Religion in Sri Lanka

Religion in Sri Lanka

The largest population of Sri Lankans are Buddhist, followed by Tamil Hindus, Islam, and then Christianity. The Sinhalese are predominately Buddhist but some follow  Islam or Chrisitianity. The pilgrimage site of all religions in Sri Lanka are Adam’s Peak and Kataragame.

In Buddhism Adam’s peak is said to be where Lord Buddha left his foot print. In Islam and Christianity it is said that Adam left the foot print when he was banished from the garden of eden.There is one other importance to Adam’s peak which is not a religious reason, in which it is said that butterflies come here when they die.
Religion is a large part of Sri Lankan life with many different religious days which are celebrated by the Sri Lankans all over the country. Once a month there is at least one public holiday which is called a poya day. A poya day falls on a full moon in the Buddhist calendar, and each poya represents a different celebration.

A small Buddhist temple in Galle, Sri Lanka


Buddhism started in north India. It was brought to Sri Lanka by the of Ashoka who was an Indian emperor. It is taught for followers to reach Nirvana (enlightenment). Buddhists believe in rebirth, in which the aim through the practise of Buddhism that they reach Nirvana. Rebirth is not always returning as human in your next life, you may return as a living creature.  Many of you may have heard of karma. Karma is an action form that happens in your current life, which affects your next life.


Hinduism came to Sri Lanka by Tamil Kings and their follows and was brought mainly to the north of the island. There is now Hindu communities around Sri Lanka but mainly in Colombo, Kandy, the north, and tea plantations. In Hinduism they have many gods which represents different things, for example Lakshmi is the goddess of beauty and fortune. Hinduism is the second largest religion after Buddhism.


Arab traders brought Islam to Sri Lanka. Islam was founded by the prophet Mohammed, and only believe in the one god (Allah). Gods scriptures are written in the Quran. All Muslims believe in the 5 pillars of Islam in which these are: there is no god but Allah, prayer (5 times a day), tax, and fasting during the month of Ramadan.

Islamic Mosque in Galle, Sri Lanka


Christianity was brought to the island by the European travellers, and the Tamil Christians. The Christian Sri Lankans will be of Burgher decent or Tamil. Bugher’s are descendants from the Dutch, Portugese and the British, when the ruled over the country. Christian churches can been found dotted over the country.

Religion is a great way to get involved in the cultures and traditions within Sri Lanka, and the one thing we always do when visiting Sri Lanka, is at least once stop at a Buddhist temple to pray. We have always loved the Buddhist temples, not only for the prays, but it is so peaceful and tranquil that we could simply lose track of all time. This is one place you will find a diversity in religion in such a small island as this.

Hindu Kovil in Nurawa Eliya Sri Lanka

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