Wikijunior:Ancient Civilizations/Sinhala

What country did they live in?


The Sinhala lived in Sri Lanka, an island in the Indian ocean just south of the Indian peninsula. The people are descendents of both the indigenous people who migrated from India and other migrants who have come from all over the world.

3rd century BC - World's largest brick structures at the time close to 400 feet in height. World's 2nd largest overall strutures at the time second only to pyramids.

Axially planned, brick court yard buildings with wooden and stone columns and clay tile roofs.

What did their buildings look like?


Those big builidings were in respect of Gautama Buddha who is the founder of Buddhism cause Sri Lanka is the only country practising Heenayana buddhism mainly differ in practising methods as well as some other rituals. During the kingdom of Anuradhapura time, those big mounaments were erected. A king named Dutugemunu was in back of building the great structure, called "stupa" in the name of Gautama Buddha.

What did they eat?


Mainly they ate rice and curry.

What did they wear?


Sinhala women wore a sort of blouse. They wore dhotis which were long cloths worn from their waist down. The men wore a sarong which was on the lower part of their body. The upper-class women covered everything. All the women were heavily bejewelled. Lower-class women wore a breast-band and the cloth cannot go below their knees. It was fashion for all women to wear a row of pearls on their breast. They wore bracelets and rings around their fingers and toes. They could have been made of glass. They wore earrings also.[1]

What did they believe?


They are mainly Buddhists.

Most of the Sinhalese follow the Theravada school of Buddhism. In 1988 almost 93% of the Sinhalese speaking population in Sri Lanka were Buddhist. Buddhists include various religious elements from Hinduism in their religious practices and ancient traditions of godlings and demons, which are native to the island. Sinhalese Buddhists worship Hindu gods such as Vishnu, who has a special place in their religious practices, since he is entrusted with both protecting Buddhism in the island and the island itself. He is also recognised as bodhisattva, or "awakening being" to Sinhalese Buddhists.

There is also a significant Sinhalese Christian community, in the seafaring provinces of Sri Lanka. Christianity was brought to the Sinhalese by Portuguese, Dutch, and British missionary groups during their periods of rule. Sinhalese Christians mainly follow Roman Catholicism, followed by Protestantism. Their cultural centre is Negombo.

What did their writing look like?


The writing differed from time to time as any of the other scripts in Asia. The Sinhala script began as an offshoot from Brahmi and is found in the southern branch of this family, sharing a common root with scripts such as Malayalam, and Tamil. The writing system was originally used in inscriptions, the oldest ones dating from the 6th century BCE on pottery[, with lithic inscriptions dating from the second century B.C. By the ninth century C.E., literature written in Sinhala script had emerged and the script began to be used in other contexts. For instance, the Buddhist literature of the Theravada-Buddhists of Sri Lanka, written in Pali, used the Sinhala alphabet.

Today, the alphabet is used by about 16,000,000 people to write the Sinhalese language in very diverse contexts, such as newspapers, TV commercials, government announcements, graffiti, and schoolbooks.

Are some of them famous even today?


What is left of them today?



  1. "Lanka Library".