Sri Lanka Reads
Reading list inspiration for travel
Books & eBooks
- A Guide to Sri Lanka’s Cultural TriangleView on ApproachGuides.com* Our travel guidebook to the country's top sites: Dambulla, Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura.
- Geoffrey Bawa: The Complete WorksView on Amazon A thoroughly enjoyable profile of the country's most famous architect. By Geoffrey Bawa.
- Hidden Kitchens of Sri LankaView on Amazon Divided into geographical regions, it offers region-by-region culinary profiles and recipes. By Bree Hutchins.
- Island of a Thousand MirrorsView on Amazon The tale of two women — one Tamil and one Sinhala — in a Sri Lanka torn apart by civil war. By Nayomi Munaweera.
- MahavamsaView on Archive.org The island's most important historical chronicle composed in the Pali language in the 5th-6th centuries
- Noontide Toll: StoriesView on Amazon A for-hire driver in Sri Lanka paints a portrait of postwar Sri Lanka and the ghosts of civil war. By Romesh Gunesekera.
- Running in the FamilyView on Amazon A vivid travel memoir about the author's homecoming to his native Sri Lanka, giving readers a glimpse into life in this beautiful country. By Michael Ondaatje.
- The Rehla (Journey) of Ibn Battuta: India, Maldives and CeylonView on archive.org The famous Moroccan explorer's impressions of India, Maldives and Ceylon (Sri Lanka), drawn from his mid-14th century visit. English translation by Dr. Mahdi Husain.
- Theravada BuddhismView on Amazon A comprehensive look at this destination's unique flavor of Buddhism. By Richard F Gombrich.
- What the Buddha TaughtView on Amazon An excellent introductory text on the Buddha's teachings and one of the standard texts used in colleges and universities around the world. By Walpola Rahula.
Articles & Academic Papers
- “An Introduction to Sri Lankan Cuisine”View on seriouseats.com Sri Lankan food offers a vivid array of flavor combinations: sweet caramelized onion relishes, bitter melon, spicy scraped coconut, and the burn of curry tamed by mild rice, and palm sugar sweetened desserts. By Naomi Tomky.
- “Groundswell Chooses Democracy in Sri Lanka”View on NYTimes.com The recent upset election of Sirisena in January 2015. By Ellen Barry.
- “Sri Lanka’s New Government Hopes to Revisit Past on Its Own Terms”View on NYTimes.com The strategy for handling the war crimes. By Somini Sengupta.
- “The Defeated”View on Caravanmagazine.com Sri Lanka's Tamils pick up the pieces after the war. By anonymous.
- “The Root Causes of Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka”View on WorldBank.org This article explores the nature of the Sinhala-Tamil ethnic conflict.
Online Sources & Blogs
- The Cultural TriangleThe official website for the cultural triangle. It gives information on location and tickets.
- The Esala Perahera FestivalVisit Lanka.com A description of the island's greatest festival in Kandy.
- Travelers’ Health | Sri LankaVisit CDC.gov Get the Centers for Disease Control’s recommendations for vaccines and medicines.
- What are Japa Malas?Visit ApproachGuides.com* The use of prayer beads (aka japa malas).
- World Bank | Sri LankaVisit worldbank.org A great resource for the country's quality of living indicators, economy and climate change data.
- Baila MusicListen on asia.si.edu Learn about and listen to Sri Lanka's popular Baila music, popularized in the 1940s.
- Joseph Campbell on AUMListen on Spotify.com The great mythologist explains the deep symbolism of AUM (Om).
- The Battle of LepantoListen on soundcloud Melvyn Bragg and three experts discuss The Battle of Lepanto (1571), the last great sea battle between galleys, in which the Catholic fleet of the Holy League of principally Venice, Spain, the Papal States, Malta, Genoa, and Savoy defeated the Ottoman forces of Selim II. Some historians call it the most significant sea battle since Actium (31 BC).
- The BuddhaListen on bbc.co.uk Three academics discuss the history of the Buddha and Buddhism.
- The Dutch East India CompanyListen on soundcloud Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie or VOC, known in English as the Dutch East India Company. The VOC dominated the spice trade between Asia and Europe for two hundred years and, at its peak, had a virtual monopoly on nutmeg, mace, cloves and cinnamon.
- The Singing Fish of BatticaloaListen on bbc.co.uk Since the 18th century, Tamil fishermen have claimed to navigate by the mysterious music of the singing fish of the Batticaloa lagoon in eastern Sri Lanka.
- The Sounds of Sri LankaListen to the Spotify playlist Listen to a personal collection of Sri Lanka tracks compiled by Trip Reads founder Jennifer Raezer. The perfect pre-trip soundtrack.
Just for Kids
- Buddha in Your Backpack: Everyday Buddhism for TeensView on Amazon For teens looking to learn more about Buddhism, this book introduces Buddha's teachings with advice for navigating everyday situations. By Franz Metcalf.
- Eyewitness: ElephantView on Amazon Full-color guide to the world of elephants -- their natural history, behaviors, and the role they've played in human history. By Ian Redmond.
Who to Follow
- Twitter: Adam RobertsFollow @ARobertsjourno The Economist's South Asia bureau chief based in India (and covering Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka etc)
- Twitter: Anumeha ThomasFollow @AnumehaThomas Tweets on politics in Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu. Feminist. Nature lover. Music is Passion. Hollywood Goss!
- Twitter: Azzam AmeenFollow @AzzamAmeen A BBC Reporter/Producer based in Colombo.
- Twitter: Daily MirrorFollow @dmbreakingnews For the latest country-wide news, in English.
- Twitter: Sri Lankan EmbassyFollow @EmbassyofSL For the official position.
- Adam’s PeakClimbing to Sri Lanka's highest point, Adam's Peak (Sri Pada), which holds the famous footprint of the Buddha, left during his brief visit to the island (although holds similar importance to the Hindu, Christian and Islamic faiths).
- AnuradhapuraFounded in the 4th century BCE, it is the island's foremost Buddhist capital. The magic of the place centers on its massive stupas, the largest brick-built structures in the world, most of which date from the 7th-1oth centuries.
- Dambulla CavesAlthough the caves have a long history, go to see the 18th century scultpture and frescoes that epitomize the distinctive Kandy decorative style.
- Hill Country Tea PlantationsNuwara Eliya, in Sri Lanka's verdant hill country, is home to beautiful tea plantations.
- Leopards and ElephantsLocated in the southeast corner of the tear-dropped island, Yala and Uda Walawe national parks offer unrivaled viewing of leopards and elephants.
- PolonnaruwaThe ruins of this ancient capital are better preserved than those of Anuradhapura and feature a larger range of structures, most notably, the impressive Buddha image houses.
- SigiriyaThe fortified mountaintop city of a patricidal ruler, Sigiriya is well preserved and virtually unaltered since its construction in the 5th century. It offers world-class frescoes and unrivaled views.