The untouched wilderness of Lahugala

Under the bright sun of eastern Sri Lanka, the untouched wild of Lahugala Kitulana National Park glows. It is a forest steeped in history and animal action.

The untouched wilderness of Lahugala
The untouched wilderness of Lahugala
The untouched wilderness of Lahugala
The untouched wilderness of Lahugala

The Pottuvil road runs through the park and along its outskirts. This means wildlife can be seen in abundance as you travel along the road; be sure to keep an eye out. Elephants are seen all hours of the day, roaming about the forest cover insearchoffood. Lone bull elephants are frequent visitors who hang around near the road. You might even see them taking a bath in the tank as you cruise on. There have also been rare sightings of loitering herds. If you are lucky you might catch sight of axis deer crossing the road. Troops of monkeys usually frolic near the tarmac while peacocks too are a common sight. Yet the fortunate get the rare chance of seeing a peacock fan out its feathers and dance.

Lahugala is also home to a variety of endemic and rare species such as the Sri Lanka spurfowl, sloth bear, black-naped hare, slender loris and rare broad-billed roller. As you go on a safari through the park, catch a peek of Sri Lankan leopards and their cubs hiding amidst rocks.

The three tanks, Lahugala, Kitulana and Senagamuwa, are watering holes for the wild out here. At dawn and sunset, the atmosphere around the water bodies are serene and picturesque. The ancient Magul Maha Viharaya, believed to be the venue of the wedding between King Kavantissa of Ruhuna and Princess Viharamaha Devi, is on the outskirts of the park.

The largest stupa of the Eastern Province, the Neelagiri stupa is found in Lahugala reserve. This protected historical site is being excavated and restored, as archaeologists strive to unravel the many mysteries it holds.

Taking a safari in the Lahugala Kitulana National Park will assure you of rare sightings. However, even if you are travelling to the east coast along the Pottuvil road and merely pass through the national park, there will be wild surprises at every turn.