Wasgamuwa (Wasgomuwa) National Park, Sri Lanka
Close to Polonnaruwa
Wasgamuwa (Wasgomuwa) National Park that straddles sizeable areas of Polonnaruwa distrct as well as Matale district, is distinctive in its wilderness: it is encompassed by rives on three sides. The Eastern boundary of Wasgamuwa (Wasgomuwa) National Park is defined by the largest river in Sri Lanka, River Mahaweli Ganga (335km). The northern boundary has River Amban Ganga running alone it. Then again, for the most stretch of the southern boundary is River Dunuwila Oya.
Immediately to the northeast of Wasgamuwa (Wasgomuwa) National Park (37062 ha) is Flood Plains National Park (17,350ha). Moreover to the northwest is Minneriya National Park (7529ha) where the world renowned phenomenon of seasonal congregation of Sri Lanka elephants called The Gathering of Sri Lanka Holidays takes place.
Altitude of Wasgamuwa (Wasgomuwa) National Park ranges from about 76m on the plains to the 500m.
Location of Wasgamuwa (Wasgomuwa) National Park
Wasgamuwa (Wasgomuwa) National Park is located at a distance of 225 km away from Colombo. Polonnaruwa ( UNESCO World Heritages Site-Culture) is located 10km north of the northern boundary of the park.
Entrance to Wasgamuwa (Wasgomuwa) National Park
The entrance to Wasgamuwa National Park is at Handungamuwa on the southern border.
Reaching Wasgamuwa (Wasgomuwa) National Park
The tourists arriving from the UNESCO World Heritage Site (Culture) of Dambulla are able to reach Wasgamuwa (Wasgomuwa) National Park via the Sri Lanka Cultural triangle transportation hub of Habarana (A11 main road), Giritale (A11 main road) and villages of Bakamuna, Elahera and Laggala - Pallegama
Sri Lanka Holidays tourists arriving from Polonnaruwa would find access to Wasgamuwa (Wasgomuwa) National Park via the Giritale and Laggala-Pallegama.
The tourists arriving from Mahaweli System –C would find easy access from Wilgamuwa Japan bridge.
The gateways off main roads to the Wasgamuwa (Wasgomuwa) National Park
(a) Hasalaka of Kandy district on A 26 highway which runs from Kandy to Meegaswatta via Mahiyangana is the regular gateway to Wasgamuwa (Wasgomuwa) National Park for the Sri Lanka Holiday makers who have already arrived at the UNSECO World Heritage Site of Kandy, home to the Sacred Temple of the Tooth and numerous other cultural attractions.
(b) Naula of Matale district on A9 highway which runs from Kandy via Matale, Dambulla (UNESCO World Heritage Site-Culture), Mihintale (Sinhala: Mahinda's Hill), Vauniya, Kilinochchi, Chavakachcheri, Elephant Pass-to Jaffna).
(c) Mandandawela of Matale district on A9 highway is another possible gateway to Wasgamuwa (Wasgomuwa) National Park for the tourists travelling from Matale (home to ancient Aluvihare Rock temple).
(d) Giritale of Polonnaruwa district on A11 highway which runs from Maradankadwala to all the way to the eastern coast via Habarana,Giritale, Manampitiya to the Trikkandimadu, close to the pristine beaches of Pasikudah and Kalkudha.
The climate and weather of Wasgamuwa (Wasgomuwa) National Park
Wasgamuwa (Wasgomuwa) National Park being located in the dry zone of Sri Lanka, climatic conditions are largely influenced by the northeast monsoon (The main harvesting season of Sri Lanka called Maha) in October-February. The annual rainfall is 1755mm in the northern area of the park and 2250mm in the southern area of the park.
The mean annual temperature is about 27 degrees Celsius.
History of Establishment of Wasgamuwa (Wasgomuwa) National Park
In 1907, an area of the Wasgamuwa (Wasgomuwa) National Park was designated a game sanctuary. In 1938 the sanctuary was declared a Strict Nature Reserve. Then again in the year 1945 an adjoining area was declared a Intermediate zone.
In the seventies, with the acceleration of he multi-purpose Mahaweli Development Project (diversion of the largest river of Sri Lanka, Mahaweli Ganga for irrigation and hydroelectric power generation), vast stretches of forest denuded of woods resulting in the displacement of wildlife. In an attempt redress the injuries fell upon the biodiversity and wildlife of those stretches of forest, the twin areas of Wasgamuwa (Wasgomuwa) were merged to a single National Park on 7th August 1984.
Ruins of ancient monuments within Wasgamuwa (Wasgomuwa) National Park
Buduruwayaya located in the south-west corner of Wasgamuwa (Wasgomuwa) National Park near the confluence of River Amban and River Kalu, is home to ruins of 1800 year old Buddhist temple. A reclining Buddha statue and stone pillars are found herein. Immediately across the River Amban Ganaga is another reclining Buddha statue.
Furthermore remains of an ancient irrigation system are scattered around providing evidence of ancient villages and cultivated land beside the River Mahaweli ganga and Amban Ganaga.
Ruins of a palace in the form of stone pillars are located on an island in Kalanga Yoda Ela irrigation canal built by King Parakrambahu the Great (1164-1196 AD), the builder of the inland-sea like rainwater reservoir called Parakrama Samudra ( Sinhala: Sea of Parakrama)
The terrain and the vegetation of Wasgamuwa (Wasgomuwa) National Park
Tropical dry-zone ever green forest is well developed along the main rivers & dense on the hilly ridges while the extensive open plains in the southeastern & eastern sections of the park is dominated by the tropical grass illuk.
Tropical dry-zone ever green forest abounds with tall trees: Buruta (Satin), Chloroxylon Swietenia, Velang (Pterospermum canescens), the endemic Galsiyambala (Dialium ovoideum), Milla (Vitaex Pinanata) Weera (Drypetes sepiaria), Palu (Manikkara hexandra), Wa (Cassia roxburghii) Ehala (C. Fistula), and last, but not least, the king of all trees, Kaluwara (Diospyros Ebenum), that produces all black-high density-high strength tropical hardwood timber, Ceylon ebony.
Best time to visit Wasgamuwa (Wasgomuwa) National Park
June to September (dry season in the dry zone) when the mammals & birds roam around irrigation reservoirs at Minneriya, Kaudulla http://mysrilankaholidays.com/kaudulla-national-park.html and Giritale.
Main draw: herds of elephants up to 150
Mammals: leopards, fishing cats, sambar deer, spotted deer, the endangered rusty spotted cat, sloth bear, golden jackal, Barking Deer, slender loris, water buffalo (23 species)
Transmigration of elephants of Wasgamuwa (Wasgomuwa) National Park
Kaudulla National Park (Close to Polonnaruwa) & Minneriya National Park (Close to Polonnaruwa)
Of the143 species of birds abound at Wasgamuwa (Wasgomuwa) National Park, 5 are endemic to Sri Lanka. Among the significant bird population are Sri Lanka trogon, racquet tailed drongo, red-faced malkoha, endemic Sri Lanka jungle fowl and endemic yellow fronted barbet, endemic Sri Lanka spurfowl, Sri Lanka spurfowl, White necked stork and lesser adjutant stork.
Reptiles: 35 species of reptiles of which 7 are endemic. Common monitor, mugger crocodile, estuarine crocodile and python are the prominent reptiles at Wasgamuwa (Wasgomuwa) National Park.
Amphibians:15 species; fish:17 species are found in the reservoirs within the Wasgamuwa (Wasgomuwa) National Park ; butterflies: 52 species
Facilities close to Wasgamuwa (Wasgomuwa) National Park
Bank: Wilgamuwa, Mahiyangana, Hasalaka, Matale and Rattota
Hospital: Mahiyangane, Matale
Post Office, market, petrol pump: Wilgamuwa, Mahiyangane, Hasalaka, Matale and Rattota.
The excursion trip for the Sri Lanka Holidays tourists touring the cultural triangle
The hotels/guest houses at Polonnaruwa (1st choice in terms of transportation) or Habarana (1st choice in terms of accommodation) are ideally located to enable the Sri Lanka Holidays Culture tourists to make a nature excursion to Wasgamuwa (Wasgomuwa) National Park
Accommodation options within the Wasgamuwa (Wasgomuwa) National Park: Villas and campsites
There are three bungalows within the park (Kadurupitiya, Mahaweli and Wawul Ebe) and two bungalows outside the park (Gale Bungalow and Angammedille).
In addition to the campsites and villas within the park, there are five campsites (Mahaweli Ganga I and II, Medapitiya, Ulpath Hatha and Wawul Ebe) for nature lovers to study the natural environment.
Accommodation options around Wasgamuwa (Wasgomuwa) National Park
Accommodation is also available at guesthouses and hotels in Polonnaruwa, Giritale (high end: Angsana Deer Park Hotel , Royal Lotus Hotel) and Habarana (high end: Cinnamon Lodge Habarana, Chaaya Village Habarana and Sorowwa Resort & Spa and at economical rest-houses in Mahiyangana and Pallegama.
Facilities around Wasgomuwa National Park
Bank: Habarana and Dambulla
Hospital: Dambulla and Polonnaruwa
Post Office: Habarana, Giritale and Dambulla
Market: Habarana and Dambulla
Petrol station: Habarana, Giritale, Minneriya and Dambulla.
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