Whilst Sri Lanka has drawn travellers to its beach fronts and tropical climate, for a quarter century it has been embroiled in a drawn out war between the majority Sinhalese and the separatist Tamil Tigers. Not only was conflict fought along ethnic lines, but also religious as most Sinhalese are Buddhist whereas the Tamil are predominantly Hindu.
Despite political turmoil, the culture of Sri Lanka has a rich history that is deeply rooted in the Buddhist beliefs of its population. Religious worship has given rise to a rich trove of art, including in architecture, painting, sculpture. These can be seen in the frescoes of Sigiriya and the decor of the Dambulla temples.
Sri Lankan literature is largely written in Sinhala; some, however, also write in English and has been gaining wider recognition. The best-known Sri Lankan-born writer writing in English is Michael Ondaatje, author of Anil's Ghost that is set in Sri Lanka. In 2012, Shehan Karunatiliaka's Chinaman: The Legend of Pradeep Mathew won the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. Shyam Selvadurai – a Sri Lankan Canadian and probably only one of Sri Lanka’s few openly gay men – writes novels that weave together the personal and political. Romesh Gunesekera’s Monkfish Moon is a collection of nine haunting stories that reveals the reality of Sri Lankan society.
Although Sri Lanka has not produced many films, some have been note-worthy. Sri Lanka’s answer to Slumdog Millionaire is Machan by Uberto Pasolini, which depicts the story of a group of slum-dwellers, who aspire to win a handball competition.