Central Province, Sri Lanka

The Central Province (Sinhala: මධ්‍යම පළාත Madhyama Paḷāta, Tamil: மத்திய மாகாணம் Madhdhiya Mākāṇam) is one of the nine provinces of Sri Lanka, the first level administrative division of the country. (The provinces have existed since the 19th century but did not have any legal status until 1987 when the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka established provincial councils.[3][4]) The Central Province is primarily in the central mountainous terrain of Sri Lanka. It is the 6th largest province by area and is home to 2.5 million people. It is bordered by North Central Province to the north, Uva Province to the east, North Western Province to the west and Sabaragamuwa Province to the south and west. The province's capital is Kandy.

Central Province
මධ්‍යම පළාත
மத்திய மாகாணம்
Kandy (capital city of the province)
Location within Sri Lanka
Coordinates: 7°20′N 80°45′E
CountrySri Lanka
Admitted14 November 1987
Largest CityKandy
Major Cities
  TypeProvincial council
  BodyCentral Provincial Council
  GovernorLalith U Gamage
  Total5,674 km2 (2,191 sq mi)
  Rank6th (8.63% of total area)
 (2011 census)
  Rank2nd (12.97% of total pop.)
  Density450/km2 (1,200/sq mi)
Gross Regional Product
  TotalRs 465 billion
  Rank4th (9.6% of total)
Time zoneUTC+05:30 (Sri Lanka)
ISO 3166 codeLK-2
Vehicle registrationCP
Official languagesSinhalese, Tamil
Rhododendron arboreum[2]

The cities of Matale and Nuwara Eliya are in the Central Province. The province is famous for its production of Ceylon tea, planted by the British in the 1860s after a devastating disease killed all the coffee plantations in the province. The Central Province attracts many tourists, with hill station towns such as Gampola, Hatton and Nuwara Eliya.


Though three successive European powers invaded Sri Lanka during the 16th to the 19th century, the Central Province maintained its independence until the early 19th century when the British conquered Kandy. The British then established a colonial headman ranking system in 1824, which came into effect in 1832.

Colonial head mudaliyars
  • Sir Christofel de-Silva (1824–1842)
  • Don William Gunawardene De-Saram III (1842–1856)
  • Sir Hendrick Ekanayake (1856–1860)
  • Sir Alexander-James Divakara Mohotti (1860–1888)
  • Don Agaris Divakara Mohotti (1888–1924)

The Mudaliyar Office was abolished in 1924 and the last of the colonial headman retired from their positions and gave up the rule to the British officers in 1926. All headman positions were then passed down to the newly elected governor-general of Central Province. This was established in 1929 as a way for the British to directly rule the provinces.

The historic Matale, Temple of the Tooth, Dambulla cave temple, Aluwihare temple and the Sigiriya rock are in the Central Province.


The province has an area of 5,674 km2 and a population of 2,421,148. Major towns include Kandy (119,186), Matale (39,869), Dambulla (75,290), Gampola (26,481), Nuwara Eliya (27,449) and Hatton (16,790).

Mountain ranges

Knuckles Mountain Range, Adam's Peak and Horton Plains are UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Central Province.


The climate is cool, and many areas above 1,500 metres often have chilly nights. The western slopes are very wet, some places have almost 7,000 mm of rain per year. The eastern slopes are parts of the mid-dry zone as it is receiving rain only from North-Eastern monsoon. The temperatures range from 24 °C at Kandy to just 16 °C in Nuwara Eliya, which is 1,889 m above sea level. The highest mountains in Sri Lanka are in the Central Province. The terrain is mostly mountainous, with deep valleys cutting into it. The two main mountain regions are the central massif and the Knuckles range to the east of Kandy.


The population is a mixture of Sinhalese, Tamil and the Moors. Many tea plantation workers are Indian Tamils, brought over to Sri Lanka by the British in the 19th century.


Ethnic group Population  %
Sinhalese 1,584,100 65.35%
Indian Tamils 482,945 19.92%
Sri Lankan Moors 223,076 9.2%
Sri Lankan Tamils 122,438 5.05%
Burghers 3,589 0.15%
Others 7,818 0.32%
Total 2,423,966 100.00%


As per the 2012 Sri Lankan census, there were 16,72,625 Buddhists, 5,40,339 Hindus, 2,63,874 Muslims, 94,402 Christians and 317 people following other faiths in the Central Province.

Religion in Central Province, Sri Lanka (2012 Census)

  Buddhism (65.04%)
  Hinduism (21.01%)
  Islam (10.26%)
  Christianity (3.67%)
  Others (0.01%)

Administrative divisions

Central Province is divided into three districts and 36 divisional secretariats.


Administrative Divisions of Central Province
district Capital Area (km2) Population
Kandy District Kandy 1,940 1,279,028
Matale District Matale 1,993 441,328
Nuwara Eliya District Nuwara Eliya 1,741 703,610

Divisional secretariats

The districts of the Sri Lanka are divided into administrative sub-units known as divisional secretariats. These were originally based on the feudal counties, the korales and ratas. They were formerly known as 'D.R.O. Divisions' after the 'Divisional Revenue Officer'. Later the D.R.O.s became 'Assistant Government Agents' and the Divisions were known as 'A.G.A. Divisions'. Currently, the divisions are administered by a 'Divisional Secretary' and are known as a 'D.S. Divisions'.

There are 36 divisional secretariats in Central Province, which are listed below, by district. There are 20 in Kandy District, 11 in Matale District and 5 in Nuwara Eliya District.

Major population centres

Largest cities or towns in Central Province,Sri Lanka
As per the 2012 Census[5][6]
Rank District Pop.



Nuwara Eliya
4Nuwara EliyaNuwara Eliya35,081
6HattonNuwara Eliya14,585
10TalawakeleNuwara Eliya4,691

See also



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