The culture of Sri Lanka has been influenced by many factors but has managed to retain much of its ancient aspects. Mostly it has been influenced by its long history and its diversity of religious beliefs. The country has a rich artistic tradition, embracing the fine arts, including music, dance, and visual arts. Sri Lankan lifestyle is reflected in the cuisine, festivals, and sports. South Indian influences are visible in many aspects. There is also some influences from colonization by the Portuguese, the Dutch, and the British. Sri Lankan culture is best known abroad for its cricket, food, holistic medicine, religious icons like the Buddhist flag, and cultural exports such as tea. Sri Lankan culture is diverse, as it varies from region to region.

Archeological and Cultural Sites

The most famous archeological and cultural site of Sri Lanka are located in the so-called Cultural Triangle, including Kandy, Danbulla, Sigiriya Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa. These sites leaves the visitors breathless for the splendor and uniqueness.
Another popular attraction is the Galle Fort.

Arts and Crafts

In most instances Sri Lankan art originates from religious beliefs, and are represented in many forms such as painting, sculpture, and architecture. One of the most notable aspects of Sri Lankan art are caves and temple paintings, such as the frescoes found in Sigiriya and religious paintings found in temples in Dambulla and Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy. Other popular forms of art have been influenced by both natives as well as outside settlers. For example, traditional wooden handicrafts and clay pottery are found around the hill country while Portuguese-inspired lacework and Indonesian-inspired Batik have become notable.


The cuisine of Sri Lanka draws influence from that of India, especially from Kerala, as well as colonists and foreign traders. Rice, which is usually consumed daily, can be found at any special occasion, while spicy curries are favorite dishes for lunch and dinner. Very popular alcoholic drinks are toddy and arrack, both made from palm tree sap. Rice and curry refers to a range of Sri Lankan dishes. Sri Lankans also eat hoppers which can be found anywhere in Sri Lanka.

Much of Sri Lanka's cuisine consists of boiled or steamed rice served with spicy curry. Another well-known rice dish is kiribath, meaning milk rice. Curries in Sri Lanka are not just limited to meat or fish-based dishes; there are also vegetable and even fruit curries. A typical Sri Lankan meal consists of a "main curry" (fish, chicken, or mutton), as well as several other curries made with vegetable and lentils.


Spices from Sri Lanka are world-renown, and attracted traders from all around the world for many centuries. The most famous spices of Sri Lanka are cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, pepper, vanilla, etc…

Sri Lankans use spices liberally in their dishes and typically do not follow an exact recipe: thus, every cook's curry will taste slightly different. Furthermore, people from different regions of the island (for instance, hill-country dwellers versus coastal dwellers) traditionally cook in different ways. Sri Lankan cuisine is known to be among the world's spiciest, due to the high use of different varieties of chilli.


Sri Lankan is famous around the world for its tea. Brought by the British colonizers, tea became a normal tradition in the country. Sri Lankan usually drinks 3 cups of tea per day. The most famous plantations, where tea reaches its top quality, are in Nuwara Elya.

The main teas in Sri Lanka are as follows: OP : Orange Pekoe (a basic, medium-grade black tea);
BOP : Broken Orange Pekoe (the typical breakfast tea);
BOPF : Broken Orange Pekoe Fannings (taste stronger than BOP, is always consumed with milk);
Green tea : Ceylon green teas generally have the fuller body and the more pungent, rather malty, nutty flavor characteristic of the teas originating from Assamese seed stock;
Silver Tips : very highly priced, it has a delicate, very light liquoring with notes of pine & honey and a golden coppery infusion


Every year on or about April 13th Sinhala and Tamil people celebrate Sinhala and Tamil New Year Festival. The festival falls in April (also known as the month of Bak) when the sun moves from the Meena Rashiya (House of Pisces) to the Mesha Rashiya (House of Aries). During the New Year, Sri Lankans stay generally at home enjoying time with their family and paying homage to the elders.

Perahera is the most beautiful festival held in Sri Lanka, in the ancient capital of Kandy. It is very grand with elegant costumes. Happening in July or August in Kandy, it has become a unique symbol of Sri Lanka. It is a Buddhist festival consisting of dances and richly decorated elephants. There are fire-dances, whip-dances, Kandian dances and various other cultural dances. We strongly recommend travelers to come to Sri Lanka and enjoy this amazing ceremony.