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One of the most beautiful World Heritage Sites in the world is definitely the Horton Plains National Park in Sri Lanka. The park covers the 2 highest mountains within the area called Kirigalpotta and Totapola. The plateau-like structure along with plains on one end, thick forests and mountains on other make the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka. You will find a number of waterfalls, lakes, rocky hills and views of the ocean in this part of the country. The forest is home to a number of wild animals and birds, however, most large animals remain elusive and unapproachable.
The original name of the area was Maha Eliya Thenna which means Great Open Plain. But within the British period, the plains were renamed after Sir Robert Wilmot-Horton, British governor of Ceylon from 1831 to 1837, who travelled to the world to satisfy the Ratemahatmaya of Sabaragamuwa in 1836, in 1834 by Lt William Fisher of the 78th Regiment and Lt. Albert Watson of the 58th Regiment, who 'discovered' the plateau. Stone tools dating back to Balangoda culture have been found here. The local population who resided within the lowlands ascended the mountains to mine gems, extract ore , construct an irrigational canal and fell trees for timber. A 6-metre (20 ft) pollen core extracted from a mire revealed that within the late Quaternary the world had a semi-arid climate and a species-restricted plant community.
Since Sri Lanka features a long non-written history, there's a big and logical folk story, which also goes with the epic 'Ramayana' with some deviations. It is believed that Thotupala mountain in Horton plain to be the place where King Rawana landed his aircraft, 'Dandumonaraya'. According to the story King Rawana kidnapped Sitha, who was the wife of Rama as a revenge for cutting King Rawana's sister, Suparnika's nose. It provoked Rama in India and he led an army that consisted of monkey like humans, whose leader was Hanuman. In the story, Hanuman set fire to Horton plains and that fire lasted for a long time. The original name, Maha Eliya Thenna carries the meaning, 'The hugely lighten ground'. Even now the upper layer of soil can be seem in a blackish grey colour. There had been some soil tests done by local universities,and it revealed that upper layer contains a high amount of carbonate and Potash. For Sri Lankans, Horton Plains is very significant in their History and Culture.
Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker had advised British Government "to leave all Montane Forests above 5000 ft. undisturbed" and an administrative order to the present effect had been issued in 1873 that prevented clearing and felling of forests within the region. Horton Plains was designated as a wildlife sanctuary on 5 December 1969, and since of its biodiversity value, was elevated to a park on 18 March 1988. The Peak Wilderness Sanctuary which lies in west is contiguous with the park. The acreage covered by Horton Plains is 3,160 hectares (12.2 sq mi). Horton Plains contains the foremost extensive area of cloud forest still existing in Sri Lanka . On July 2010, the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka which includes Horton Plains park , Peak Wilderness Sanctuary and Knuckles range was inscribed on the planet Heritage List.
Timings are subject to change. You will be automatically booked into a time slot as part of the check out process. Please visit the official website to confirm the time slot before your visit.
1. Wildlife Sightseeing - The park is a home to 150 species of animals and around 750 species of plants. You can spot various types of flaura and fauna. The forest is known to be the home for Wild Boa and Purple Faced Langur amongst many others.
2. Hiking- One of the most striking feature of this place is World's End which is where the plateau of the park comes to an abrupt end and has a deep plunge of over 800 meters. On clear days, you can see Adam’s Peak from the World’s End.
3. Baker Falls- You can visit the Baker Falls. About 20 metres high, this frothy, misty collection of water makes for a good picturesque view.
4. Farr Inn- Visit the beautiful Hunting Lodge and enjoy a cup of coffee.