Photos of Colombo, Galle and Kandy cities.

Sri Lanka is a multi-religious and multi-ethnic nation, with more than a quarter of the population following faiths other than Buddhism, notably Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. The Sinhalese community forms the majority of the population, with Tamils, who are concentrated in the north and east of the island, forming the largest ethnic minority.

The natural beauty of Sri Lanka’s tropical forests, beaches and landscape, as well as its rich cultural heritage,
make it a world famous tourist destination. Since 1983, there has been on-and-off civil war, predominantly between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE, also known as the Tamil Tigers), a separatist militant organization who fight to create an independent state named Tamil Eelam in the North and East of the island. This fertile nation is a visual treat and a political nightmare.

Homosexuality is illegal in Sri Lanka. Punishment ranges from a fine to 10 years in prison. In certain situations, cross-dressing is tolerated. Since the 1990s their have been public efforts made to advance the rights of LGBT Sri Lankans. Despite the homophobic environment, in 1995, Companions on a Journey was founded by a group of LGBT Sri Lankans to advance LGBT human rights. It was later joined by the Womens Support Group and Equal Ground. The organizations have organized conferences, yearly pride festivals, promoted AIDS-HIV education and lobbied for LGBT civil rights, especially the reform of the anti-gay criminal law.

Read the story about gay Sri Lanka