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Horton Plains National Park

3.2 /5

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Best Time: January - March Read More

Ideal duration: 1-2 days

Nearest Airport: Bandaranayake International Airport Check Flights

"Stand At The Edge of The World's End!"

Horton Plains National Park Tourism

Horton Plains National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, situated at an altitude 2,100–2,300 metres and located in Central Sri Lanka. It is a government protected area which is surrounded by massive cloudy forests and never-ending grasslands. Horton Plains National Park is a popular destination to visit the famed ‘World’s End Cliff’, a long, steep plunge of 880m where the plateau comes to a dramatic stop.

The protected area was made into a national park around the year 1988 and since then has been luring a significant number of people towards its grandiose. Horton Plains is also the meeting point of three prime Sri Lankan rivers, and those are Mahaweli, Kelani, and Walawe. The national park is home to many woody plants and of Sri Lankan Sambar Deers.

The endemic species is a highlight of the park including the bird area which comprises of many endangered species of birds. Thus, Horton Plains is a delight to the eyes and a visit to this incredible region will not only soothe one’s mind and body but also will lead to a fun trip within the mountains of green!

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History of Horton Plains

Horton Plains was named after the British Governor of Ceylon, Sir Robert Wilmot-Horton when he travelled towards the region to meet the Ratemahatmaya of Sabaragamuwa in 1836. The original name of the plateau was Maha Eliya Thenna which supposedly means ‘the hugely lightened ground’. The original name of the Plains also has a back-story to it. Sri Lanka is quite famous for its connected folk tales which is quite often associated with the Hindu ‘Epic’ Ramayana. It is believed by the locals that the King Ravana, who kidnapped Sita, the wife of Rama as revenge for cutting his sister, Suparnika’s nose. This act enraged Rama, and he led an army consisting of monkey-human like creatures. The army’s leader Hanuman then set fire to the Plains, also known as the ‘Lanka’ of Ravana which lasted for a considerable period. This story explains the Plains’ original name and its meaning. It is believed that still, an upper layer of soil seems in a greyish black colour. Stone tools dating back to the Balangoda culture have also been discovered in the area. According to the recommendation given by Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker that the British Government leave the montane forest which are elevated above 5000ft quite and tranquil. This advice was immediately implemented, and Horton Plains was sanctioned as a wildlife sanctuary on 5 December 1969, and later in the year 1988 was promoted to a National Park. Horton Plains is quite dear to the local population with its deep-rooted biodiversity and vibrant culture

Geography of the Horton Plains

Horton Plains National Park is in the Central province of Sri Lanka. Located on the southern plateau of Central Highlands which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and comprises of three main parts, those are, the Peak Wilderness Protected Area, the Horton Plains National Park and the Knuckles Conservation Forest. At an elevation of 2,100–2,300 metres, the Horton Plains receive a right amount of rainfall, and the annual temperature varies. During the daytime, the temperature can reach as high as 27 degrees Celsius to dropping low at 5 or even 1 degree Celsius. Due to the covering of the cloud forests, the misty clouds often hide the sun rays to the plants and with the soil type of the red-yellow podsolic group, this combination gives rise to some endemic species on the plains. The Archaean age rocks found in the national park are made up of Khondalites, Charnockites, and granitic gneisses and are existent from the Precambrian Era. Hence, the physical feature of the plains makes the place even more alluring and significant.

Flora at the Horton Plains National Park

The flora at the Horton Plains National Park is rich and diverse. The vegetation of the park is divided into two groups. The montane grasslands cover around 2,000 hectares of land, while the subtropical montane evergreen forests surround 1,160 hectares of the area. Several wild endemic species occupy the forest - herbaceous flora and tropical species such as the Ipsea species (an endemic daffodil orchid) are also present near the plains. The herbaceous plants such as Viola, Fragaria, and Plantago etc. are most commonly found in the National Park.

Fauna at the Horton Plains National Park

The fauna in the Horton Plains is quite amusing and lavish. With 24 species of mammals including purple-faced langurs, rusty-spotted cat, Sri Lankan leopards, and wild boars etc., the most common species spotted is the ‘Sambar Deers’. With a population of around 87 species of birds, nine species of reptiles and eight species of amphibians, Horton Plains is home to a variety of mixed species. It was also known for the Sri Lankan Elephants; however, the species became non-existent after the 1940s. Sri Lanka also has a great diversity of 21 bird species which include Sri Lanka blue magpie, dull-blue flycatcher, Sri Lanka White-eye, and Sri Lanka wood pigeon, Sri Lanka Spurfowl, Sri Lanka junglefowl, yellow-fronted barbet, and orange-billed babbler are some of the magnificent birds seen only in Sri Lanka.

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