Knuckles Mountain Range

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Time Required : 3 hours (one trek)

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Knuckles Range, Matale Overview

Knuckles Mountain range is an unusual terrestrial landform located in Matale and Kandy, in Central Province, Sri Lanka. The name was given by the British, and the locals call this range 'Dumbara Kanduvetiya', which means mist-laden mountains. Knuckles Mountain Range is called so because of its uncanny resemblance to the fingers of a clenched fist. The range is a World Heritage Conservation Area and is relatively untouched. The range features 34 peaks, ranging between 900 metres to 2000 metres. Five of these mountain peaks make the formation of a clenched fist.

The range, with its grasslands, rugged peaks, meandering roads and cascading streams and waterfalls are a vibrant biodiversity zone. Despite being only 0.03% of the country's area, this zone consists of 34% of Sri Lanka's endemic vegetation. The forest cover of the region includes dry evergreen forests, montane forests, sub-montane forests, dry and wet savanna etc.

The range faces two significant threats: constant cultivation of cardamom has deprived the forest of its vegetation cover, and a plant species called Mist Flower, which spreads into the woods and destroys the vegetation. However, there are some local and global initiatives to preserve and restore the cover. Currently, watershed conservation and restoration project is being undertaken here full-fledged.

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Hiking Trails at Knuckles Range

The range makes for an idyllic hiking zone. Passionate hikers from all over the world consider the Knuckles trek as their goal. Among the popular hiking trails are Mini world's end from Deanston; Trail to Dothalugala from Deanston; Trail to Nitro Caves from Corbet's Gap; Trail to Augallena cave via Thangappuwa from Corbet's Gap; Trail to Kalupahana from "Meemure" village. These are not allowed without a local guide.

Flora in Knuckles Range

A large extent of Sri Lanka's vegetation is found in montane forests of the Knuckles Mountain Range. These include a variety of trees. Shrubs and herbs. The most common cultivation is that of cardamom and cinnamon.

Fauna in Knuckles Range

This range is home to a wide range of mammals, including wild boar, spotted deer, giant squirrel, barking deer, purple-faced leaf monkey, mongoose and porcupine. Apart from these, various species of lizards and birds are also here.

Best Time to Visit Knuckles Range

The weather in these mountains is unpredictable. However, experts suggest that the months from December to September are safe for hiking, while October and November are the months of heavy rainfall.

How To Reach Knuckles Mountain Range

The foothills of the range are accessible by local bus. Another option is to hire a taxi or rent a bike.

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