Shady and cooling atmosphere behind the Maligawa:
Kandy, with its historical, archaeological and religious value has
protected the Udawattakele Sanctuary even during the time when Kandy was
the capital of the island.
Trees dressed in creepers at Udawattakele
In fact, Kandy has been named Senkadagala in 1371 AD, during the time
of King Wickramabahu, because a Brahmin called Senkada had lived in a
cave located in this forest. During the King's reign, the palace was
built within the sanctuary, as it provided safety and natural beauty.
During foreign invasions, the King used to go in hiding into this area.
Situated to the north of Sri Dalada Temple, this primeval forest is
about 257 acres in area and has a large variety of birds, animals and
butterflies, belonging to various species. Udawattakele is known as the
Forbidden Forest of the Kings of Kandy and it is here that you will find
a variety of trees including talipot trees, olive, cinnamon, rattan
cane, bo-trees, kitul palms, jak, mara, betel nut and arecanut.
Also known as the Forbidden Forest of the Kings of Kandy,
Udawattakele offers a genuine sample of untamed Kandy's wilderness in
which visitors can view with fascination tree and plant specimens that
have flourished without human intervention.
This trek of rain forest is rich in species that has enjoyed
protection from historical times. It is home to many species of bird
life. Some of the common birds are Sromted Barbet, Ash Dove, Crested
hawk eagle, Hill myna, Orange minivet, Black headed oriole, Shikra and
Lorikeet etc. Toque monkies, Porcupines, Mouse deers and butterflies are
also very common in this forest.
With the establishment of the Kandyan kingdom, all the ruling kings
took appropriate measures to protect this famous 'Udawattakele' or 'Udawasalawatta'
rain forest. A large Nuga, Pihimbiya, Niyaghala, Walla, Mee, Etamba,
Sapu, Malaboda and Mahogani can be seen in this forest.
Buddhist temples and hermitages
Sri Dalada Sylvan, Rama Temple, Gangaramaya, Keerthi Sri Potgul
Viharaya and Siriwardanaramaya were located within the boundaries of
Kandyan Kingdom. Buddhist centres such as Sri Visuddhi Cave, Maithre
Kutiya, German temple and Senanayake Vihara were built recently.
This is highest peak among other small peaks that are situated within
the forest. There is a belief that the National flag and the religious
flags have been hoisted on this peak during ancient time. The height of
this peak is about 1 800 feet above mean sea level.
There is a 200 to 300 years old giant endemic liana called 'Pus wela'
(Entada pusaetha) near Kodimale. It is an ornamental liana which
enhances the natural beauty and the value of the forest.
This is the narrow lane running around the royal pond through the
tall and shady trees.
It is very popular among the youths who visit this forest to enjoy
it's serene natural beauty.
The queen and the other members of the royal family used this pond
for water sports during the kings reign. People believe that a golden
pot which is filled with the valuables of King Keerthi Sri is buried at
the bottom of this pond.
The Marble Seat
There was a flat marble rock inside the forest. This was used as
resting place by the royal family who visited the forest to enjoy its
Lady Horton Street
In 1834 Horton who was then the Governor, constructed this path and
named it in remembrance of his beloved wife.
This is the first street, which was constructed within the forest.
This is the cemetery where dead bodies of officers and solders of the
British army who died during their invasion of Sri Lanka and buried.
There are 163 well preserved tombs existing in this cemetery.
In 1856 the government declared it a forest reserve and subsequently
in 1938 it was declared as a sanctuary. Udawattakele is famous as a
royal park among the people.
A majority of people think they can't visit this place because of
security reasons. But there are many students who come to this forest
for their studies.
We decided to give this place some publicity through the hotels which
are located in this area. We have a management plan and under that
project we hope to develop some foot path, clear the royal pond,
refurbish the entrance, build resting places and build a new cafeteria
for the visitors before the next year" said Divisional Forest Officer,
Udawattakele, Lakshmi Wikramasinghe.