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An Evergreen Rain Forest in the heart of a town! And that too, in one of the largest and the busiest towns in the country!! It certainly is hard to believe. But, this indeed is a reality. In the midst of the town of Kandy itself, is the Sri Dalada Maligawa or the Temple of the Tooth Relic. Bordering The Dalada Maligawa on one side is this Udawatthakele Rainforest. The contrast, of the hustle and bustle of this large town and the peace and serenity of this forest, is unbelievable.

In the ancient times the entire Kandy area has been covered with the rainforest vegetation. After the establishment of a small settlement in the 2 nd century AD, King Wickramabahu who had his Kingdom in ‘Gangasiripura' (Gampola) built his castle in the Rainforest in 1371and named it “Udawasalawatta”. The members of the Royal Family used this beautiful and serene forest to past their leisure and the pond in this forest for bathing. An important feature in this forest is the rock cave which gave cause to the Sinhala name “Senkadagala” to Kandy . In this cave, it is believed, lived a hermit named Senkada who has helped the King in a certain way and the King named this area, in his honour as Senkadagala. Kodimale peak where, the National and Religious flags were supposed to been hoisted during ancient times, the giant endemic liana called “Pus Wela” which is about 300 hundred years old and the beautiful pond around which is a footpath famous among lovers of the area are other important features in this forest.

With the passing of the time the deterioration and shrinking of this forest, due to felling of trees and encroachment, became evident. Considering the importance and the value of this forest the government declared it, a reserved forest in 1856 and subsequently in 1938, a sanctuary. Later, continuous replanting by the Forest Department has helped to regain much of the lost vegetation.

This beautiful ‘forest in the city' with an extent of 257 acres, gives so much to the city. In addition to playing a very important role in controlling the environment of this very crowded city, it captures, retains and releases rain water to the famous Kandy Lake which adds so many colours to the town. The canopy of this forest is so thick and luxurious that, hardly any direct sunlight falls onto the ground making this a dark, beautiful and a cool forest. The pond in the midst of this forest enhances this beauty by a great deal. This forest contains a large number of plants, mammals, birds and butterflies. There is a considerable number of endemic species of plants and animals in this forest.



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