The pearl-shaped island of Ceylon, once called the land of copper sands and the Island of Serendipity, has seen the changes of thousands of years of human history.
Its location on the silk route brought many adventurous travelers to its shores. Marco Polo, Iban Battuta and the Portuguese seafarers would have stepped off their boats on to the island’s Coconut palm-fringed beaches. They would have rested under their shade, as the gentle and welcoming islanders would have offered them voluptuous coconut fruits filled to the brim with sweet coconut water to quench their thirst.
Set in the Indian Ocean in South Asia, the tropical island nation of Sri Lanka has a history dating back to the birth of time. Sri Lanka, the natures treasure chest is the home to one of the oldest civilizations in the world.
Few places in the world can offer such a remarkable combination of stunning landscapes, pristine beaches, captivating cultural heritage and unique experiences within such a compact location.
Within a mere area of 65,610 kilometres lie 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 1,330 kilometres of coastline – much of it pristine beach – 15 national parks showcasing an abundance of wildlife, over 1,000,000 acres of bountiful coconut lands, nearly 500,000 acres of lush tea estates, 250 acres of botanical gardens, 350 waterfalls, 25,000 water bodies, to a culture that extends back to over 2,500 years.
This is an island of magical proportions, once known as Serendib, Taprobane, the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, and Ceylon. Discover Sri Lanka through ‘Ceylon Coconut’
Coconuts enjoy a prestigious position in Sri Lankan society and it is interwoven with the culture and traditions of its people with over 80% of annual production consumed domestically. Every part of the coconut palm is strongly combined with the day to day life of the community. Therefore it has been christened as “Kapruka or Tree of Life”
a source of plentiful resources.
The coconut cultivation covers 394,836 hectares, accounting for 19.26% of the total agricultural lands in Sri Lanka and 75 % of coconut growers are small and medium scale growers. The coconut cultivation is the direct and indirect livelihood of around 835,000 of people.
(Coconut Research Institute, 2011)
Reference: KAPRUKA NAVODAWA
– National Coconut Sector Development Plan (Page IX), Ministry of Coconut Development and Janatha Estate Development
THE history OF
The Coconut (Cocos Nucifera Linn) is regarded to be of ancient origin and cultivated by people of Ceylon for its various uses for over thousands of years.
According to early Greek Chronicles, it was Megasthenes, Ambassador of the Seluces Nicater, who told the Indian King, Chandra Gupta about the Coconut Palm, he found in Sri Lanka in 300 BC. “The island, then, in the great sea, which they call Taprobane, has palm-groves, where the trees are planted with wonderful regularity all in a row, in the way we see the keepers of pleasure parks plant out shady trees in the choicest spots.”
Fa Hian in the fifth century A.D. claimed to have found coconuts and arrack available in Ceylon. Arab Traders Ibn Wahab and Abu Seyd are said to have had draughts of arrack in Ceylon, in the fifth century A.D.
Hence it is evident that the coconut was established in Ceylon by the dispersal and dissemination from the original home of Cocos Nucifera Linn either by the hand of man or by nature.
History of Coir Industry in India – Central Coir Research Institute, India
History and Development of the Coconut Industry of Ceylon(Page 45) – By M. L. M. SALGADO, Acting Director and Soil Chemist, Coconut Research Institute, Sri Lanka
Megasthenes: Indika – FRAGM. LIX. Of the Beasts of India (#18). Ancient India as Described by Megasthenes and Arrian. Translated and edited by J. W. McCrindle. Calcutta and Bombay: Thacker, Spink, 1877, 30-174
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