Sri Lankan Religion

Sri Lanka is a multi religious country. Buddhism is the major religion. Some of the other religions practiced in Sri Lanka are Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. According to 2011 census 702% of Sri Lankans are Theravada Buddhists 12.6% are Hindus 9.7% are Muslims and 7.4% are Christians (6.1% Roman Catholics and 1.3% are other Christians).Sri Lanka was ranked the 3rd the third most religious country in the world by  a 2008 Gallup poll, with 99% of Sri Lankans saying religions is the important part of their daily life.

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In Sri Lanka 70.2% of the population follows Buddhism. There are about 14,222,844 persons as per census of government 2012.This religion came to Sri Lanka through the Indian emperor Ashoka’ s son Arahath Mahinda. He led to Sri Lanka in 246 BC which turned the Devanampiya Tissa, the Sri Lankan king to Buddhism. A sapling of Bodhi tree known as Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi was brought by Arahath Sanghamitra, the daughter of the Indian king Ashoka. This sapling was planted in Anuradhapura, North central province in the Mahameghavana Park by the king Devanampiya Tissa. The Arahath Sanghamitra also well established the introduction of nuns in Sri Lanka. It’s densely populated in area such as southwest. In the central province areas such as Matale and Kandy. Galle and Matara districts in the southern part of the Island.

It was the beginning, and then onwards the noble families started to inspire the spreading of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, by promoting Buddhists Missionaries and Constructing monasteries. Buddhism became the official religion in Sri Lanka by 200 BC.Then by the 4th century the sacred tooth relic was brought through prince Dantha and Princess Hemamaali. Sri Lanka became a country which has a longest endless history of Buddhism of Buddhist country.


In Sri Lanka 12.6% of the population follows Hinduism. There are about 2,554,606 persons as per the census of government 2012.This is a religion mainly practiced by the Tamils in Sri Lanka, who belong to South India. This religion was practiced on the island before the establishment of Buddhism in 3rd century BC. Around 5th century and 6th century AD, the Cholas of South India around the fifth and the sixth century AD, the Chola dynasties of south India annex the throne of the Sinhalese kingdom and ruled the Island, leading to the extensive number of immigrants  to the northern Sri Lank through south India. Through that way, Hinduism was popularized in Sri Lanka and during the regime of Tamil kings; Holy places were generally built. The practice of the religion Hinduism was also allowed under the Sinhala kings in the Anuradhapura era.

Vishnu, Shiva, Kali, Ganesha and Skanda are the major Hindu gods that are worshipped in Sri Lanka. The most important religious figure in modern Sri Lanka is Satguru, Shiva Yogaswami of Jaffna. The mystery in 20th century, Yoga Swami was known as the official Satguru and a place of counseling. The highest proportions of Hindus population are found in the Eastern Province Ampara, Batticaloa and Trincomale, Matale, Nuwara Eliya and Kandy Districts next are in the province of Uva. And other areas such as Vavuniya, Jaffna, Mullaitivu and Mannar Districts.


In Sri Lanka 9.6% of the population follows the religion Islam. According to the records of 2012 census about 1,967,227 persons are adhering Islam as their religion. There is also about 57227 converts that is not included in the census. The Sri Lankan Moor, Indian Muslim and Malays ethnic are communities on the Island. In the ancient around 15th century Arab Traders from Middle East had a much control of the trade on Indian Ocean, including Sri Lanka. While these traders visited Sri Lanka for the purpose of their business they later settled down in Sri Lanka, with the hope of spreading of Islam. However with the arrival of Portuguese to Sri Lanka during 16th century, the Arabs were harass forced them to move to the central province and to the eastern coast.

In modern Sri Lanka, Muslims have their own Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs Department established in 1980s.The Muslims are mostly in urban areas in the southern parts, central and eastern provinces. Also the moors in the western part are mostly traders. Sri Lankan Muslims are also mainly concentrated in areas such as Colombo, Kalutara, Puttalam, Beruwala, Mannar and Jaffna.


In Sri Lanka 7.4% (6.1% Roman Catholic and 1.3% other Christian) of the population follows the religion Christianity. The Sri Lankan Christian includes the both Sinhalese and Tamil members. According to the 2012 census of government there are about 272,568 persons of Christian population in Sri Lanka.

It was the 16th century Christianity first came to Sri Lanka upon the arrival of the Portuguese. Under their rule Christianity was spread by constructing School for Sinhalese and Tamils. With this attempt of the Portuguese the natives were affected. There were a large number of people converted to Christianity. After time goes by the Dutch captured Sri Lanka and through the missionaries it was able to convert about 21% of the population to the religion Christianity in 1722.They also introduced the Protestian and reformed Church to pray.

In 1796 the ruling of Dutch grabbed by the British, then Sri Lanka became the crown colony. By the 19th century missionaries of Anglican and Protestant arrived in the early ruling of British. Under the British rule the missionary works was initiated by Baptist, Wesleyan Methodist, the CMS and SPG, the English societies. By this Salvation Army was also made to be strong.

Even so, the population of Christians (mostly the northwest of Sri Lanka) rose to 1,283,600, the 8% of Sri Lanka (88% of these are Roman Catholics and rest is Anglican and protestant).Later on Christianity was restricted in Sri Lanka due to nationalism movement. In modern Sri Lanka the Roman Catholics and other Christian are spread in western, Northwestern, Central, Northcentral, Eastern and Northern Provinces. The Christians are concentrated in areas such as Anuradhapura, Badulla, Chilaw, Galle, Kandy, Jaffna and Ratnapura.

Some of the other religions in Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka 0.05% of the population consists of other minor religions. According to the 2012 census of government 2012 there are about 9,440 persons of population in Sri Lanka.

The main religions are Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Christianity .While the Christianity consists both Sinhalese and Tamil members. Other than these main religions mentioned there are some minor religions in Sri Lanka. Such as Burghers, Veddahs, Malays. The burghers speak in Sinhala. Also the Veddahs language is similar to Sinhala. Veddahs is the person who belongs to the ancient tribes.


Sri Lanka is a multi-religious country. Buddhism is the major religion which is still dominated in all province .Islam, Hinduism and Christianity are the other religions practiced in Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka 74% of Sinhala language is considered as the official and national language while the Tamil is 18% in practice, the 8% of its other language and only 10% of the population is handling in English. People in Sri Lanka can be categorized into two. As ethnic base and religious base. On ethnic base the largest group is the Sinhalese and the Tamils. On religious base followers of Buddhism is the biggest community in Sri Lanka. Most of them are followers of Buddhism, and then come the religion Islam. Most of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka follow Hinduism. And then come the Christian Community. Finally other minor religion such as Burgher, Malay and Veddahs.