Sri Lanka Introduces Visa-Free Entry For Tourists From India To Revive Economy
To revive its economy, which has been grappling with high inflation, unemployment, and adverse economic conditions following the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sri Lankan government has unveiled a new plan to boost tourism. Under a pilot project, Sri Lanka will offer visa-free entry to Indian tourists, along with travellers from six other countries, including China, Russia, Malaysia, Japan, Thailand, and Indonesia. This pilot initiative is set to run until March 31, 2024. Before this policy change, Indian tourists visiting Sri Lanka were required to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) document upon arrival, which granted them a 30-day stay and cost around Rs 2,080.
Sri Lanka, often referred to as “The Pearl of the Indian Ocean,” boasts stunning coastlines, abundant wildlife, a rich history, and delectable cuisine.
Here’s why Indians should consider visiting Sri Lanka:
The historical connections between India and Sri Lanka have deep roots in the epic Ramayana. Legend has it that Sri Lanka was the place where King Ravana took Sita after abducting her. Numerous historical sites in Sri Lanka are believed to be associated with this tale, including Kothmale, Sigiriya (the Lion Rock), Sita Kotuwa, and Jaffna, among others.
Connection of Buddhism and Hinduism
Both countries share profound connections with major religions, Buddhism and Hinduism. It is said that Princess Sanghamitra, Emperor Ashoka’s daughter, brought a branch of the original Bodhi Tree from Bodhi Gaya to Sri Lanka and planted it there. Some of the most prominent religious sites in Sri Lanka include the ancient city of Anuradhapura, the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, Dambulla Cave Temples, and Sri Maha Bodhi, among others.
Sunshine, Sandy Beaches, and Wildlife
Sri Lanka’s beaches are renowned worldwide for their stunning beauty. The beaches are characterised by pristine turquoise waters and picturesque shorelines fringed with swaying palm trees. Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna, and Kosgoda are among the popular beaches that beckon visitors. The island nation is also celebrated for its rich wildlife. Travellers can embark on wildlife expeditions in places like Yala National Park, where they can encounter elephants, jackals, monkeys, leopards, crocodiles, and peacocks.