Sri Lanka is a diverse country with a rich cultural heritage and a population that consists of various ethnic groups. The major ethnic communities in Sri Lanka include:
- Sinhalese: The majority ethnic group, comprising about 74% of the population. They primarily speak Sinhala and follow Buddhism.
- Tamils: The second-largest ethnic group, making up around 15% of the population. Tamils are mainly concentrated in the Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka. They predominantly speak Tamil and are divided into two main groups: Sri Lankan Tamils and Indian Tamils.
- Moors: A Muslim community that constitutes about 9% of the population. They are primarily descended from Arab traders and have a distinct cultural identity.
- Burghers: A small community with mixed European and Sri Lankan ancestry. They are descendants of the colonial era and have a unique cultural blend.
- Malays: Another minority group with a mix of Sri Lankan and Malaysian heritage. They are primarily Muslim.
- Indians: The Indian Tamils, who were brought to Sri Lanka during the British colonial period to work on plantations, form a significant minority. Their descendants are now an integral part of the country’s population.
The people of Sri Lanka practice various religions, including Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity. The cultural diversity in Sri Lanka is reflected in its languages, customs, traditions, and festivals.
This is a collection of photographs of some of the people we met in Sri Lanka in 2005. We drove around the island for two weeks and experienced some of the most famous sites, including Sigiriya – some historical and some natural. The trip remains one of our best-loved.