The 12 Best Documentaries About Sri Lanka

Oct 3, 2023 | Best Of, Culture, Geography

Have you ever wondered what life is like in the exotic country of Sri Lanka? Documentaries provide a unique opportunity to learn about different cultures and people from around the world. From discovering ancient ruins, uncovering breathtaking landscapes, and meeting some of the most interesting locals, documentaries are an immersive way to explore. Here are three of the best documentaries about Sri Lanka that capture the beauty and complexity of this vibrant country. First up is “The Paradise Island: A Journey Through Sri Lanka”. This documentary takes viewers on a journey through the lesser-known parts of Sri Lanka. From bustling cities to remote villages, this film captures the unique culture and customs of this diverse nation.


1. Sri Lanka’s Extremist Monks: When Buddhism Spreads Hate

Sri Lanka has long been a home to Buddhism, but recent events have cast the religion in a sinister light. Our documentary examines how Buddhist extremism and its subsequent spread of hate into Muslim-majority countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Indonesia has changed the face of Sri Lanka’s religious landscape. We delve deep into how violence has emerged from this pacificist religion, and how this has altered the nation’s social fabric. Join us as we investigate the intense consequences of Sri Lanka’s extremist monks for both Buddhists and Muslims alike.


2. How A Family Allegedly “Ruined” Sri Lanka’s Economy

The island nation of Sri Lanka is facing financial turmoil, and the people are quick to point fingers at a single family they claim is responsible. Allegedly, this prominent family has made a series of decisions that have taken a toll on the country’s economy. For many citizens, it seems as if their plight can be attributed to one source – the actions of this family. From the outside, it’s hard to understand all that has happened and why a single familial unit could be blamed for a nation’s woes. This documentary seeks to shed light on the alleged ramifications of their decisions – exploring what really happened and who is truly responsible.


3. Sri Lanka Tsunami

As walls of water surged through the streets of Sri Lanka, locals had to swim for their lives as they desperately tried to escape the 2004 tsunami. Boats and vehicles were overturned, homes destroyed in a matter of moments; it was a devastatingly swift and unforgiving disaster that will forever be remembered in the minds of those who lived through it. The Best Documentaries About Sri Lanka not only captures the power of this natural phenomenon, but also the strength and resilience of those who experienced it. These films tell stories of courage and survival in the face of tremendous odds, showing how a nation can unite to recover from such a calamity.


4. Sri Lanka’s flourishing tuk-tuk business

In the hustle and bustle of Sri Lanka, the auto-rickshaws, or tuk-tuks are a popular form of transportation. Traditionally driven by men, more recently women have taken up this role at the wheel – Anulawathi, Thushari and Jega being just three examples. These intrepid ladies have made a name for themselves in an overwhelmingly male-dominated field, and have helped to pave the way forward for other aspiring women. This inspiring documentary follows their journey and celebrates their courage as they face various challenges on the road.


5. Sri Lanka: Empires & Enlightenment

Sri Lanka’s unique culture has something for everyone. From the quaint tuk-tuk ride to the beach, a visit to the golden Buddhist temple, and Ayurvedic massages; to sampling tea from its verdant plantations or trying a traditional toddy shop dish of freshly prepared veg curry – we can do it all. Adrenaline seekers are welcome too! Take a safari ride on the back of an elephant, go surfing at Colombo or Ella, and explore the sweet tooth’s paradise of Candy. No matter what experience you’re after, Sri Lanka is sure to make your dreams come true.


6. Sri Lankan Tribe Hunts Peacock!! 24 Hours With the Vedda!!

The Vedda of Sri Lanka are a proud people who take great pride in their hunting heritage. For centuries, they have hunted peacocks and other game in the jungles that cover much of the island. A documentary follows a group of Vedda hunters as they search for peacock during a 24 hour period. The hunters follow ancient methods to track their prey, using a combination of skills acquired through generations of practice. They have special techniques for tracking the peacocks’ movements, such as listening for rustling branches or scanning trees for footprints in the dust. Even after they find the birds, it can be difficult to capture them because of their agility and speed.


7. Inside Sri Lanka’s Deadly Underground Mines Filled With Rare Jewels

Delve deep into Sri Lanka and discover the hidden gems of its underground mines. From rare sapphires to glittering jewels, these caverns are filled with natural treasures waiting to be uncovered. But despite their alluring potential, there is a darker side to such mining: it can be hazardous for workers and damaging for the environment. See what life is like for the miners, and find out why this type of mining is so controversial. Journey to Sri Lanka and explore its hidden secrets beneath the surface.


8. By train across Sri Lanka

Experience one of Asia’s most stunning railway journeys: the Main Line. From the tea plantations and jungle foliage to Buddhist temples and relics of the British Empire, this unforgettable train ride takes you on an exploration of Sri Lanka’s remarkable culture. Along with breathtaking views, the Main Line is a living history book telling tales of colonialism, ancient religions and a rural way of life that is quickly vanishing. An adventure on the Main Line brings you a glimpse into a bygone era, as well as an understanding of what makes Sri Lanka so unique and captivating. So grab your ticket and prepare to be swept away – it’s time to embark on an unforgettable journey!


9. Sri Lanka: Food Crisis

Sri Lanka has been confronted with an economic crisis that is making it difficult for its citizens to access food. With prices of some vegetables doubling, the cost of living in Sri Lanka has skyrocketed. What’s more alarming is that the policy of converting to organic farming has only served to be disastrous, causing a catastrophic drop in crop yields. This means that fewer people are able to access food, and the situation is becoming increasingly dire. This documentary provides an in-depth look at how Sri Lanka has been affected by this economic crisis, as well as the measures taken by the government and other organizations to address it. It is a must-watch for anyone interested in understanding what kind of challenges face developing countries like Sri Lanka.


10. Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields

Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields is a groundbreaking documentary series that sheds light on the devastating evidence of alleged war crimes committed in the country. It was presented at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, and has since sparked an increasing urgency for action. The docuseries delves deep into first-hand accounts from those who were affected by the atrocities, as well as interviews with witnesses and experts. It provides an invaluable source of information that allows viewers to understand the gravity of the situation, and its consequences. By exploring the deep-rooted causes of conflict in Sri Lanka, this documentary offers an unprecedented insight into a country’s painful past and present.


11. Tamil Tiger Terrorist (LTTE / TNA) supporters,& UN watch this

The Sri Lankan Army was on the verge of liberating thousands of Tamil citizens from the oppressive rule of the LTTE. Amidst the chaos and destruction, one glimmer of hope shone through, when a soldier discovered a teenage LTTE cadre among a pile of 17 dead bodies. Despite sustaining serious injuries to her stomach and left arm, she still had a chance of survival, thanks to the quick thinking and keen eyes of the soldier. This brave act not only saved her life, but also provided a light in the darkness for all those struggling to free themselves from LTTE’s tyrannical rule.


12. The Soul of Sri Lanka

Our journey to Sri Lanka was nothing short of remarkable. After months of planning and anticipation, we finally hopped on the plane, excited for our adventure ahead. Once we touched down in Sri Lanka, it was as if all our senses were suddenly heightened—we could feel the warmth of the sun against our skin, smell the aroma of spices wafting through the air, and taste the sweet-sour flavors of traditional Sri Lankan cuisine. Everywhere we looked there was a new sight to behold—the verdant paddy fields, vibrant street markets, and majestic wildlife that surrounded us. As our journey progressed, we quickly realized that this wasn’t just any ordinary trip; it was an exploration into the heart and soul of Sri Lanka.


Read On – Our Latest Top Documentaries Lists

David B