Sri Lanka’s highest placed national park:
Like the previous week in Galle, it was rainy and overcast in Nuwara
Eliya a few days back. But it didn’t deter me from visiting the cool
environment, green atmosphere and lovely mist
laden Galwaysland National
“It has 73 acres”, according to instructor of the Gallwaysland
National Park, R.A. Amarasinghe who was accompanying me.
I started my forest trail breathing in the lovely fresh air.
Gallswayland National Park is located about 2km away from the Nuwara
Eliya town and is the second highest positioned national park in the
country. It was declared a nature sanctuary in 1938. Due to having high
biodiversity again in 2006 part of this land, 29 ha had been upgraded as
a national park.
This small patch of land is a very good model to mountain forest type
and its habitat type. Here I saw both native and introduced floral
species. The area was known for giving good habitat for some interesting
mountain fauna species too.
The entrance of the cross shaped roller gate made of wood is the
first sight you get of this place. Much of the fauna and flora can be
seen just a few metres of the trail. Gallswayland National Park is a
beautiful gift of nature.
The park provides a serene and cold atmosphere with picturesque
beauty complemented by its huge trees. The natural beauty of birds,
butterflies and wild animals running across the forest and on the huge
trees was indeed a sight to behold. The park was declared a national
park on 18th May 2006 by the Department of Wildlife Conservation. It was
opened to the public on 7th April 2007.
During the period of British rule the surveyor’s assistant’s name was
Gallways. He bought this forest. Since that time this forest had been
named after him.
“The season favourable for visiting this forest is from April to
August. People who visit Horton Plains can visit the Gallwaysland first,
because Gallways forest can be a very good information centre for them.
Incidentally there is a fine of Rs 150,000 to those caught illegally
entering this forest by the Department of Wildlife Conservation” said
Indika Galpatha, Park Owner of the Gallwaysland National Park.
The Gallwaysland National Park may be described either as a rain
forest or wet evergreen forest. The average height of the trees vary
between 25m, 35m. Some individuals rise even up to 40m too.
Ginihota (Cyathea spp), keena (Calophyllum spp), damba (Syzygium
assimilae) and wal sapu (Michelia nilagirica) are in this forest among
Studies on the fauna of Gallways will provide visitors various kinds
of butterflies, reptiles, birds, mammals. Also you can see wal wura (Sus
scrofa), weli muwa (Muntiacuc muntjak malabaricus), handun diviya (Felis
vivervinas) , kalu wandura (Trachypithecus vetulus), dandu lena (Ratufa
macroura) and rabbits. Gallwaysland National Park is absolutely
This park is definitely worth spending some time at. You could get in
a hike in an hour or two or spend a whole day there exploring and
enjoying the beauty. Admission is Rs 30 for adults, Rs 20 for a child
and Rs 5 for school children.
It is desirable that you, who visit the forest, be sensitive to the
need to conserve forests such as Gallwaysland. In addition man finds
peace and tranquillity in a forest. You can enjoy its beauty and majesty
whether you be a photographer, artist, scientist or a nature lover.
Please do not leave behind polythene or plastic which you bring. We must
protect this natural beauty of our motherland for others too to enjoy.
Blending history with modern times
Perched 6182 ft above sea level amidst the mist shrouded mountain
peaks in Sri Lanka’s cool tea country, St. Andrew’s Nuwara Eliya the
colonial residence is over a hundred years and still retains the pace
and style of life from that early era.
On my way to the tea estate, tea pluckers, vegetable gardens,
mountain peaks, flowers, clouds and lovely mist captured my attention.
These ‘teascapes’ would have probably been there for centuries. So I
didn’t feel the distance of 179 km from Colombo to the hill country.
Entering St. Andrew’s hotel’s ‘green’ atmosphere, cool environment
and natural beauty was a blessing for me to spend a nice holiday.
Documents regarding the property date back to 1875. It is said that the
hotel is part of a land gifted to a faithful servant of the crown. A
house was built on his land which later was known as the Scots Club.
During the early 1900s the club became a hotel which was run by a
German manager by the name of Humbert. In 1918 the hotel was bought by a
syndicate headed by Arthur Ephraums.
In November 1919, J.H de Zilva, a young cousin of Ephraums was
appointed manager. After a long line of the ownership St Andrew’s was
added to the Jetwing group in 1986.
St Andrew’s has its own vegetable garden which has various vegetables
such as carrot, beet, beans, broccoli and cabbage, as well as herbals
such as horse mint, peppermint, coriander, mint, parsley. If you want to
add these to your meal you can pick your own vegetables or perhaps enjoy
a fresh garden salad like I did. Really, it was a unique experience.
There are no chemicals and it is a blessing, like their meaningfully
said “Ayubowan”. They almost use their own garden vegetables for
preparing meals. It is this uniqueness that I felt at this hotel.
In addition St Andrew’s has a farm which has cows, goats and rabbits
and a wetland where dragonflies and damselflies live. Further
enhancement of this wetland environment will encourage increased
habitation by dragonflies and damselflies and thus help preserve locally
The Hotel’s management hopes that this wetland area will serve as a
role model to demonstrate that even small sites as this, if managed
properly, can serve as important sanctuaries for Sri Lanka’s
Dragonflies deliver the eggs at the shallow or deep level of the
ponds. So different levels of ponds are created on this wetland. Sri
Lanka white eye, dull blue fly catcher, Indian scimitar, yellow eared
bul-bul and common trailer birds can be seen on this wetland.
“St Andrews has 40 spacious standard rooms spread over two wings, 7
family attic rooms and 5 suites. There is a saloon for billiards and
snooker. It is said that the billiard table and cues are over 123 years
old which have been imported from C. Lazarus and Company from India”
General Manager of the Hotel Renuke Coswatte said. (GP)
World Travel Awards 2008
Destination Sri Lanka is named among Asia’s leading destinations;
voted in by travel agents world-wide for the World Travel Awards 2008.
Two of Sri Lanka’s entries are short listed for World Awards. Kumbuk
River Sri Lanka, is nominated under World’s Leading Eco Lodge and
Responsible Tourism Partnership Sri Lanka, is voted in under World’s
Leading Responsible Tourism Scheme.
Sri Lankan Airlines is among Asia’s Leading Airlines and Ayurveda
Pavillion is voted in under the categories Asia’s Leading Resort and
Asia’s Leading Spa Resort.