It is a UNESCO World Heritage, stands at an altitude of 2100 m above sea level and spreads across an area of 3169 hectares in the central province of Sri Lanka in the district of Nuwareliya. It is home to a rich ecosystem of montane evergreen forests, grasslands, marshy lands and aquatic ecosystem. It also consists of the second and third highest peaks of the country namely Kirigalpotta of 2389 meters in height and Totapola 2357 meters in height and is considered one of the best places to enjoy hiking in Sri Lanka.
In the Horton plains national park many endangered species of both flora and fauna can be observed. It is said that more than 50 percent of all species found here are endemic to this area. Sambar deer is one of the commonest animals to be seen. Others include, Jungle fowl, rhino-horned lizards, wild boars, leopards, elk, western purple-faced langur and slender loris. The high altitude is also ideal for bird watching especially as there is wide variety of birds to be observed such as Ceylon hill munia, dull-blue fly catcher, Indian blue robin, grey headed canary fly catcher and hawk eagles. The montane forests consists of canopy trees, many endemic flowers, tufty grass called Crosypogen and shrubs called Nillu which flowers once every five to ten years. The rain water from these plains drain to tributaries of Mahaveli, Walawe and Kelani rivers which are the main rivers of the country. Bakers Waterfall is a breath taking site to behold.
There are two main ways to enter the area, one is through Pattipola entrance via Nuwareliya and Ambewela and the other through Ohiya entrance via Welimada or Bandarawela. Out of all, the Horton plains Sri Lanka national park is the only one where visitors can walk on their own in the designated tracks. At the entrance to the park there is an information Centre for tourists where you can choose which trail you would like to take. There is the main circuit nature trail which covers small world’s end, big world’s end, baker’s fall and chimney falls. Other trails include to either Totapola Mountain or Kirigalapotta. The average temperature is around 15 degree Celsius but can drop to 5 degree Celsius in the evening and become windy. There are two lodges and three camping sites within the area, if you wish to spend a night they have to be reserved early by contacting the main office in Colombo. There are certain items that are prohibited to be taken in the trails such as lighters, cigarettes, liquor and polythene covers taken as a measure to protect the heritage.
The view from the platform is unlike anything you have ever seen before in your life. At the end of the platform there is the World’s end which is a straight vertical drop of 4000m. If there is no mist, on a clear day you may even be able to see the spectacular view of the Indian Ocean. The breath is fresh and cool, with crystal clear water in their streams, with peaceful and silent surrounding ideal for admiration of the beauty of nature.
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