Sri Lanka


4 Photos
The Palk Strait separates India (upper left) from Sri Lanka (center). This image shows the Strait filled with bright sediment, while off the northeast tip of Sri Lanka, a darkening in the waters could be a phytoplankton bloom. On Sri Lanka, many of the native forests have been cleared, but small pockets remain in preserves, such as that seen in the dark green southeastern portion of the island. The imaging satellite also detected a number of fires that are indicated in red. Image courtesy of NASA.
The Gal Vihara (stone temple or rock monastery), known originally as the Uttararama, is a rock temple of the Buddha located in the ancient city of Polonnaruwa in North Central Province, Sri Lanka. It was carved during the reign of Parakramabahu I (1153-1186). The temple consists of four rock relief statues of the Buddha, which have been carved into the face of a single granite outcropping. The reclining Buddha is just over 14 m (46 ft) in length, making it one of the largest sculptures in South Asia. The city of Polonnaruwa has been designated a World Heritage Center.
The Galle lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse in Sri Lanka, first built in 1848; it lies at the entrance to Galle harbor on southwestern coast of Sri Lanka, about 120 km south of Colombo. The lighthouse is situated within Galle Fort, first fortified by the Portuguese in 1588 and then extensively improved upon by the Dutch in the 17th and 18th centuries. The current lighthouse is 26.5 m tall and was built in 1939 after the original lighthouse was destroyed by fire in 1934. Galle was a historically important port of call in the Indian Ocean trade being visited by the Islamic explorer Ibn Batuta, the Chinese admiral Zheng He, and where the Portuguese first landed in 1502. Today, the lighthouse and surrounding fort have been designated as a World Heritage Center.
The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage was established in 1975 to care for orphaned wild elephants found wandering the forests of Sri Lanka. The orphanage is located in the town of Pinnawala, about 90 km northeast of Colombo. Since 1995, newly found orphan elephants have been cared for at the Elephant Transit Home created by the Sri Lankan Department of Wildlife Conservation, while the Pinnawala facility has focused on the existing herd of elephants. In 1982, an elephant breeding program was begun at Pinnawala and the herd is estimated now to number about 70 elephants.