really taken by the cleanliness of those places and pride that the locals take in looking after their environment.

    Naturally, I encountered hawkers on the beach and some over-zealous tuk-tuk drivers wanting to take me to spice farms and temples. The clear difference between those sort of people in Sri Lanka, compared to those in India, is that the Sri Lankans are not pushy, they accept ‘no’ as an answer, so you don’t feel intimidated by them as a tourist, whereas I have definitely found the hordes of taxi drivers outside the airports in India, the hawkers and beggars to be quite aggressive and intimidating.

    I didn’t fall ill once, despite eating street food and drinking some tap-water. Naturally, I normally drank mineral water when I was out and about. That’s another thing: I discovered Himalaya mineral water in India, which is healthier than the ubiquitous filtered water, Bisleri. However, there were only two places (hotels) in Ahmedabad where I could buy it. In comparison, I was able to buy Knuckles and Evian mineral water, as well as alcohol and dishes made of beef and pork, without any problem during my stay in Sri Lanka. The easy availability of good mineral water and a range of meat and vegetarian dishes make Sri Lanka (well, the south, at least) much more tourist-friendly.

    I wish I could have stayed in Sri Lanka longer. I would definitely like to visit the beautiful island again in the not-too-distant future. The people responsible for looking after tourist areas in India, be they the mayors, Ministry of Tourism officials or the Ministers of State need to visit tourist areas in Sri Lanka and see what they are doing right and take a leaf out of their book.

    Steve

    • Rakhee Ghelani
      December 30, 2013

      It sounds like you had a similar experience to me Steve :-)

      • nimi chengapa
        December 30, 2013

        Rakhee n Steve, from the name I am guessing that you Steve belong to neither India nor Sri Lanka. Well that is the true unbiased observation of the two countries. You have travelled the length n breadth of both countries unlike all the others who rave n rant about their countries without any travel experiences!

        Enjoy your travels!

  6. Hishan De Silva
    November 15, 2013

    Thank you for praising my loving country. Please come and visit us soon.

  7. Chamara
    November 15, 2013

    Cool comparison.
    I’m a Sri Lankan who have been to India and you are spot on just about everything.
    Crossing the road in India is unthinkable for us Sri lankans.
    I nearly got hit twice because the vehicles simply do not slow down.
    Sri lankan pedestrians usually expect the vehicle to slow down when crossing the road and they usually don’t cross the path of a vehicle if they can. To be frank this courtesy is fading lately.
    I think you guys need better traffic police. Our traffic police prefer to take bribes than issue tickets but the penalty of at least a bribe is there when you break the law. Have seen so many Indian drivers breaking laws and going unpunished.

    That being said indian vegetarian variety is unbeatable. So many stuff to try out. so cheap and so many. There are distinct flavours you may like some you may dislike some but the sheer variety is … Sri lankan vegetarians only have “vegi something” that’s it l (vegi rolls or vegi pastry or .. you get the picture, unless you go expensive that is ). Truly feel sad about Sri Lankan vegetarians.

    btw
    Shame on you fellow commentors who felt the need to drag politics.

  8. Aaks
    November 14, 2013

    Nice to hear about Sri Lanka from an Indian without touching politics. I am a Sri Lankan who visited India few times. Sometimes I too tend compare between countries and here are my brief views about India (vs Sri Lanka):

    +
    * Food and other essential items are cheaper in India, hence the CoL for a middle-class life.
    * It is a paradise for vegetarians. In Sri Lanka – where the majority of Buddhists do not understand the word vegetarian (for them dried fish, etc, are vegetarian), the few ‘Saivar’ restaurants – run by Hindus, are the only places you can get some real vege food.
    * It is common to encounter multilingual people among all walks of life in India.
    * Corruption/bribery is very much visible at all the levels and has become a norm. I feel Sri Lanka too is slipping towards that stage.

    -
    * Have to be overly cautious about food and water related health issues
    * It common to see many people behaving improperly while waiting in queues, etc. They don’t care about others and just want achieve what they want by hook or by crook.

    The common:
    * Genuine smiles can be seen among villagers, and not much among city dwellers.
    * Taxi drivers, police, etc are the least trust worthy people once you get yourself identified as a foreigner.

    • Aaks
      November 14, 2013

      Sorry! Have put “* Corruption/bribery is very much visible at all the levels and has become a norm. I feel Sri Lanka too is slipping towards that stage.” in the wrong category.

  9. Hasitha Nuwan
    November 14, 2013

    Thank you soo much Rakhee Ghelani for your article about our contry . We are warmly welcome all indian people to come and see what is really happening in sri lanka. As a developing country we have taken huge steps last few years. Now all our people sinhalese,tamils,muslims, christians, live very happily and now all of us have a dreamz to have a better life. I think sri lanka will be a brighting country within few years. Rakhee we also like to come to india and visit everywhere .

    • Rakhee Ghelani
      November 14, 2013

      Thanks. Let me know what you think of India when you come here.

      • Anuruddha
        November 14, 2013

        Is it ok to intervene? I have been to India several times and it is my favorite foreign country. I think “Inida is a beautiful poem, written on a dirty paper. If someone just throw the paper away without looking at it, he will loose an amazing part of this world”. You have a rich culture, amazing history and good people. But why can’t you make it more cleaner than this? and why can’t you reduce the poverty that is shocking to see. However I love your country.

        • Rakhee Ghelani
          November 14, 2013

          Yes I feel your frustration with regards to the pollution and poverty in India as well.

  10. Kasun
    October 20, 2013

    Hi. Have to say that this is a really good read. Thank you so much. And at first I was really surprised because most of the time what an Indian would say about our country is what they see in mainstream media such as so called war crimes and stuff. Ever since Ceylon became Sri Lanka, we have this problem of the world seeing only the wrong side. Some have already come to a conclusion taking “genocide” facts from the media to an account. But only a person who have seen the country from his/her own eyes knows the truth. Yes we have our problems. But we will recover and bring this country to the level it was when they called it “The pearl of the Indian ocean”. Again I thank you for this great article and being honest. All the best. Hope you’ll come back again and have a great time :)

    • Rakhee Ghelani
      October 20, 2013

      My pleasure, thank you.

      • Kasun
        November 4, 2013

        You are welcome. Come back again very soon. Take care :)

  11. hep
    October 16, 2013

    Rakhee Ghelani , do not believe in Srilankan hospitality . The rebuke of a friend is better than the kiss of an enemy . Srilankans treat foreigners well because, they did not have proper tourism in their country due to civil war .If you were to settle in srilanka one day , they will treat you the same way they are treating the minority groups. if you do not believe me , read about the suffering of the Sinhalese journalists and about the genocide of tamil minority group .Also read about how an Sinhalese man killed President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga’s husband. GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER ON THE OTHER SIDE…GOD bless INDIA.Iam not saying all the srilankans are bad but srilankans are capable of illtreating their own Sinhala people bad .. But they cannot beat Indian Hospitality

    • hep
      October 16, 2013

      they have even allowed china to put their military base in their country . china has put their military base surrounding india.do you know that ? Why is that srilanka is allowing china to do it if they are FOR India?

      • Rakhee Ghelani
        October 16, 2013

        I don’t know enough about this to comment on it.

        • Kennath
          October 24, 2013

          Rakhee you are right, these people who I suspect LTTE sympathizers would enjoy every moment they find to attack and trash the good name of SL., They make it political in every opportunity they see. Just Ignore politics and LTTE supporters against SL and India.

    • Rakhee Ghelani
      October 16, 2013

      Each is entitled to their own opinion. I didn’t mention the political issues in Sri Lanka at all in my post. Nor did I mention how badly some Indians treat other Indians either. It happens in many countries.

      • hep
        October 19, 2013

        yes I agree …Political issues are always there in every country . pls don’t misunderstand me since I pointed out the problem the country is facing . .But to know the pros and cons of a country is informative for our own safety..Srilanka is an awesome country for tourism though .

    • Kasun
      October 20, 2013

      Tell me, you haven’t even been to Sri Lanka and you are a typical Indian who would go through what the mainstream media has to say and there, genocide! You have no idea what the truth is.

      I know it hurts to be compared but this is her opinion and she has her rights to say so. We all have our problems since no one is perfect. Don’t tell me that there is no problem at all in India. No need of the mentioning of rapes and stuff. All I have to say is that do a bit of studying before you come to a point. We have our history of hospitality if you take a look at the historical records. Not knowing that is your problem. India is a great country. And so is Sri Lanka. It also has a similarly long and great history, and if you check who invaded who, your point of view might change.

    • Kennath
      October 24, 2013

      and that’s what I called Indian Hospitality and Tamil hate against Sinhales and North Indians…this guy ‘hap’ is preaching ‘genocide’ prayer again and now it has become some amusement for all around the world. Its not Sri Lanka who waged a genocide , but its tamil Tigers waged a genocide and ethnic cleansing against Sinhales and Muslims in Sri lanka to create a mono Ethnic homeland for tamils, blessed by TN politicians. Lucky SL forces eradicated them and saved millions of lives and saved Indian future too (As India Knew what TN is going for). Sri lankans were pushed to this chaos by British created tamil problem in SL. As now they are out of it, you can see the true nature of Sri Lankan spirit.

    • Hasitha Nuwan
      November 14, 2013

      i m really worry hep what you think about sri lanka.. If you have a chance to come to sri lanka please come see what is really happens in our country.. I have also come to india two times . But compared to india people are totally different. How they think, how they respect to others, how they respect to other religeus, there is no any difference amoung sri lankan. Sinhalese or Tamils or Muslims or Christians or what ever.. As sri lankans we believe other countries want to make us into a trouble and destroy our uniqueness.. Dont comment like this if u never have been to sri lanka

      • Rakhee Ghelani
        November 14, 2013

        Just like you, everyone is entitled to their opinion. Please refrain from telling other readers what they can and can’t do.

  12. Vijitha Fernando
    October 5, 2013

    Dear Rakhee, Your article is indeed a great appreciation to Sri Lanka as well as to all Sri Lankans. Thank you very much for being that much generous in appreciating my country.

    I read all good and bad comments published by numerous readers up to now, and would love to add my comment, too.

    I never appreciate my mother in-front of hers but the mothers of my friends. Does this mean that I do not love my mother…….? I always love, respect and admire my mother and I still want her to be the best mother among all the mothers in this world. So, I would suggest her to overcome her weaknesses by an appreciation of someone else. Wise mothers would always filter required essence with no big fuss. Hope you tried this in your article, too.

    There are both good and bad people live in every corner of this world. Once we get to associate with majority of good people we tend to say it is a good place or vice versa. It all depends on the attitude of people. All Asian countries have gained a good name for hospitality but it has given a price today. Even in Sri Lanka we face this tragedy but still the majority is genuine. If we are fond of giving than receiving, we can become nicer people to each other but the materialism in the current world dragging our humanity down the hill.

    After all, I really enjoyed reading your article and it helps us building our pride as a nation. We love to be appreciated by non-Sri Lankans at all times and thank you very much for giving that to us. It is not only about our country, you made it clear to gain more attention of Indians living and visiting our country by Sri Lankans. You and all the other Indians gained more respect of mine than before reading your article.

    • Rakhee Ghelani
      October 6, 2013

      Thanks for your insightful thoughts. I am glad you enjoyed the post.

  13. Hash
    October 4, 2013

    Nice article thank you. Though Sri Lanka need improvements in many areas i think they are doing a good job comparatively. The country after the war is getting nicer and cleaner. Im still not sure of how wealthier it will get though.

  14. ROVIE
    October 4, 2013

    wow!!!! Was a really nice article to read!!! :)

  15. Lakshitha Perera
    October 3, 2013

    I am to be honest much delighted to hear your very kind words of appreciation about my beloved country Sri Lanka… And I also thank you for pointing out some of its faults which we will definitely will work on to get rid of… Hope you will visit Sri Lanka again soon enough and if you ever need any help here in Sri Lanka, you now definitely have someone you can call or email… :)

  16. Roshni
    October 3, 2013

    I’m very contented to read your article about our country. We do have many restaurants around colombo city for vegetarians which are all owned by hindu people and has many lip smacking dishes served. Next time when you visit, check for the restaurants at wellawatta (colombo 6) or Bambalapitiya (colombo 4)

  17. vindhi
    October 3, 2013

    Hey, Its such a refreshing change to hear something nice about the country. Yes, we have had/ still have our issues, but we are working on them. Its really is an extraordinary beautiful country with a lot to offer to travelers. Thank you for being big enough to acknowledge it. :) Cheers!!

  18. S Bhattacharya
    October 1, 2013

    Dear Rakhi..I am not surprised by your comment. Its only few Indians like you who can say derogatory remarks about his or her own country in a public forum. It shows that you do not have the slightest respect about your country and it appears that you seem to be ashamed of your country. I would like to pose a single question to you, what have you done to help your country. I am sure, your answer will be” what can I do”. If you find that country so polite and well cultured than you are free to stay there. I do not think that somebody is forcing you to stay in India nor your departure from this great land will cause serious national loss. Please do not spread ill words about my country.

    • Rakhee Ghelani
      October 1, 2013

      Thanks for your comments. I am entitled to my opinion. Just because I live in India does not mean I am not allowed to say anything ill about the country, it is after all a democracy. Furthermore just because I say something unflattering about India, does not mean that I do not love many things about this country.

      As I live in a free country, I will continue to say whatever I wish. If you do not wish to hear it, then I suggest you refrain from reading my blog.

      Rakhee

    • Kalana ජයසිංහ
      October 3, 2013

      Hey! man, she can have her own opinions based on her experience and observations. She didn’t condemn India, she was being impartial all through the writing.

      We respect India a lot, and all the problems we have are no deeper than mere sibling rivalry ;)

      I’m sure Ms Rakhee is a productive citizen based on her details.

      As she mentioned, I quote “As I live in a free country, I will continue to say whatever I wish. If you do not wish to hear it, then I suggest you refrain from reading my blog.”

      * Thanks Ms Rakhee for this nice little blog about the difference you experienced and your positive attitude towards my motherland!

  19. dee
    August 29, 2013

    Hi rakhee!

    Awesome read! Glad you enjoyed your stay in SL and hope to see you soon!
    Cheers!

  20. Niru
    August 21, 2013

    http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1023053?sr=fb082013indiaassault2p

    “Whilst I didn’t feel “stared at” as much as I do in India, I have never been flashed at at home, and unfortunately I was on my first day in Sri Lanka. That said, I still think I would feel quite safe travelling around Sri Lanka on my own if I were to come again.”

    I dont think its just a Lankan problem.

    • Rakhee Ghelani
      August 22, 2013

      No and its not just an indian problem either unfortunately.

  21. janaka
    August 20, 2013

    Thanks for ure article,,,at last i found one indian who spoke about srilanka in goodway

  22. Anoma Perera
    August 20, 2013

    Thank you on behalf of all Sri Lankans who love their motherland
    Anoma Perera

  23. indika
    August 19, 2013

    thanks for the great comment about our country we are just trying hard to get up after 30 years war(you know who killed Rajiv Gandi) with LTTE colombo as orther areas under bomb threaten of LTTE

  24. charaka
    August 18, 2013

    Wow the article was impressive !!! hope that u visit Sri Lanka again !! Cheers !!

  25. Aakyl
    August 18, 2013

    Hi…

    I am so delighted with your article.

    Thanks.!!

  26. Ruwan
    August 17, 2013

    God bless you and God bless Sri Lanka.

  27. Eranga
    August 16, 2013

    After reading all the comments I feel proud about my country. Thanks Rakhee

  28. Sanda
    August 12, 2013

    Here is a link for you to check and compare GDP per person.

    http://mka42.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/saarc-countries.html

    Looks like there is about $2000 difference in GDP per person of the 2 countries.

    But India and Sri Lanka are special in their unique ways…and bonded by tightly connected history…friendly and offensive at times.

    From Rama & Ravana legend to Lord Buddha. We share different versions of the same story. We will always be connected. And thanks Rakhee for bringing up this conversation

    • Rakhee Ghelani
      August 12, 2013

      Thanks for sending that through. Very interesting indeed, its incredible how much difference that $2,000 makes in the way a country and its people look.

      • bob marly
        March 22, 2014

        those stats are old..SL is now on purchasing power $7000..India is about 2600..

  29. SANJEEWA
    August 12, 2013

    DEAR RAKHEE,
    NICE TO SOME ONE TELLING THE NICEST THINGS ABOUT SRI LANKA.,EVEN I GO TO INDIA,BUT I DON’T LIKE TO STAY THERE @ LEAST MORE THAN ONE DAY. NO ONE THING THEY MUST DO IS CLEAN THE CITY,THEY ARE SAYING BECAUSE OF THE “POPULATION ” THIS IS HAPPENING BUT I HAVE BEING TO CHINA,IT IS BETTER THAN ITALY OR PARIS. SO IT IS TOTALITY THE WAY THEY THINK.

    • Rakhee Ghelani
      August 12, 2013

      Yes I am not sure that population size fully explains the difference with India, I too have been to China and it has different issues to India.

  30. Gauti
    August 11, 2013

    I just saw this article uploaded by my friend on Facebook . I do admire about your work and your capability but in certain found it a way too much judgemental and I think you been in India but still you don’t know that much about India FYI if you try to travel across state by state you will find a real diversity and I guess you had never been all part of India . I had been travelling across the world and I know what are the views of people over there.

    • Rakhee Ghelani
      August 12, 2013

      Thanks for your thoughts. I have actually lived in India for two years now and have been to almost 100 cities and towns across 18 states and territories, so I do believe I have seen a lot of the diversity across states. You can read about my travels across India throughout my blog.

  31. MADAN
    August 10, 2013

    SORRY TO SAY THIS.. I AM AN INDIAN.. U HAVE MISJUDGED OUR PLACE.. THIS IS THE..ONLY PLACE WHERE U CAN FIND HUMANITY.. NOT ENMITY.. LIKE OTHERS .. You’re basing your laws and your whole outlook on natural life on mythology. It won’t work. That’s why you have all these problems .. NOT ONLY HERE EVERYWHERE.. U WILL HAVE..INDIA INVITES EVERYBODY.. WHETHER UR BAD OR GOOD.. AS SAME U CANT FIND ANYWHERE.. FROM THIS..
    I SALUTE MY NATION.. JAI HIND..
    JAI BHARATH..

    • Rakhee Ghelani
      August 12, 2013

      Thanks for your thoughts. This is my opinion based on living and travelling in India over the past few years.

  32. Dhammika Atapattu
    August 10, 2013

    i had the same feeling when i visited india twice in 2010 for two Toastmasters conferences,one in Chennai and one in Mumbai..it was a wonderful experience.the country was beautiful..people were friendly though not overly helpful..but one thing i couldnt get accustomed to was the indian food..

    the main issue with sri lankan is the ever increasing poverty..the widening gap between the rich and the poor…mind you sri lankan has the highest income disparity amongst the countries in south asia..

    • Rakhee Ghelani
      August 12, 2013

      Thanks for your comments. I am not aware about the statistics on income disparity in Sri Lanka, please let me know where I can read up more on this.

    • Choolaka Hewawasam
      August 15, 2013

      Choolaka,

      Can you proof it by statistics. Because I’m quite not sure about it.

  33. Sohan
    August 10, 2013

    Thank you for your wonderful description of our country. You must have noticed that as Sri Lankans we love it very much when foreigners appreciate our country. One clarification I want to make though regarding what you say above; Sri Lanka (while not having the billionaires of India) is actually a somewhat wealthier (in per capita GDP terms) country than India (and also the rest of South Asia) despite a 30 year war that was an enormous drag on our economy. As you said, the population as a whole has a better standard of living and higher incomes than the other countries of South Asia. I always feel if Sri Lankans, despite a long history of ethnic discord and the resulting crippling war, can achieve what we have done up to now, the rest of South Asia can definitely do it too.

    • Rakhee Ghelani
      August 12, 2013

      Thanks, I haven’t researched the relative GDP of both countries, but it would be interesting to learn more. Do you have a link?

      • bob marly
        March 22, 2014

        india`s gdp per capita is about $1200( ppp $2600)..Nepal – $500 , Bangladesh $800 and Pakistan $ 1100…Sri Lanka gdp per capita is $3500 (ppp $7000)..Sri Lanka Human development index is 0.710 (high category)..India its 0.5 (lower middle category)..sri lanka literacy rate is 96%..India 65%-70%

  34. Nimi Chengapa
    August 10, 2013

    Rakhee I am a Sri Lankan, married to an Indian Coorg and I loved your article. If ever you want to experience all that you had, in India, you should visit us here in Coorg. Check us out on Facebook as Elephant Corridor Coorg. Do visit us n I will give you a variety of Sri Lankan veg. Although u r not a veggie. N of course the great Coorg Non veg!

    • Rakhee Ghelani
      August 12, 2013

      Thanks. I haven’t been to Coorg yet, I would love to come and visit some time.

  35. Chirath
    August 10, 2013

    Im sure you exhausted by reading Thank you posts so let me contribute something.
    Sri Lanka is a teeny tiny island is Land but never in culture. You should come Visit in a season of Sri Dalada festivals and other cultural events.
    Im sure our people will love to see you back. Take Care Rakhee.

    • Rakhee Ghelani
      August 12, 2013

      Cheers, I will try and come during the festival next time.

  36. MBK
    August 10, 2013

    Being an Indian living in Sri Lanka for more than 13 years now, I have always maintained that despite India being definitly richer in resources, culture, food, talent and what not, when it comes down to attitude and behaviour towards others, our people are one of the world’s worst. Politeness, co-operation, honesty and help is an alien value amongst our lot most of the times.

    And yes despite living here for more than a decade, I still face problems when it comes to food.
    I miss Indian food:(

    But the weather, environment, lovely Sri Lankan friends and people in general have all compensated for the time I missed staying in India, though I belong to the most clean and wonderful city in North India.

    Brilliant and accurate review Rakhee. Finally someone could see things the way they are.

    • Rakhee Ghelani
      August 12, 2013

      Thanks for your insight. I sure can understand why you would miss Indian food :-)

  37. Ranil
    August 10, 2013

    Really nice Article, my cousin living in usa got married to a Indian born in USA, when they visited Lanka in last year after marriage (1st time the guy came here) when they step out of Airport he asked me where are the cows ? then i laugh, after while when we driving he was amazed as u are :)

  38. Bandu Dharmaratne
    August 10, 2013

    Rakhee, you have given a nice write up about my own country, Sri Lanka. You are correct. I am a Sinhalese , Buddhist and most Sri Lankans are very polite and always there to help others. I have been to India several times. I have visited Europe, Malaysia, New Zealand, Australia and etc. In fact I have lived in Australia for 2 years and I say that is a very nice country to live.
    Sri Lanka, we have a god history. We have Sinhalese, Tamils,Moors, Malays and Burghers, We lived very quietly, helping each other. History shows that Sinhalese and Tamils had been having wars from the ancient times..But, most of the Sinhalese and Tamils have lived as very close friends.Even most of my friends are Tamils.
    I think, today most of the places are clean and still there is room to improve in various places. Beauty of it is that within few hours you can enjoy all types of climates. Our beaches are very beautiful and nice when compared to beaches in other countries.Hope, you will enjoy our friendly atmosphere and enjoy our culture when you visit Sri Lanka again.

  39. Prameeth Òó Madhushan
    August 10, 2013

    SRI LANKA FTW \m/ :D

  40. Prabhakar Singh
    August 10, 2013

    I lived in Sri lanka too for 2 months in 2006, at the hight of the war. That was my first and the best experience outside India. However I wonder why it took you four days to give the driver some money?

    • Rakhee Ghelani
      August 12, 2013

      In India, you generally pay the driver at the end of the assignment not before, that’s all. We didn’t know that he expected anything before commencing. Once we worked that through of course we paid him!

      • Mohammed Naeem
        August 12, 2013

        Rakhee Ghelani, Even in pakistan we pay at the end of journey same like india and in srilanka also they charge after end of journey or if u book for a day to see sight seeings but i think in your case as u said u booked a vehicle so i think after four days driver was in need to put fuel and run the car………… Mr. Prabhakar Singh is it clear for you.

  41. Nandasiri Wanninayaka
    August 10, 2013

    Reblogged this on Nandasiri Wanninayaka and commented:
    A nice review about Sri Lanka by an Indian lady. Thought it is worth re-blogging.

  42. King Alawaka
    August 10, 2013

    As a Sri lankan i was little worry about my country i feel foreign guests are not happy with what we have ( not environment and nature )… of course Sri lanka way better than India :P
    any way Come again to relax your mind in Sri lanka little paradises … nice post that says a lot about Sri lanka. I am happy with what u said.

    come again….
    i am not very flaunt in English :) sry for that

  43. Sellasamy
    August 10, 2013

    Well. Rakhee, thank you for your thought provoking article of my country. I am a Sri lankan Tamil settled in Colombo. As you mention there are many positives here in Sri lanka compared to Tamil nadu for an example. I totally agree with you when you said that you didn`t see any one relieving on the beaches. How true. Because Sri lankans are civilized and trained in toilet habits from a young age.But when I visited Tamil nadu a few months ago I saw hundreds of Tamilians doing the big job on their beaches and on the roadside. Can you expect such an uncivilized public performance in the 21 st century. NO NO NO. I personally believe that Jayalalitha, Karunanidi,Vaiko et al should all get together and concentrate on making some public toilets for their people without interfering in Sri lanka`s internal affairs. We can solve our own problems as we have a pragmatic leader.Let india solve theirs including the feeding of starving millions. Remember what happened to the big bully Rajiv Gandhi?? He and his mother were the root cauce of all our problems. if they didn`t create the monster LTTE to destabilize Sri Lanka we would have been like Singapore by now. Please India at least now let us stand on our own, and mind your business.

    • Introvert Extraordinaire
      August 13, 2013

      I salute you brother, you are a true Sri Lankan!
      Ayubowan!

    • gayani
      October 3, 2013

      Im really proud of this comment….. Well said bro

    • Ken
      March 22, 2014

      Great comment, Brother. We all Sinhales, tamila and Muslims can built up Sri Lanka to wonder of Asia in no time if we stand shoulder to shoulder. After all we all are Sri Lankans and this is our motherland. We must protect it and develop it and make it a model nation for others to follow. Im glad the dirty terrorism created by India is and nourished by western hypocrisy is defeated now and the peace has arrived. It take some time to heal the wounds and time to rise together has arrived. LTTE brought horror and sorrow to tamils itself than Sinhales. we must defeat false propaganda war launched by ex LTTE supporters from europe, India and canada.

  44. Lalith
    August 10, 2013

    My mother Lanka has been always beautiful and thanks for spreading the word around. Excuse the politicos who are corrupt. We have a few.

    I am an old man and I seen the changes which we call modernization which is happening faster that heritage sites are brought down for the sake of the so called development without preserving our past.

    Rakeeh, I hope you have done the up country road trip. There are two I like. One is early morning drive from Haputala in the fog all the way passing Haldumulla, Belihuloya and the other is from Nuwara Eliya down the Ramboda pass down to Kandy. The road are much better these days. I remember days when two old Morris Minors had to be careful when passing. Nobody wanted to roll down those cliffs.

    I wish I had more time to write. Once again my sincere thanks for the plug you gave to my mother land, Sri Lanka.

    • Rakhee Ghelani
      August 12, 2013

      Thanks for your thoughts. I haven’t done the drive from Haputala but I did go from Nuwara Eliya to Kandy and it was beautiful.

      • Mohammed Naeem
        August 12, 2013

        Hi Rakhee

        I agree with u Nuwara Eliya kandy and Galle are the beautiful place i have ever seen .

  45. Chrishan Ran Jayakody
    August 10, 2013

    Thanks for the great artice on Sri Lanka. I’m sure that you will get great response to this artical from Sri Lankan. Cheers !

    • Rakhee Ghelani
      August 12, 2013

      Cheers

      • Sacheen
        December 21, 2013

        Why you so insulting my country. I am from kerala & i hate srilankans b/s they kill many innocent tamil peoples. You are right there are some problems in india mainly some people in our country insulting our own nation inorder to show they are very nutral & get some cheep sentimental comments.
        ” Don’ compare ant with eliphant”

        Bharat matha ki jai…….

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