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 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).
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 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).
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.
256 thoughts on “The Difference Between Sri Lanka and India”
It depends on your definition of vegetarian. There’s plenty of ‘vegetarian’ food if you use the Sinhalese definition that includes fish in the vegetarian diet (as opposed to the Tamil definition that includes eggs/milk but not fish), but even then, plenty of Tamil restaurants produce vegetarian foods in that niche too for Indian visitors. I would suggest that vegetarians should hang around Hindu temples for some food.
Sri Lanka is generally cleaner and more civilized. There is better welfare provided for lower income peoples too, with universal healthcare being the norm (albeit waiting times for specialists can be long and certain niches are uncatered for due to a lack of educated specialists). The “slum vote” has also turned into a key swing category in Sri Lankan politics whereas they remain marginalized in India.
There are some issues with Sri Lankan politics though. Native women don’t get harassed in Sri Lanka, but women still remain marginalized in politics and the workplace in comparison to men. Whereas homosexuality has generally been unpunished and transsexualism has been recognized, homosexuality is still a crime in the books and third gender has not been recognized either. The political parties often use their power to harass political groups and media groups that disagree with their viewpoint.
I have never been to India, but after reading your artible I believe that the condition is very much the same like Indonesia, my home country
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Rakhee dear , It’s nice to hear about your comments. I have met many Indians that look down on Sri Lanka. They absolutely hate the country since Ravana times. Just a pity that Indians with their civilized Buddhist , Hindu history, many Indians are ignorant and narrow minded. Sri Lankan poverty is not an acute level of poverty similar to India. Hence, less crime. I was happy to walk around with my husband knowing I was never harassed or robbed!
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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 😀
. 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.
Your great article impressed me a lot and make me proud of my country. Thanks a lot and God Bless you.
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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….
Am an Indian & 3 visits old. Each time I go to Colombo, feel like settling down there. But short visits are fine. Am in love with the place, the people, food and culture.India in comparison is complex, dirty big cities, uncouth trading petty shop owners, its 20% spoiling the rest 80%.God bless Sri Lanka & keep it clean and great going. I have not seen such calm & polite people in my life. It wins hearts instantly without you guys saying too much. It takes a lot active all this after a long war. Am glad you have cleaned them up in full.
I visited 2 temples.. one sorrounded by water in the heart of Colombo & the other a big temple huge Buddha statues & a Ganesha idol & with a museum in Colombo. Wanted to spend just 10 min and ended up spending more than an hour. It’s such calming experience unlike our temples in India noisy & ritualistic. No wonder people are so calm. Probably it’s the religion which has rubbed off or that’s how Sri Lankans are traditionally. Keep it up guys.Its fantastic to have a neighbour like you.
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.
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.
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.
It sounds like you had a similar experience to me Steve 🙂
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!
Thanks for your comments and recommendation. I am sri lankan and currently living in Australia by the way as you say we have really good places to visit and you can travel most of the places, different climate within one day. I was born Galle and we love our beach. Next time your going let us know, I am not tourist guide or tour operator but love to help some one who love our country. I will give some my personal recommended places with contact details which helps you. If you are going next time try to go DALAWELLA beach that’s next to the Unawatuna. pretty calm place and you will love it. Can arrange visit some tea factories if you like. By the way thanks again and have a nice day..
Thank you for praising my loving country. Please come and visit us soon.
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.
Shame on you fellow commentors who felt the need to drag politics.
Thanks I am glad you agree
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.
* 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.
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.
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 .
Thanks. Let me know what you think of India when you come here.
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.
Yes I feel your frustration with regards to the pollution and poverty in India as well.
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 🙂
My pleasure, thank you.
You are welcome. Come back again very soon. Take care 🙂
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
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?
I don’t know enough about this to comment on it.
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.
Becouse we are free nation and we can do whatever we want for the best of Our country. Why u bother?
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.
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 .
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.
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.
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
Just like you, everyone is entitled to their opinion. Please refrain from telling other readers what they can and can’t do.
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.
Thanks for your insightful thoughts. I am glad you enjoyed the post.
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.
wow!!!! Was a really nice article to read!!! 🙂
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… 🙂
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)
Thanks I will try them out next time I am in Colombo
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!!
My pleasure, I loved your country.
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.
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.
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!
Awesome read! Glad you enjoyed your stay in SL and hope to see you soon!
“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.
No and its not just an indian problem either unfortunately.
Thanks for ure article,,,at last i found one indian who spoke about srilanka in goodway
Thank you on behalf of all Sri Lankans who love their motherland
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
Wow the article was impressive !!! hope that u visit Sri Lanka again !! Cheers !!
I am so delighted with your article.
God bless you and God bless Sri Lanka.
After reading all the comments I feel proud about my country. Thanks Rakhee
My pleasure 🙂
Here is a link for you to check and compare GDP per person.
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
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.
those stats are old..SL is now on purchasing power $7000..India is about 2600..
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.
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.
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.
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.
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..
Thanks for your thoughts. This is my opinion based on living and travelling in India over the past few years.
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..
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.
Can you proof it by statistics. Because I’m quite not sure about it.
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.
Thanks, I haven’t researched the relative GDP of both countries, but it would be interesting to learn more. Do you have a link?
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%
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!
Thanks. I haven’t been to Coorg yet, I would love to come and visit some time.
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.
Cheers, I will try and come during the festival next time.
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.
Thanks for your insight. I sure can understand why you would miss Indian food 🙂
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 🙂
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.
Thanks I hope to visit again soon.
SRI LANKA FTW \m/ 😀
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?
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!
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.
Reblogged this on Nandasiri Wanninayaka and commented:
A nice review about Sri Lanka by an Indian lady. Thought it is worth re-blogging.
Thanks so much.
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 😛
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.
i am not very flaunt in English 🙂 sry for that
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.
I salute you brother, you are a true Sri Lankan!
Im really proud of this comment….. Well said bro
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.
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.
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.
I agree with u Nuwara Eliya kandy and Galle are the beautiful place i have ever seen .
Thanks for the great artice on Sri Lanka. I’m sure that you will get great response to this artical from Sri Lankan. Cheers !
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…….
welcome to sri lanka at any time.
i also don’t like to visit india if there aren’t places like taj , maharastha etc.
Thanks for all the appraisals.. I truly appreciate you for telling good things about my country
I like the “The Food” part and the sentence “I found this really odd, particularly since it is a predominantly buddhist country”. Yes.. even I can’t understand this while many makes noise that Muslims in this country eat most of the meat 🙂
I can’t comment on who is eating the meat, I just know I saw a lot of it!
Just in few words, am a Sri Lankan and blessed to be one !!
I haven’t yet been to India, but I think it’s such a large country compared to Sri Lanka with so many different segregations within it. Sri Lanka is going under a radical clean transformations after the war and the country is growing rapidly. It’s a beautiful country with a rich history, and where ever you go, you manage to find happiness – no matter how less you have. I think they are at peace in some way. Thanks for the article.
Thanks for your comments. Yes India is large and a lot like a conglomerate of nations and not just one culture.
its big but the main cities are disgusting. Very dirty and polluted.
Do you know of a country where the climate can be changed within four hours? This can be seen only in sri lanka. This is due to mountains are situated in the center of the island. As you know sri lanka is situated so close to the equater there are no seasons there. so the hill country always has cool weather condition all the year round while the rest have warm weather condition. So if anyone would like to have a change of a weather at any time of the year you can get it within four hours:
I like the way you are writing and so interesting to read your experiences.
We have world recognized wonderful beaches like Nilaveli, Hikkaduwa beach, Unawatuna beach; so many rivers covering all the country round;
The blow hole; kandy procession, tasty foods like pineapple, mangoes,various kinds of plantains etc. which are normaly considered very tasty by most of tourists.
The Galle dutch fort , the temple of tooth relic, the seegiriya which is to be considered as one of the seven wonders of the world , in anuradhapura and polonnaruwa disricts you can found a lot of ancient statues ,the dagebas .
pinnawala elephant orphanage, botanical gardens at Haggala and peradeniya, many waterfalls, rainforests like sinharaja very impotant at bio diversity, world’s end plateau, sri padaya , samanala,nuckels mountain ranges, the culture fulfilled with hospitality and many more. you can find more about sri lanka in the internet to get to know prior the visiting again . Good luck!!!!! have a fun in your next excursion to the country.
Thanks, i did see a lot of Sri Lanka, but still have a lot more to see clearly. Hopefully next time will be soon.
Thanks for the respond; I’m sure you’ll get to know more about Sri Lanka and feel the beauty of the island next time.
What do you think about my very first comment?
I replied to it a few days ago, you can see my response if you scroll down
yes I’ve already seen your first reply made on August 12th. But not to the specific point that I’m trying to make you realize. I’m asking you diffrent kind of weather formats which can be changed within 4 hours at any period of the year.
I am from Melbourne which is known for having four seasons in one hour 🙂
Interesting post. Weirdly enough, as a Sri Lankan vegetarian, I’ve never suffered. There’s such alot of variety in Sri Lankan vegetarian curries! That said I suppose if you wanted something other than curry it might be harder 🙂
I loved the curry in Sri Lanka!
iam from pakistan first time i visited srilanka in oct 11, feb 12 and then again in june 12 and lost myself in this country.. since that i use to have my holidays in srilanka…. Beautiful country and above that very beautiful people……….. Lovely beaches, awesome sight seeing and a very delicous food. Very well decipline honest sincere people…… Regards
Yes I agree with you.
I’m glad that you enjoyed!! take care and you are always welcome to come back ;)xxx
it was nice to read thru miss rakhees journey thru the land i was born in.and it gave me something to ponder. go around and see today how much the city is turning out to be perhaps like some other country cities.i think the governtment is or someone in the government is doing a great job in doing up the city…..definitely the people here are polite and want to please any foreigners who visit.please come again.
Thanks I will try and come again soon.
You should of visited Chennai vegetarian restaurant in Colombo, it’s run by Indian Tamils and probably the best vegetarian restaurant in Sri Lanka….it’s all South Indian food but really good!! Check it out next time you visit Sri Lanka.
I will have to remember that for next time. Thanks
Thank you for writing something on my country.. and come again and enjoy with our natural beaty.
Really appreciate your kind words about my country. Lot of people like to condemn or criticize my country, but this article is just awesome. And this tells that you can not measure country or peoples life from the outside by their look or their governments procedure. Two thumbs up for this.
I guess politicians are equally corrupt!
I was really delighted by reading your notes about Sri Lanka. Actually it was really pleasure to know from out side how better we are. The thing you have to do is share this thoughts with others as you can. Then it will leads to throw off the misconception about our country. Thanks a lot again.
As a vegetarian living in Sri Lanka, I would disagree with you about the variety when it comes to veg food! You have obviously had the misfortune to not go to the right places.This is quite sad. There are plenty of Indian vegetarian-only restaurants, as well as other restaurants serving vegetarian food, be it rice & curry, lamprais, biriyani, pizza, sandwiches, submarines, burgers, etc. I hope you have a better experience next time!
Also, for the record, there are plenty of vegetarians in Sri Lanka and it is becoming increasing more common. Definitely not restricted to the Buddhist clergy! 🙂
Glad you had a relatively good experience – please visit us again! 🙂
Thanks for clarifying, clearly I just went to the wrong places.
There are so many Sri Lankans & Indians live in western countries , Australia,USA Etc, But trust me there’s a massive different between Sri lankans & Indians. English & Australians have understood that different for a greater extend now.
First thing would be Sri Lankans have manners & know how to respect others. It doesn’t matter where they live. If you go to Australia or UK,get on to a bus /train with a Sri Lankan & an Indian ,you would see the different.
Yes,as a country India is way richer than Sri Lanka but living standard of sri Lankans are way higher than Indians. Not a single sri lankan would use roads as their toilets.
I dont have much to say apart from other repies,I really complacent about this article specially written by an indian. I do think vegetarian foods is one of the big issue we have with indians but you defenitely can find some homes who can serve a good vegetarian meals separetly.
Thanks again for this.
I salute you Rakhee, at time such as now so many countries trying to put down my country as a barbaric island, you really tell the world who we really are. May God bless you.
hi where u originally from ? did see the race coast in colombo?
I was born in Australia but my heritage is Indian. I haven’t heard of the race coast, tell me more
I think this is a very nice and an article that has so much information about SL which could be useful to any visitor who is planing to visit SL…. and also as a SL let me thank Rakhee for taking her time out to do a wonderful article like this which will also help many foreign tourist to visit SL….. overall I see that both countries are rich from culture, heritage and with many ancient places in different ways and the environments in which they are located makes the difference…
nice to c a post about our country like this 🙂
Your article brought a smile to my face 🙂
I’m a Sri Lankan and have spent 1 1/2 months in India on two separate occasion. 4 weeks in Tamil Nadu, Varanasi, Delhi during 2009 (completely traveled in public transport) and 2 weeks during this year March in Northern India enjoying the mountain climbing and snow sports.
I find a great distinction between North Indians and South Indians when it comes to attitudes and behavior. The north Indians specially above Delhi and so on are a really wonderful lot. Never came across any rude person in either the streets, markets or the villages we visited. I felt perfectly safe and welcome. Many were mistaking me for a Kerala born girl.
South India (especially Chennai) reminded me of our Pita Kotuwa. Quite disorganized, dusty and people were a bit rude (not all, but some). Just as in Pita Kotuwa I was harrassed a couple of times. I avoided saying that I am a Sri Lankan and kept on pretending that I’m an Indian girl who knows only a couple of words in Tamil (Returned back home determined to learn Tamil).
Yet to explore the coastal towns such as Calcutta and Bombay and I hope to visit them soon. Ranthambore and Rajastan are in my must visit list too.
In my view, when you travel across India it’s as if you are alternating between heaven and hell. Some areas are so beautiful and developed while other areas are covered with slums and resemble a veritable hell.
But given the choice I’ll always pick Sri Lanka 🙂
you describe India very well indeed. I actually wrote a post about the difference between North and South India too, you can find it here: https://rakheeghelani.com/2011/11/11/the-differences-between-north-and-south-india/
Well written notes on a country that gave millions of radio listeners the joy of Indian music .. and still does. Quite astonishing how there is always a near complete consensus on how ill managed India is especially with respect to public discipline, cleanliness and upkeep. No matter where I go, the verdict is the same. We lack a sense of belonging, cleanliness and propriety the moment we leave our home.
Notes on Sri Lanka were very tempting. How about telling us what the cost of an average 5 day vacation would cost for a family of 4?
Thanks. The cost of a vacation really depends on many things in Sri Lanka, like type of accommodation and transport. Your best bet is to read up in a guide book or ask a travel agent so that they can take into account your specific needs. Enjoy!
This is a nice article Rakhee. I’m a Sri Lankan and a Buddhist too. I’m really glad to know that you had a great time in Sri Lanka. Come back again. There more nice places to visit. Take Care
Thanks so much
You are always welcome Rakhee 🙂
totally agree about this..there is no variety in food :)))
Thanks for your lovely thoughts on Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka has a long way to go and since the cessation of the war our country has achieved a lot. I’ve visited India many times and I’d love to go there again. Still India has lots of facets to admire and each state is like a country having their own language, culture, food etc. Although poverty and income inequality do seem to be a big problem to Indian policy makers still India attracts lots of foreigners due to its rich culture and diversity. Those should be protected for all times.
Thanks. I think both countries still have a long way to go in terms of poverty and development. But they are both lovely places to visit for different reasons.
This is a really informative article. I’m a Sri Lankan and I’m a proud Buddhist. I’m really glad that you had a great time in Sri Lanka. Come back again. There are more nice places to visit. Take Care.
I am a Sri Lankan Buddhist married to an Indian Marathi person. We lived in Sri Lanka now. Every year we go India to visit his parents & relatives. My Husband lives in SL for 9 years now. He loves & respects his country so much. I also do the same.
But still, he prefers to spend the rest of his life in Sri Lanka.
I believe that speak a lot!
Your husband is rite……. srilanka is the best upcoming country to live…. i wish i have a chance to live there cos i have some memories in galle….. When i was on holidays last june my girl friend died in Kripatia hospital, Galle (heart attack).Her ashes are in water near Unawatuna Beach Resort…….
It’s nice to read such a positive article about our country. I was in India for a few days, and I understand what you mean when you say that though we are so close to each other, India and Sri Lanka seem to be two different worlds. Next time you come, you should visit the hill country. You’d see why it’s called the small England 🙂
As for the food, majority of the Buddhists in Sri Lanka are not vegetarian. Which is why we have a lot of meat curries available. I had a hard time in India missing the chicken curries, because non of the shops around where I was, offered meat. I finally had to go to a KFC because I was craving for some chicken and some less oily food.
However, while I was in India, people were very nice to me, asking whether I was from Kerala (I went to Bangalore), and helping me out when they realized that I was a Sri Lankan in trouble. Maybe not as friendly and overly helpful like our lot, But they were very nice people to have a chat with in broken Hindi and get some help when lost!(especially the taxi drivers).
Thanks, I did actually visit the hill country, you can see what I thought of Kandy and the ancient cities in my posts.
What she means by ‘Hill country’, I believe, is Nuwaraeliya. Kandy, our pre-European capital is certainly different from Colombo. But, if you visit Nuwaraeliya and Horton Plains you will wonder how different can a place be after a mere two hours journey. It will remind you of Shimla but with the other things that you appreciate in your article. Anyway, thanks for your fair comparison. I was a Sri Lankan who has traveled in many parts of India throughout the last 15 years and I have the first hand experience about what you say. During this period both countries have improved a lot in terms of infrastructure and the quality of living but with a significant gap, not known to Indians (nor to Westerners) unless one has traveled in both countries. Still, both countries have a long way to go!
I am a Sri Lankan Buddhist married to an Indian Marathi person. We lived in Sri Lanka now. Evry year we go India to visit his parents & relatives. My Husband lives in SL for 9years now. He loves & respects his country so much. I also do the same.
But still, he prefers to spend rest of his life in Sri Lanka. I believe that speak a lot!
thats really great..Where did you meet your husband in India or SL?
1st of all thanks for visiting Sri Lanka and for that fabulous description.
Come Home Again 🙂
Its such a pleasure to read your post on your tour in Sri Lanka – the precious pearl in Indian Ocean. You have aroused such a variety of related topics too – like War, Buddhism and being vegetarian, etc. I read the whole thread and found it very thought provoking.
Rakhee, I’m a Sri Lankan living outside Sri Lanka for about an year now. And counting days when i could go back. Sri Lanka achieved her current status despite the 30 year war. All races live in harmony despite that unfortunate war. I have had friends of all races in school, Uni, work place, neighborhood. Sri Lanka stands proudly and provides a safe environment to natives and visitors thanks to the fallen heroes.
Hope you and your friends would visit Sri Lanka again. And for next time, other than rice and curries you can try hoppers, roti, String hoppers with vegetarian curries. And Sri Lankan Bakeries has quite some vegetarian variety too. And if you miss Indian food, you could try the Indian restaurants in Wellawatta – Colombo 6
Thanks for the advice Sandra. I must say I got into the hoppers when I was there, but didn’t venture into the bakeries…. next time!
An informative article. Better living standards of Sri Lankan’s are due to higher GDP per capita of Sri Lanka compared to India and rest of the south asian countries. Right now their GDP per capita is roughly double the GDP per capita of India.
Goole graph for GDP per capita of Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan.
“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.”
Best part of your speech..Thank you so much..
Welcome back to Sri Lanka!!
I’m a Sri Lankan and this is my 2nd year in Delhi, India. Most of my Indian friends want to visit to Sri Lanka. This article will help them. Thanks!
Rakhee, thank you for writing such a beautiful article about my country! 🙂 I am glad you loved your holiday here and hope you visit again in future. If I’m not mistaken, there are some vegetarian restaurants around the the country and, those that aren’t, serve vegetarian menus upon request. Really depends on which restaurant you visit though.
I wish more people would visit and see what really happens here as opposed to ignorant slandering. Your article makes me very proud of my country. I would like to visit India (esp. Kerala) someday. 🙂
Thanks, I am sure you will love India too, just like I do.
Me and my wife have been living in SL for a year. I didnt think I would ever say that to anyone but I agree 100% to whatever you have written about SL from people being so friendly and polite, to amazing cleanliness to lack of variety in food. Gosh its almost as I someone took my thoughts and penned it down. We are also returning to India this month and would miss SL dearly…
thanks a lot for your positive thoughts on Sri Lanka as an indian
people here have gone through a lot of hardships, specially by the war which ended a few years back!! they all know the value of life… and we cherish the freedom we have… guests are always warmly welcomed here… we maybe smaller than many countries but we have a bond where no technology or power can break us… we all are one… thank you for this beautiful article…:)
“I am Tamil, I’m Sinhalese, I’m Muslim and Burgher. I’m a Buddhist, I’m a Hindu, a follower of Islam and Christianity. But above all, today and always I will be, proudly, Sri Lankan.” – Kumar Sangakkara
Thank you for that Nizar, You are a true Sri Lankan .We are all one whatever our race. And we should carry it forward no matter what!
I am so glad you wrote this… Sri Lanka is an island… Hence it had many outside influences and that mixed with Buddhist culture makes the place very unique… very different to India… I hope many indian tourist would visit the island… it’s like a all in one package…you have beautiful beaches, ancient cities, modern city night life, wildlife, primary forests etc. all just a matter of a few hours drive from one to another… Loved you article…
Thanks I am glad you enjoyed it
Thank you Rakhee,
This is a nice article, you have brought some extra value to Sri Lanka and of course we will ask all the people to visit SL and feel the deference, nice writing
Thanks I am glad you liked it.
Im a Sri Lankan and im soooo proud to read your article…Welcome to Sri Lanka…Namaste…:))))))))
Rakhee is correct, if u visit a normal street motel in Colombo or suburbs, u end up with the same menu. So there is a wide range of restaurants there though not visible like in a city in Europe. Pls try to find the Colombo city guide booklet which is free distributed at the airport when you visit next time. And feel free to see following links as well…
Thank you Rakhee, I am glad you found Sri Lanka all these things. I’ve always wanted to visit India myself!
– Your friendly Sri Lankan wordpress user
Nothing I heard, read and saw in last two years made me think that SriLankans are a gentle race. Every country has a civil face and an ugly face. Our civil face is not as good as SriLankans. but as of yet, our ugly face is not as ugly as theirs either. The war, the way it ended showed the ugly face of SLs.
The genocidal tendency of that country completely negates the beautiful SriLankan theory.
Like a Indian Film poet once said, “we are all little good and little bad”, SriLankans are no exception, Hopefully more good than bad. .
But I am sure cleanliness and more leveler income distribution are surely superior characteristic of SriLanka.
Venkatram, I take it you haven’t been to the North face of Sri Lanka yourself?
Well, let me tell you a story. Sri Lanka has always been a fecund land for Tamil settlers thirsty for a sovereign state.
The island has long been ravaged and bloodied since ancient times by Chola kings and more recently by the notorious Liberation Tigers of the Tamil Eelam. While the Sinhala natives have always fought back for complete independence, the colonial British era made it evident that not all Tamils were of this rabid mindset.
We learned to live at peace, respectful of our differences and convinced that the reason behind our progress was our harmonious solidarity in the face of dichotomies.
I ask you now, have you been to Sri Lanka? Have you seen the dark skinned Christian child who is best friends with his bourgeois Buddhist classmate? Have you seen the Tamil trader whose main clientele are the Muslim villagers? Have you witnessed the atmosphere in the majlis where Buddhist men gather for Iftar with their Muslim friends?
Have you ever, set foot, in my country and seen for yourself, the idiosyncrasies of the LTTE? How they take child soldiers at will, ruthlessly murdering fathers and breaking mothers? Do not even try to empathise with the fallen people of Sri Lanka, you and the codswallop you have been fed by novice armchair activists and greenhorn reporters, you people don’t know the half of what they’ve had to endure.
I’m not a chauvinist. I welcome questions. Undoubtedly, the Sri Lankan army is not a pristine entity. It is war, there will always be crimes. But it is imperative you understand why they were inclined to do what they did.
In 1990, 5 years before I was born, the LTTE ransacked a Muslim village. They left 147 Muslim men and boys, prostrate in prayer, dead in the very mosque they had gathered for worship. The Sri Lankan military was called in to aid the wounded, a task they weren’t equipped to carry out but one which they did so anyhow with great heart.
My country is small, it is poor and the last thing it needs is disparaging. ‘Genocidal nature’, how can you – a sapient being, make such a blatantly ignorant sweeping generalization?
Perhaps there would not have been a war or perhaps it wouldn’t have dragged so long without Indian intervention. Our diplomatic neighbour first encourages the concept of a Tamil Eelam, then equips and trains cadets, next decides to hop onto a stance diametrically opposite to their first and finally condemns our efforts, citing war crimes.
Every 20 minutes, more than 1 woman is raped in India. There is a reason why our Human Development Index is higher than either India’s, Pakistan’s or Bangladesh’s. Perhaps that needs investigating. We didn’t have a genocide. We had a war. Untimely and unrequited. But what must we do? We sat and watched. Some fought. Most died. But now we’re past it. So let us go. And pocket your defamations for places you’re familiar with.
Your wording has aroused in me, an anger so deep, so vicious that I have bred spite for myself, for being so vile. Injurious as they are to a Sri Lankan ear, they sting even more when the ear is housed next to a weary brain.
Like the Buddha once said;
“There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.”
I wish you long life and good health and hope that you will one day be able to see Sri Lanka for what it truly is. Ayubowan.
Very well said. I wish everyone sees this.
Am glad you think so, Ayubowan!
Well said! People who know nothing of our country really shouldn’t be opening their ignorant gaps…
Agreed Twinky, Ayubowan!
Very well said.. Excellent…
Thank you Siwanka, best wishes. Ayubowan!
Well said teenager ! You have compiled the essence of lanka beautifully thank you 🙂
Cheers Chamsy, we must manage to keep our chins up in these testing times. Ayubowan!
Are you trying to say Tamils are not native this country?? lol man this is the mentality that brings problem in this country. We all shout we are one country one nation one blood but then your inner heart says Tamils are immigrants and Sinhala people are native. Well, I disagree. Both Tamils and Sinhalese migrated from India, so lets stop saying Tamils are not native to this country.
IMHO, LTTE is no saint, but SLGov and SL Army neither. Both parties did ruthless things to remain in power. Both parties had no love for humanity. I’m a Tamil I have more Sinhala friends than Tamils. I have no problem getting along with them, above all I’m a proud Sri Lankan. Just because I’m trying to explain what Tamil people of this country thinks, doesn’t make me a so called “Deshathrogi”. If you have problem accepting the facts then you would call me so and I don’t care.
== The End ==
No one is saying anything along those lines. Tamil is an official language of our country and the Tamil people, no less than Sri Lankans themselves.
Before prince Vijaya, before Tamil culture was ever seeded in India, centuries before Chola sovereignty was every realised, the island of Sri Lanka was home to a species of people, native in every sense who originated as the first settlers. Perhaps even established themselves from a small circle. The tribal people of Sri Lanka, the Veddhas and their castes are the veritable Sinhalese. Unified by one language and one faith, it cannot be denied, historically or otherwise then that the Tamils who were later brought into the island by the British to aid them more amiably were not foreign. They were. And so were the Arab merchants, the Burghers and the Malays. We acknowledge their novelty and respect their tradition.
I’m not trying to say that Tamils are not native, I’m stating it boldly. But we do not ostracize them because even the native Sinhalese themselves must have migrated from somewhere. It is the nature of our land. An abode for weary settlers. We are one country today but history speaks for itself and it is not cause for division but service for knowledge. Everybody has origins. Undeniably. Sri Lankans – we are all natives, in essence.
yeah Tamil is a official language only on letters. Can I make complain in Tamil in police station?? I can’t even use my birth certificate on several occasions. I will need either English or Sinhala translation. Tamil is official language yeah.
Oh my my 🙂 can’t blame you this is what you have been taught in history lessons. If you go and talk with Tamil they would tell you a different history. When price vijaya came to this land, the natives of this country were ancestors of modern Sri Lankan Tamils. So bottom line is you can’t prove anything.
so stop living in the past and lets bring the country forward than fighting over the nativeness of your blood.
No one’s fighting, you’re just ranting.
Just a point here, a documented history like ours’ is indisputable. I haven’t been taught history lessons. I don’t even live in Sri Lanka.
Everything I have gathered so far is purely from reputable sources. Am a member of the Sri Lankan diaspora and living abroad makes you ache for home. It is with assiduity then that I have proceeded to research and document our island’s rich heritage.
“When price vijaya came to this land, the natives of this country were ancestors of modern Sri Lankan Tamils.”
Really? Is that what you’ve been taught, my frantic pedantic butcum babe?
If so, you might as well bask in your fallacy. The Veddas are the group of people most widely acknowledged as the original inhabitants of our island, innit?
But I’m probably Tamil myself. Ever since the inception of a Tamil heritage, migration to Sri Laka has been common. Sinhalisation means that most of the Sinhalese today enjoy a few Tamil ancestors along the way. Face it. There is little pedigree.
But who cares, yeah? In kindergarten abroad, my first friend was a Sri Lankan Tamil. She’s still my best friend today. We get along dandy well so why not the others?
I don’t know why you find history so irksome but it shouldn’t be cause for divide. I’m not fighting over nativeness – like you’ve crudely put it but just stating the facts, innit? Proper facts too, mind you.
Anyways, let us be over with this, talk is there are some anti-Muslim sentiments floating around in the capital, got to go diffuse the situation there.
Ayubowan, brother, I never meant harm.
Even BBC, Channel 4 were trying to show an ugly story from a good story about Sri Lanka but truth is coming out when people really visit Sri Lanka. It’s a shame you wrote all these fake things against such a wonderful country. You guys just typical. Sri Lanka is a great country. Please just keep your personal anger inside you. Take Care
Very well said machan. couldn’t have penned down a better response to this hypocritically ignorant fool, my self.
Cheers Goshi, Ayubowan!
very well said buddy. Proud to be Sri Lankan
As am I Murali, as am I.
Cheers brother, Ayubowan!
Agree with you ‘Introvert Extraordinaire’… So sad to hear what others think about Sri Lanka… 🙁
Thank you Manod, I’m glad you think so. 🙂
wow… being a sri lankan myself, this brought tears to my eyes…
I know how you feel comrade but with will, progress will be ours for the taking.
Cheers and Ayubowan!
wow… being a sri lankan myself, this brought tears to my eyes
well said keep going
Thank you Chintaka, hopefully the future will reap better fruits for our people.
Cheers and Ayubowan!
Let me ask you sir if you have ever had this experience… have you ever felt what its like to be 30 meters away from an exploding bomb planted by terrorists? I say this because me and my mother have.we were fortunate to survive.. What of the thousands who did not survive the LTTE suicide attacks….. we have a right to fight for our freedom and that is what transpired.
You call what happens in sri lanka genocide… do you know what it means? Turn your head towards iraq..there you will c genocide..You know how many innocent tamil children.. your brethren died as child soldiers recruited by the so callled liberators known as the LTTE? The only.liberation ,those children got was death. Thats what the LTTE gave them..
YES the end of the was we saw some ugly faces as you say. The ugly faces of the terrorists who destroyed a generation of sri lankans… sinhala tamil and muslim alike… we will never let our younger generations.see.those ugly faces of those ever again
This is our country… kindly get your facts straight…..
Dont be a puppet to the wants of others and do their dirty work
Use your brain sir.. im sure you are capable of at least that.
To the dear lady who wrote this article… thank you for.your beautiful words… this country has many more miracles in store.. do come again to sri lanka.
well sir, did you ever been few meters away from the shell fired by SL Army into civilians?? Did you ever been to a hospital bombed by SL Airforce??
I kept on saying this. We finished this war in a brutal way. Don’t just go on and blame LTTE alone. Both SL Gov and SL Army did the same in the North. Else why on earth thousands of Tamil youths took up arms?? None of the militia has beutiful face. Doesn’t matter whether itz LTTE or SL Army or even the brutal US Army. Army is army, they will always obey the orders from top and when they can get their hands on innocent women and children they will use it for sure.
Now we can see that those who fought against so called terrorist are now fighting against innocent muslims and innocents Sinhala people like those who died in Weliweria.
So waky waky and look for ways to save Sri Lanka from dictatorship than living in the past of war victory.
Have you Kumar? Were you a Tamil living in no man’s land during the final phases of the war?
It was brutal, yes, all wars are. That is the nature of conflict and that is why taking up arms will never solve anything.
And maybe you’re right, the current administration looks like a dictatorship. Maybe. Claims of nepotism added.
But so what? An ill founded democracy is worse than the maddest dictatorship.
So live and let live. With best wishes, Ayubowan.
I forgot to qualify the statement -“Comparing Kerala and Sri Lanka makes more sense.” Reason why should be comparing Kerala and Sri Lanka. Both are close to each other, Both have a similar sized population, the geography is similar. Plus their ancient history and culture were much similar. Kerala was all Buddhist till 8th century (so some Keralites say). Some claim it was always Hindu. Kerala is different in a way that the people are not just smart (because they are literate) but because of exposure to different cultures are Worldly- wise. COmmunists have long ruled the state and so people are very aware of their rights and can’t be taken for ride.
Thanks for your comments.
I have visited Kerala and I did find some very interesting similarities between Kerala and Sri Lanka. I hadn’t noticed the Buddhist influence in Kerala, but certainly the cleanliness and the environment.
Have you been to Kerala state in South India? Comparing Kerala and Sri Lanka makes more sense. Kerala is vey clean (not many slums or beggars), people mostly literate(close to 95%) and generally polite. But Keralites are not polite to the point of deference or too polite not to help you not part with your money. They are too worldly wise for that. More than a million Keralites or Malayalis (Malayalam is the main language in Kerala) wrok in Persian Gulf. With 55% are Hindus, 25% Muslims, 20% Christians, there is diversity of culture and food. You will find pure Veg restaurants to all non-veg. Many Hindus in Kerala eat beef. Beaches are very beautifual and so are the mountains on Kerala /Tamil-Nadu border.
I think you have described the people very accurately Raks. I had lunch just yesterday with a Sri Lankan friend and she is very respectful, gentle and polite. She is intelligent and loyal too. Thanks for the post.
I have worked in SL and found the people polite but slightly difficult to deal with. Its obviously not as populated as India and the culture is very racist. WHilst on my travel and even while working I clearly found a preference of white skin over brown. There r hotels I saw which said – locals not allowed. I am not absolving India of its racism though… But I found SL just a wee better than India..
That’s very interesting. I didn’t notice the racism, but I imagine that may be more noticeable if I lived there rather than just taking a short holiday.
biggest load of b.s i ever heard!!
It is rather interesting ….I find the same with Indian friends of mine. Only two find with whom I can get along nicely still they are very ver….good friends of mine whom are very polite ,respectful and considerate . But most of the others are not so I find it difficult too so decided to keep the distance because you never know what comes next.
You are rite Shilpi…….. But u see india have 100’s of religion and there in SL majority is bhuddist very few muslims and other religions.. Indian culture is different then the srilankan…. I belong to GUJRAT (INDIA) but family is settled in Mumbai and Karachi……. Though same blood and family but thinking is different…….. So in this case i thing you are rite……
Sri Lankan culture doesn’t have such a severe racism as you point out here. Also its quite more better than India in many aspects such as hygiene, sanitary, cleanliness etc. I’ve been to India on a pilgrimage once. So I can obviously compare with what I experienced.
I think not only in Sri Lanka, all over the world Indians have bad reputation. When they see brown skin, they think these people will bargain for everything like they do back in their country and they are cunning, stinchy people. No hard feelings.
Even when we Sri Lankans go abroad, will get treated bad thinking that we are Indians too. I’ve had bad experiences in many south asian countries because they thought I’m indian.
Yes the buddhist vegetarian part is very confusing. I attended a local festival in arunachal pradesh where they had build a makeshift stadium. At one point, a huge bull was let loose while the residents fielded the ground with huge machetes. The bull was slaughtered as it ran from one person to another while the crowd cheered. The meat was served as fest and I was still very confused.
Oh dear that is quite disturbing to hear.
In buddhism, vegetarianism is restricted to monks. In hinduism, vegetarianism cuts across evenly so it is practised by different ethnic groups, lingual groups, castes and sub-castes.
Thanks for sharing, that is very interesting.
Well as you may already know, Buddhism is more of a philosophy or a way of life rather than a religion. As a result, there are no restrictions for people as buddhists. But lord Buddha mentioned that killing animals or any action that leads to killing animals (e.g.: need for meat increases animal killing) is a sin. Most Buddhists in Sri Lanka eat chicken, mutton and pork (Hardly beef) and there are monks who eat meat as well. I think eating or not eating meat its up to an individual.
Nicely said.Same is the case in Bhutan.
“In buddhism, vegetarianism is restricted to monks”
This statement is a one big lie…………
In Buddhist teaching(more likely a philosophy), no one has forced to anything. Lord Buddha has told what are the pros and cons if you do such a thing, how it’ll affect people’s life and it’s your duty to accept it or not. Buddhism is very free religion where you haven’t forced for anything like in other religions.
In Buddhism nothing is restricted or compulsory. If you do bad or good Karma you get the result according to. Everything is up to you & God or gods can’t help you to attain Nirvana & always your emancipation is on your hand.
WOW wow moora…thats not a buddhist festival..its a hindu festival…which is recently banned after a massive public protest
I believe you have a misconception about Buddhism. Buddhism is a philosophy and definitely not a religion.Having said that Buddhism never acknowledge killing animals as it clearly states that as a sin. Also Buddhism identifies this kind of sin can occur in three ways.
1. Killing an animal by oneself
2.Advocating to killing an animal
3. Not trying to stop killing an animal
Having said that Buddhists are not asked to be vegetarians as Buddhism operates only on ones will and Buddhism only states whats right and whats wrong. Allowing the people to decide what they should do. Also Buddhism explains the concept of Karma which can be described in another five segments which I will not go into.
Now I would like to talk about the above ritual. First of all it is not a Buddhist ritual at all and also I believe the mentioned place is not in Sri Lanka as well. Also this kind of ritual can only be remotely connected with Islamic culture as they practice sometimes close to that. Also I would like to point out that just like Hindus in India, in Sri Lanka cows/bulls are treated with utmost respect and not used for meat so I can strongly testify that what you have experienced is a NOT a Buddhist ritual
Here we go. Exactly my point
I’m a Buddhist Sri Lankan and I’ve never heard of this festival. I think this must be a Muslim tradition. Muslims make up around 10% of population and they are an important part of our culture. However, Buddhist, Hindu or Christian Sri Lankans would never participate in an act like this. I’m not trying to say who’s good and who’s bad here. Simply stating the facts.
When it comes to meat eating, I’d say Buddhist Sri Lankans are hypocrites. I think that explains it.
In your travels try to make friends with locals. Any Sri Lankan would be really happy to invite you to their home and provide you with a home cooked vegetarian meal. 🙂
arunachal pradesh is in India, not Sri Lanka!
Arunachal Pradesh is in India…
We don’t have an Arunachal Pradesh in Sri Lanka. You’ve landed in the wrong country I’m afraid.
I’m Sure that Killing an animal does not have to do anything with “Buddhists”. Making it more clear, killing and meat eating are two different aspects and it only co-relate if one kills to eat its meat. Like as being vegetarian and being restrained from taking others lives are two different things. You can be pure vegetarian and still kill animals which is not Buddhist way. Most best example Late LTTE leader , the most feared brutal V. Prabhakaran who lead the barbarism taking nearly hundred thousands of innocent lives was a devoted vegetarian!!! So as Adolf Hitler was a vegetarian too. But yet they didn’t restrained from Killing in masses. Buddha never advised a ‘Shiksha’ for buddhist to be vegetarian as it did not created the negative karma effects. But yet killing even a fly creates karma effects negatively.
I think that’s more to do with the country’s culture and the aggressiveness of its people, than Buddhism. Such a thing would never happen in Sri Lanka and we are a predominantly Buddhist country. Yes we eat meat and yes animals are slaughtered, but never as part of a sport and in front of a jeering crowd.
I had the same feelings when I went to Sri Lanka .. it was clean, nice and the people were awesome. I wish we could be more like them.
Nice write up. I hear Sri Lanka is very green as well in addition to having pristine beaches. One really longs for some greenery, cleanliness and fresh air after days of being at Mumbai!
Absolutely! Sri Lanka is gorgeous, it was so green it reminded me of Kerala.
Planning to visit srilanka… please suggest me.
You will find several descriptions of places to visit in Sri Lanka in my blog. You can read about here, here, here or here.
dont hesitate to visit if you have the finances to come over richa