Tea Fields, Palm Trees, and Temples: 15+ Stock Photos to Feel Modern Sri Lanka’s Vibes

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In recent months, Sri Lanka opened its borders to travelers. This South Asian island is paradise, and it has a lot of gems that attract visitors: lush tea fields, ruins of ancient temples, white beaches, mangroves, exquisite gastronomy, and more.
Together with one of Depositphotos’ stock photographers, we’ll share some stories about modern Sri Lankan life and the natural wonders of this country.

Fishing is a traditional activity in Sri Lanka. The island’s beaches are more than 1,300 kilometers long, and almost every coast is different in terms of fishing. The most popular fishing method is using a seine net. One end of it is fixed on the shore, and the other end is attached to the side of a boat.

More than 150 years ago, researchers estimated that Sri Lanka was home to over 30,000 elephants! Unfortunately, this number became 5 times smaller at the beginning of the 21st century. To preserve their population, several large national parks have been created on the island.

Sigiriya is a rocky plateau that rises 370 meters above sea level. This area is famous because 15 centuries ago, king Kassap built a fortress there. A road adorned with paw-shaped lion sculptures (preserved to this day) led to the fortress, where the entrance was decorated to resemble a lion’s mouth. Sigiriya is also home to some of the oldest fountains in the world.

The number of coconut trees in Sri Lanka is comparable to the number of tea bushes. Palm forests almost cover the entire territory of the island, except for the colder foothills and mountains. Where there are palm trees, there are “Caution! Falling coconuts” warning signs.

Colombo is the largest city in Sri Lanka. If you like hiking green mountains or lying around on a sandy beach, spend a few days in bustling Colombo for a more active pastime. This city is one of South Asia’s main ports. Here, ancient temples are located among business centers and busy highways.

The Nine Arch Bridge is located between Ella and the Demodara railway station, and it is the region’s main attraction. This viaduct bridge is about 30-meters in height. It was built during the British colonial era a hundred years ago. The grandiose structure was made from local stone and not from metal.

Stilt fishing is a skill that Sri Lankan fishers have practiced for millennia. Stilts help fishers catch fish in areas where boats can’t reach — near the shallow rocky coast of the island. The fishermen submerge their stilts into the shore, climb to the top, and fish with a line around their hand.

Sri Lanka is a tourist country, which is why access to temples and fortress ruins is not free. If you are limited in terms of time and budget, visit areas where ancient artifacts are concentrated in one place. Polonnaruwa is the country’s medieval capital that is now considered a historical reserve. You can navigate it on foot or by bike, and find something interesting around every corner.

The Kingdom of Polonnaruwa existed in Sri Lanka more than 10 centuries ago, and it is known for its unusual architectural style, called vatadage. At the beginning of the last century, archaeologists completed excavations of ancient structures that belonged to the city of Polonnaruwa, and today they are accessible to tourists. Among the features of this style are stone carvings and columns.

The cozy port town of Galle is a must-visit in Sri Lanka. The Portuguese founded it, but most of it was built by the Dutch. Galle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it resembles a typical European town. Christian temples, an unusual lighthouse, and narrow pedestrian streets are located in the old city. Galle is saturated with the atmosphere of 3 maritime powers: Great Britain, the Netherlands, and Portugal.

Not a single country in the world invites as many bridesmaids and groomsmen to a wedding. A world record was even documented several years ago: more than 100 bridesmaids and almost 30 friends of the groom were part of the bridal party for a wedding. Most weddings are held in Sri Lanka’s national style: the bride is dressed in a blue, gold, or white wedding sari, and the groom is dressed in a mul anduma suit with rich embroidery.

Sri Lanka (Europeans called it Ceylon before 1972) is known primarily for its tea plantations. In this country, tea is grown everywhere: valleys, mountain slopes, and even coastlines. Only women are involved in the collection of tea leaves. Most of them gather up to 20 kilograms per day.

The Abhayagiri Stupa in Anuradhapura was built over 2,000 years ago. This ancient monument is the most valuable historic site in Sri Lanka. King Valagamba, who ordered this grand structure to be built, turned it into a pilgrimage site for 3 Buddhist sects. Hundreds of years ago, the Abhayagiri Stupa was part of a powerful Buddhist monastery in the ancient capital of Sri Lanka.

The Sinhalese are the most populous ethnic group in Sri Lanka, and they are also known for their music. The Sinhala traditional orchestra consists of 5 instrument categories, among which percussion plays a key role. At the same time, music dominates in songs. Gatabera, Yak Bera, Davul, and Tammattama are just a few of the drums used to accompany traditional dance in Sri Lanka.

Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi is known as the oldest living tree planted by man. It was planted in Sri Lanka in 288 BC and grown from an outgrowth of the Bodhi Tree, under which Prince Gautama attained enlightenment and became Buddha. The tree grows in Anuradhapura, where people of all ages visit it every day.
The island of Sri Lanka is rich in antiquities, breathtaking landscapes, ideal surfing spots, and romantic secluded beaches. Locals live simply and happily, and engage in the same activities as their ancestors: fishing, growing tea, and making goods and food from coconut trees. If you have not yet had the opportunity to visit this magical land, we hope these photos help you enjoy the beauty of Sri Lanka.
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