Sri Lankan culture steeped in Buddhism has its religious roots go back to the 3rd Century BC. From the first kingdom Anuradhapura to the last in Kandy, Buddhism played a principal role in shaping every aspect of Sinhala culture. Known as the Sinhala-Buddhist culture, it defines Sri Lanka values. However, Sri Lanka has always had exposure to other cultures and religions too. From the Chola conquest of Polonnaruwa in the 10th Century to the British occupation in the 18th Century, the country has had a multitude of foreign influences that have left their mark in architecture, attire, food, music, arts, and language. While the Sinhala-Buddhist cultural heritage of Sri Lanka is dominant in the Central Plains and Kandy, a Burgher culture and colonial legacies occupy coastal cities and hill country. Sri Lankan Tamil culture and Muslim culture are prominent in the north, and the east, but are also integral parts of the overall Sri Lankan culture.
Tips to remember
- Always be respectful when visiting religious sites
- Wear non-revealing clothes when visiting temples
- Remove head covering and footwear before entering temples
- Some religious sites prohibit photography
- Read signs for any rules particular sites want you to adhere to