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Tags : Garden & Park

Timings : 7:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Time Required : January to May

Entry Fee : LKR 500

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Jathika Namal Uyana, Dambulla Overview

Jathika Namal Uyana is a nature reserve home to Sri Lanka's largest quartz mountain and Ironwood forest. A walk through the old forest takes you to the base of the quartz mountain which is a 30 minute hike. The area also houses the remains of a Buddhist monastery, stupa, and other structures, and a small but stunning waterfall.

A national forest reserve, the ironwood forest at Namal Uyana spans about 250 acres; the Sri Lankan ironwood tree is endemic to the region, and the national tree of the country. The tree also has considerable significance in Buddhism. The rose quartz mountain has an interesting Indian connection. It is widely believed that the rose quartz mined here was used for embellishing the windows in the famed Taj Mahal! The area also harbours a plethora of diverse flora and fauna—more than a hundred, and ranging from medicinal herbs to elephants and leopards.

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History of Jathika Namal Uyana

The history of Namal Uyana, mainly the ironwood forest, dates back to the 3rd century BC, but the Buddhist ruins are of buildings built many centuries later. Namal Uyana was initially designated as an archaeological site on 12th November 2001, after the efforts of a Sri Lankan monk named Vanavasi Rahula Thera. The area was later declared a national forest reserve on 28th May 2005.

Attractions at Jathika Namal Uyana

1. Ironwood Forest
According to legend, the ironwood forest in Namal Uyana was built during the reign of King Devenampiya Tissa of the Anuradhapura kingdom; the trees were planted by outlaws, instructed by Buddhist monks inhabiting the area. It was also known to be a personal sanctuary in the 8th century.

Venture into the majestic forest along the well-marked walkway for a tranquil experience. The roots and leaves of the ironwood tree possess therapeutic value, and Buddhists believe that it was the site of enlightenment for the Buddhas before and after Gautama Buddha. The tree is frequently used in Buddhist architecture. One can even spot about 82 species of herbs, 18 species of birds and mammals such as elephants, leopards and monkeys.

2. Rose Quartz Mountain
The rose quartz mountain, more than 500 million years old, is dotted with sharp quartz rocks and accentuated by seven ridges. It is a famous pilgrimage location; a statue of Lord Buddha sits atop the mountain. The hike to the mountain peak takes around half an hour and is relatively easy. After the hike, one is rewarded by breathtaking vistas of the surrounding lush greenery and lakes.

Best Time to Visit Jathika Namal Uyana

The best time to visit Jathika Namal Uyana is during the early hours of the morning or evening, as the site is often crowded with pilgrims in the midday.

Tips For Visiting Jathika Namal Uyana

1. Wear a pair of comfortable hiking shoes if you plan to scale the rose quartz mountain.
2. Bring your food and water as the site has little to no food stalls.

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