The Land of Serendipity
Dec 3, 2020 | Shankra Sri Lanka

Throughout history and ages, the idyllic island has had many different names.

Read through this article to discover more about them!


One of the ancient names of Sri Lanka is Serendip, originally deriving from Arabic and borrowed by Arab traders from Indian ones. In fact, it comes from the Sanskrit compound Siṃhaladvīpa (“Dwelling-Place-of-Lions Island”) attributed to a supposed former abundance of lions on the island. Best known to English speakers as “Serendipity”, the name appears to be recorded already before 361 AD.


It is belief that the Veddas, the aborigens of the idland, might have give the name Lanka. The term means island: in old Sinhala the traditional name is Lakdiva while in Tamil has been adopted as Ilankai. The name is best known for its use in one of the two major Sankrit epics of India, the Ramayana, where King Ravana kidnaps princess Sita and takes her to Lanka.


This name goes back to antique history with various forms and spellings such as Sielen as the island known for the Romans, as Ceilão known for Portuguese and Zeilan for Dutch. The island was officially called Ceylon under the British rule between 1815- 1972. The name has been popularly been used for the famous black tea and many other exports produced in the island.

Sri Lanka

Introduced as part of the Sri Lankan Independence movement, the Sanskrit honorific Sri has been added up and officially adopted since 1972, year of the new constitution in which the island became a republic. The name stands for “resplendend island” and reflects the vibrance of the place!

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