Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a predominantly Buddhist island nation in South Asia, located about 31 kilometres (18½ mi) off the southern coast of India. It is often popularly referred to as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean. It is home to more than 20 million people.
A strategic naval link between West Asia and South East Asia, Sri Lanka has been an ancient centre of Buddhist religion and culture. Significant numbers of people also adhere to Hindu, Christianity, Islam and indigenous religions. Sinhalese people form a majority of the population (74%), which also consists of smaller communities of Tamil, Muslims, Burghers and indigenous peoples. Famous for the production and export of tea, coffee, rubber and coconuts, Sri Lanka also boasts a progressive and modern industrial economy. The natural beauty of Sri Lanka's tropical forests, beaches and landscape and rich cultural heritage make it a famous destination for tourists worldwide.