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.