Tamil of Sri Lanka - Settlements



Sri Lankan Tamil regions are predominantly rural; even the towns seem like overgrown villages. The rural-urban balance has not changed significantly in this century, thanks to Sri Lanka's vigorous rural social service program and to an almost complete lack of industrial development. Traditional villages are nonnucleated and are internally differentiated by hamlets, in which members of a single caste reside. The only obvious center of the village is the temple of the village goddess. Lanes wander chaotically through the village, and homes are hidden behind stout, living fences (trees), which provide copious green manure for gardens. Land is Traditionally divided into three categories: house land, garden land, and paddy land. Traditional houses are made of mud and thatch; wealthier villagers construct stucco houses roofed with ceramic tiles. Houses are situated within a private, fenced, almost secretive compound, which is usually planted with mangoes, coconut palms, and palmyras.


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