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Sinharaja Forest

Sinharaja,( the virgin rainforest of Sri Lanka):

Sinharaja ForestSinharaja Forest Reserve of Sri Lanka is one of the virgin tropical rainforest of the world. It is a paradise for wildlife species as well as nature lovers as it is a living heritage. The Sinharaja region has long featured in the legends and lore of the people of Sri Lanka. Its name, literally mean to lion (sinha) king (raja), perhaps refers to the original 'king-sized or royal forest of the Sinhalese', a people of the legendary 'lion-race' of Sri Lanka, or to the home of a legendary lion of Sri Lanka. Bio diversity of the forest is very high and a large proportion of the flora (60%) in this forest is endemic and rare to the country and some endemic to the Singharaja Forest itself. There is much endemic wildlife, especially birds, but the reserve is also home to over 50% of Sri Lanka's endemic species of mammals and butterflies, as well as many kinds of insects, reptiles and rare amphibians.

Geographical Location : Sinharaja Rainforest of Sri Lanka is located in the south-west lowland wet zone within Sabaragamuwa and Southern provinces. From the north it is bounded by the Napola Dola and Koskulana Ganga, on the south and south-west by the Maha Dola and Gin Ganga, on the west by the Kalukandawa Ela and Kudawa Ganga and on the east by an ancient footpath near Beverley Tea Estate and by the Denuwa Kanda.

Area : This forest stretches to an area of about 18,899 hectares from east to west .The length of the forest is about 21km and width from North to South is about 3.7km.

Date and History Of Establishment:

Most of the area was originally declared as a forest reserve on 3rd May 1875 under the Waste Lands Ordinance and notified in the Ceylon Government Gazette No. 4046, dated 8 May 1875, while the rest was notified a proposed forest reserve in the early 20th century. Sinharaja Forest Reserve, comprising the existing and proposed forest reserves, was declared a Man and biosphere (MAB) reserve in April 1978 and included in the list of Natural World Heritage Sites in 1989.

Flora of Sinharaja Forest:

Trees and plants found in Sinharaja forest are high species endemism. Over 60% of countries endemic plant species can be found within the boundaries of Sinharaja. The forest is multi layered which is a characteristic to the rainforest and Mesua – Shorea community and Dipteracarpus community, dominates the vegetation.

Large varieties of wild orchids, epiphytes and lianas can also be seen in this forest. . Insect eating Pitcher plant is frequently seen here.The largest known tree of the country is found in the Sinharaja, which is an endemic tree.

Fauna of Sinharaja Forest:

Out of 12 endemic mammal species of the country 8 are found here. Sinharaja Forest is inhabited by water monitors, torque macaques, leopards, giant squirrels, dusky-stripped jungle squirrel, and purple-faced leaf monkeys.

Almost 95% of the countries endemic birds (about 19 species) are found here. Bird life includes Ceylon Spurfowl, Ceylon Junglefowl, Ceylon Wood Pigeon, Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot, Layard's Parakeet, Red-faced Malkoha, Green-billed Coucal, Chestnut-backed Owlet, Ceylon Grey Hornbill, Yellow-fronted Barbet, Ceylon Small Barbet, Black-capped Bulbul, Spotted-winged Thrush, Brown-capped Babbler, Orange-billed Babbler, Ashy-headed Laughing-Thrush, Ceylon Blue Magpie, Ceylon White-headed Starling, Ceylon Hill Munia, Ceylon Hill Myna, Malabar Trogon, Black Bulbul, Indian Scimitar Babbler, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Green Imperial Pigeon, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch and Yellow-browned Bulbul.

Diversity among the reptiles and Amphibians are remarkably high. The endemic green pit viper, endemic hump nosed lizard (Lyriocephalus scutatus) and horned lizard (Ceratophora aspera) are common here. Small tributaries and rivers of the forest support the fish such as striped rasbora, walking catfish and endemic comb tail. This magnificent rainforest is also a home for large number of butterflies. Even the small streams found within the forest are home to fish, toads and crabs.

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Archaeological Wonders
Pinnawala Elephant Orphange
Sinharaja Forest
Temple of Tooth


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