Saturday, June 27, 2009

Trip to “Sandaraja” wana arana

“Sandaraja” wana arana (submontane rain forest patch) is situated in the Dotel Oya , “Lapalawa” mountain range, Which belongs to the Aranayake divisional Secretarial division within the Kegall District of Sabaragamuwa province, Sri Lanka.  

 “Sandaraja” is a privately owned and managed forest patch, by the “Mihisara” Organization. It is surrounded by the “Gurugoda oya” one of the main sub River of Kelani River and “kuda oya”. One of the significance of the place is its one of those places where you can see most of Sri Lanka. This tiny forest patch is located about 2300ft above the mean sea level with average rain fall of 4500mm – 5000mm. Dotel Oya area including  “Sandaraja” is considered as one of the main catchment area of the Kelani river and Mahaweli river. [South bank catchment area of the “ambagamu”oya, which is a subsidiary of Mahaweli ] Forest patch belongs to the upcountry tropical evergreen monsoon forest type. There is no significant dry season and more frequently the forest is covered with mist. These forests are cooler than lowland forests and therefore they have ideal conditions for growth of cloud forests. All this climatic conditions cater the significant biodiversity of the forest area.

Floral diversity of the “Sandaraja” forest patch includes


  • Hora
  • Dun
  • Atamba
  • Milla
  • Hedawaka
  • Na
  • Gal weralu
  • Diyapara


  •  Pus wel
  •  Na priththa
  • Weni wel
  •  Grulu raja
  • Hathawariya

Ground level

  • Wal karapincha
  • Pinna
  • Gini hota
  • Katu kithul
  • Wewel
  • Sandaraja
  • Wanaraja
  • Iraraja
  • Kuda hedaya
  • Maha hedaya
  • Gal demata
  • Gonka

Other than this there are several verities of ferns, orchids, lichens which add value to the forest.

Faunal Diversity of the area consists with


  • Boar -  Sus scrofa
  • Fishing Cat  -  Prionailurus viverrinus
  • Jungle Cat  - Felis chaus
  • Indian Giant Flying Squirrel -  Petaurista philippensis 
  • Gray Slender Loris -  Loris lydekkerianus
  • European Otter -  Lutra lutra 
  • Grizzled Giant Squirrel  - Ratufa macroura


  • Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot  - Loriculus beryllnus
  • Hill Myna  - Gracula religiosa
  • Yellow-fronted Barbet  - Megalaima flavilfrons
  • Indian Scimitar Babbler - Pomatorhinus horsfieldii
  • Yellow-browed Bulbul -  Iole indica
  • Brown-capped Babbler  - Pellomeum fuscocapillum
  • Pale-billed Flowerpecker  - Dicaeum erythrorhynchos
  • Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill -  Ocyceros gingalensis
  • Crested Serpent Eagle -  Spilornis cheela
  • Little Swift  - Apus affinis

Total over 100 local and migratory bird species can be found here.


  • Indian cobra   -Naja naja 
  • Indian Python   - Python molurus molurus 
  • Russell's viper -  Daboia russelli russelli
  • Green pit viper - Trimeresurus trigonocephalus 
  • Sri Lankan krait - Bungarus ceylonicus ceylonicus 
  • Merrem's Hump nosed viper  - Hypnale hypnale
  • Hump-snout Lizard  - Lyriocephalus scutatus 
  • Wiegmann's forest lizard -  Otocryptis wiegmanni

This has been a prominent place to witness the Green pit viper in wild.

There are several species of amphibians, spiders, fish, butterflies and dragonflies contributing to the rich biodiversity. 

The management of the forest has taken step to conserve the forest mean while they have being implementing community based programmes to involve local people with the conservation of the environment.

There are main two trails [3 - 4 h] to observe the forest area one with some adventures along the stream and the other up to the hills. When you come to the “Sandaraja” wana arena you’ll be charged with entrance fee of 30/= and if you interested in going on trails to observe the forest you must get a guide from the office which you’ll be charged 150/= per trail. Other than these accommodation facilities is also available in “Sandaraja” on request.

Access roads to the “Sandaraja” wana arena

1. Mavanella> Aranayake> Ambalakanda>Hulankapolla> Jambugasmada> Dotel oya (14 Km from Aanayake)

2. Gampopla> Dolosbage> Kandekade> Dotel oya

3. Kegalle/ bulath kohupitiya > yatideriya> uduwa> Ihala udwa> Dotel oya

4.Nawalapitya> Dolosbage> Kandekade> Dotel oya

2 Km from the Dotel oya Tea factory to the “Sandaraja”

“Sandaraja” is a significant isolated forest patch in the hills rich with biodiversity. It is a good sign that in spite being a private owned land it has declared as forest and managed. Most of the Surrounded area is used for the tea plantation. Therefore this area acts as a home for the most of fauna and flora in the area. 

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Bird Watching at Ingiriya Forest Reserve (Bodhinagala)

Ingiriya Forest Reserve (Bodhinagala) is also an “Aranya senasanaya” Situated in the western province of Sri Lanka. This is a secondary lowland rain forest patch in the area of Ingiriya. The get way to this precious places lies on the Panadura – Rathnapura main road. Along this road few kilometers passing the Horana town towards Ingiriya, Bodhinagala junction is the place where the rout to “Aranya senasanaya” starts. The entrance to the reserve & “Aranya senasanaya” is at the end of this route which is Couple of kilometers from the main road. As one of the  famous “Aranya senasanaya” in  the area the get way to this place is not a difficult task and the direction sing boards are also have being established along the road. 
The forest reserve consists of two mountains which are surrounded by the villages. Inside the forest there are concreted routes created in favor of the Buddhists monks lived here for the meditations. It seems that the forest is being disturbed by the people who visits the place, even though there are separated visiting hours for them.

This reserve has being considered as one of the rich spot for bird watching. When looking at the avian fauna of the area it is very significant as one of the best sites for the rare endemic bird, Green - Billed Coucal. Some of the highlights of the birdlife at Ingiriya Forest Reserve (Bodhinagala) include;

  • Hanging Parrot [E],
  • Green Billed Coucal [E],
  • Spur Fowl [E],
  • Yellow Fronted Barbet [E],
  • Layard's Parakeet [E],
  • Grey Hornbill [E],
  • Malabar Trogon,
  • Emerald Dove,
  • Greater crested Drongo,
  • Dark fronted Babbler,
  • Black napped Monarch,
  • Tickell’s Blue fly catcher etc
[E] = Endemic

Monday, March 30, 2009

Welcome to the Sri Lanka - Nature Trails

We'll explore the unleashed beauty of Sri Lanka, the pearl of the Indian ocean. Around the world being recognized as one of the world's biodiversity hottest hots spots, Sri Lanka has very fascinating landscapes, natural forests, coral reefs and many more..