Located in the South- Western part of the island, Sinharaja Forest Reserve is a national park in Sri Lanka. It is of international importance and has been termed a Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
A tropical rainforest, the resplendent
Sinharaja borders on Galle, Matara and Ratnapura.
Due to its inaccessibility, the alpine
rainforest, part of the Sri Lanka lowland rainforests eco-region, was protected
from the damaging effects of commercial logging. It was labelled a World
Biosphere Reserve in 1978 and a World Heritage Site in 1989, and is also known
as ‘Kingdom of the Lion’.
It is just 21 km (13 mi) from east to west,
and a maximum of 7 km (4 mi) from north to south, but it is a paragorn of
endemic species, including a variety of biodiversity such as trees, insects,
amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.
As a result of the intense vegetation,
wildlife is rather suppressed in comparison with dry-zone national parks such
as Yala. Elephants are absent, and the 15 or so leopards are rarely seen. The
most common larger mammal is the endemic Purple-faced Langur.
If you are planning your trip to include a
hike through the forest, the most accessible route is that of ‘Veddagala-
Kudawa’ route. Furthermore, it is also the most convenient route with cities
such as Colombo, through
Avissawella, Ratnapura, turning off from Tiruwanaketiya and passing Nivitigala,
Kalawana, Deldoda, Veddagala and reaching Kudawa.