RAIN FORESTS

Sinharaja Rain forest

Sinha raja means Lion King, it also translates as Kingdom of the Lion. This is a national park and a biodiversity hotspot in Sri Lanka. It is of international significance and has been designated a Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site by UNESCO.The hilly virgin rainforest, part of the Sri Lanka lowland rain forests ecoregion, was saved from the worst of commercial logging by its inaccessibility, and was designated a World Biosphere Reserve in 1978 and a World Heritage Site in 1988.

The reserve is only 21 km (13 mi) from east to west, and a maximum of 7 km (4.3 mi) from north to south, but it is a treasure trove of endemic species, including trees, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.

Because of the dense vegetation, wildlife is not as easily seen as at dry-zone national parks such as Yala. There are about 3 elephants and the 15 or so leopards are rarely seen. The most common larger mammal is the endemic Purple-faced Langur.

This virtually the best location for the bird watchers to spot the most number of ‘endemic’ species. An interesting phenomenon is that birds tend to move in mixed feeding flocks, invariably led by the fearless Greater Racket-tailed Drongo and the noisy Orange-billed Babbler. Of Sri Lanka's 26 endemic birds, the 20 rainforest species all occur here, including the elusive Red-faced Malkoha, Green-billed Coucal and Sri Lanka Blue Magpie.

Reptiles include the endemic Green pit viper and Hump-nosed vipers, and there are a large variety of amphibians, especially tree frogs. Invertebrates include the endemic Common Birdwing butterfly and the inevitable leeches.

Kanneliya Rain forest

Kanneliya is a tropical low land rain forest of Sri Lanka and which is at Galle district. Kanneliya Nakiyadeniya and Dadiyagala is famous low land rain forests in Sri Lanka and its called KDN complex. Kanneliya is 35km Northeast of Galle . Kanneliya forest covers total of about 5305.9 ha and core unit of the Kanneliya forest reserve is about 5108.2ha. Kanneliya lies between 6° 09 - 6° 18° N and 80 19° - 80 27° E. Kanneliya is very important to biological diversity.

Several waterways, waterfalls, rivers and small waterways at Kanneliya. Gin River is main and biggest water way of Kanneliya forest reserve. There are high proportion of endemism among the 234 identified woody tree spaces, with 141 being endemic to Sri Lanka. Totally there are 301 plant types can be found at

Kanneliya forest reserve. Some 133 faunal species with 59 birds. 14 amphibians 32 butterflies, 7 snakes, 10 mammals.

Knuckles Mountain Range

One of the most beautiful scenic areas. The Knuckles Mountain Range lies in central Sri Lanka, in the Districts of Matale and Kandy.

The range takes its name from a series of recumbent folds and peaks in the west of the massif which resemble the knuckles of clenched fist when viewed from certain locations in the Kandy District. Whilst this name was assigned by early British surveyors, the Sinhalese residents have traditionally referred to the area as Dumbara Kanduvetiya meaning mist-laden mountain range. The entire area is characterized by its striking landscapes often robed in thick layers of cloud but in addition to its aesthetic value the range is of great scientific interest. It is a climatic microcosm of the rest of Sri Lanka. The conditions of all the climatic zones in the country are exhibited in the massif. At higher elevations there is a series of isolated cloud forests, harbouring a variety of flora and fauna, some of which cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Although the range constitutes approximately 0.03% of the island’s total area it is home to a significantly higher proportion of the country’s biodiversity. Covers an area of about 90 Sq.Miles or 234 Sq.Km of land extent.

There are nine peaks over 1220 Mts. or 4000 Ft. in Knuckles Range. The highest peak, "Gombaniya" is 1906 Mts. or 6248 Ft. high. The main water streams starting from Knuckles range are Mimure Oya, Kalu Ganga and Kote Ganga. Rainfall annually varies from about 2540mm [100 inches] on Eastern side to 5080mm [ 200 inches] for mid mountain range. Maximum rainfall is during October-January and minimum rainfall from February to September.There is dry weather and sunshine from February to April.

One can experience clouds covering up the area and then passing off at Riverston area making the atmosphere cold. There are Montane grasslands and pygmy forest in the Knuckles range. Passing Riverston and with the gradual climb down along the motor way, one can see sevaral peaks of Knuckles Mountain range such as Gombaniya,Yakungala,Kirigalpotta,Dorakulugala and Kobonilagala.

This is the famous 'Pitawala Pathana' or the 'Pitawala Grassland' of an area of 20 Hectares. Due to gale force winds, the trees growing in the pictured area are not growing big. Notice the rocky flat terrain only holds small plants and few survive the hot weather without getting dried. The rainy weather brings them back to life. The time of the year is August when these photos were taken.

Teligam Oya, Maha Oya and Heen Ganga are the main water streams originating from the Knuckles Range. Since the Knuckles Mountain Range is situated almost perpendicular to North East and South West directions, the mountain range gets rain from both Monsoons. From May to October, there is Southwest monsoon and from December to March, the Northeast monsoon brings rain. During this time, hundreds of water streams with abundance of crystal clear water makes the whole region come alive with all types of ferns and mosses. The above pictures amply shows the Riverston route with the fascinating humid nature during those rainy seasons.