Horton Plains National Park Sri Lanka

by Lalantha Wijerathne
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Horton Plains is a national park. The purpose of a national park is to provide complete
protection to the creatures and to allow visitors to study and feel the natural ecosystem. Horton
Plains is a highland rainforest. It is a blend of both high mountain wet evergreen vegetation and
wetland. Horton Plains covers 32 square kilometers of the total land area of Sri Lanka.

This national park, like many other national parks, has a variety of physical and ecological features. It
is the only national park in the wet zone of Sri Lanka. The site was declared a World Heritage
Site by UNESCO on 2 August 2010. Prior to this, on 15th January 1969, it was declared a
natural reserve and on 16th March 1988 it was declared as a National Park. This is one of
nature’s most magnificent works, spread over 3,160 hectares (6,900-7,500 feet) above sea
level, with an annual rainfall of 2,000 mm. The average temperature is in degrees Celsius.
There is a weather forecast of around 12-13 degrees and to your surprise, it can sometimes fall
in the afternoon. There are times when it goes down to 5 degrees. You will have to walk about
seven and a half kilometers from the main entrance to the Great World’s End and plastics and
polythene use is prohibited in the Horton Plains National Park area.

The Horton Plains can be reached via,
● Ambewela-Pattipola.
● Lidula-Agarapathana.
● Ohiya

These 03 routes are located in the Central Province and can be reached by vehicle to the
entrance of the Wildlife Office at the Horton Plains National Park.

 

History

 

Sir Robert William Horton of the British Government during the years 1831-1837 and the
herdsmen of Sabaragamuwa, discovered this place. After the site was identified in 1836, it was
renamed Hortan Thenna (Plains). But environmentalists say that it was mentioned earlier in the
document, Maha Eliya tenna. People are said to have lived here in the past, and incidents
related to the character of Ravana have been reported.
A large number of elephants have been recorded in the plains in the ancient past, and a citation
from his 1850 book, Major Thomas Roger of the British Government, says that there were 1400
elephants hunting there. Thomas Roger is said to have died of lightning, and some say that the
monument at the Nuwara Eliya Golf Course where his body was buried has been cursed.
According to the reports, the Eucalyptus cultivation was carried out by the colonialists in the
area from the colonial period until the 1960s. It is shown here on a board. This valley is also

important as a paddy-growing land, which was first cultivated over 6000 years ago.
Archaeological excavations have unearthed artifacts from the prehistoric Balangoda man.
Active Rain Clouds
These forests are evolved of the world’s oldest forests. The continent of Sri Lanka was tied to
the Antarctic continent millions of years ago, and as a result of the continental shelf drifting, the
land moved north of the equator and remained connected with Asia. Therefore, the climate
brought on by the cold zone of the mountain peaks today is explained by the long association
between the past and the present. Horton Plains Cloud Forests come from some of the world’s
oldest forests. Horton Plains is the perfect place to see active clouds. The warm air, which rises
from the lower levels of the mountains, condenses into the mountains and becomes cloudy, with
clouds covering the mountains during the evening.
At the end of the cycle, the condensation of water vapor and water droplets occur. These drops
help grow plants, and because of the location of these plants, these plants retain the water and
provide the river with the potential to feed the habitats.

The Great World’s End

 

It is a sheer cliff, with a drop of about 4,000 feet. It is one of the most visited parts of the Park,
and a key tourist attraction in the Nuwara Eliya District and the country at large. Balangoda
Town, which is located at the bottom of the 2850ft precipice, is also visible in the absence of
fog. As you arrive at the summit, you can see the slopes of about 870 meters and the Indian
Ocean on a clear day. Looking down immediately you can see a tea estate and Kirikati Oya, a
small stream that runs into the Walawe River.
The Mini World’s End
Going to visit the Great World’s End, the Mini World’s End is another beautiful place. If you are
for the first time in your life experiencing a vision that extends far to the southeast of Sri Lanka,
your eyes will certainly be looking at the mountain beyond, reading the accompanying placard
on it. The height of the mountain is 270 m. The Mini World’s End is three times height than this
mountain. From here it will reach the Great World’s End at a distance of 0.5 km. You may not be
able to see it at a misty moment, whether you go to the Mini World’s End or to the Great World’s
End. But it is your responsibility to wait patiently until the right moment. If you not caring about
paths and mists, you could be in danger.

 

Lake Chimney

 

The road to the Great World’s End is reminiscent of a painting on the waterfront environment
that flows between the ever-changing flora. The Chimney Lake is another beautiful sight in this
environment. Two fish species found in the lake, common carp and rainbow trout. Both are

introduced species. Horton Plains is also home to many endemic crustaceans including
Caridina singhalensis and Perbrinckia species.

 

Baker’s Falls

Baker’s Falls is located 3km from the main entrance of the Horton Plains. Baker’s Falls is 20
meters (66 ft) high and is formed by the Belihul Oya, one of the main tributaries of the Walawe
River. The waterfall is named after the British Sir Samuel Baker’s, who discovered it in 1845.
Legend has it that when he visited the area for agriculture, he found this waterfall. Many species
of fish endemic to Sri Lanka are restricted to Horton Plains, can be found in this water source.
Located in a beautiful setting, the waterfall can be viewed from many different angles and can
be photographed.

 

Biodiversity

 

Horton Plains is well-recognized for its rich biodiversity. About 5% of the species of flora found
here are endemic to Sri Lanka. The Plateau supports grasslands fringed and interspersed with
patches of dense montane cloud forest. According to research carried out in 1992, there are
about 101 species of plants. 49 of them are endemic to Sri Lanka. The majority are endemic to
Horton Plains. According to research carried out in 1992, there are about 101 species of plants.
49 of them are endemic to Sri Lanka. The majority are endemic to Horton Plains. The plant
density of Horton Plains is 2,861 plants per hectare. During the April-July period of the year, the
flowers are pollinated by birds with a dark flower. Maharathmala, the symbolic flower of the
Central Province can be found here. 98 species of birds, 14 mammals, 16-20 species of
amphibians and 40 species of butterflies have been identified in the Horton Plains Plateau.
Wild Boar, the endemic Bear Monkey and Toque Monkey, Slender Loris, Sri Lankan leopard,
Fishing cat, Otter, Barking deer, Stripe-necked Mongoose, Long-tailed Giant Squirrel are some
of the other mammals found here. Until a century ago, Horton Plains was rich with Elephants.
This is a land where Sambar Deers are easily seen. In the evening you can see large number of
Sambar Deers walking in the meadows.

 

A Guide for Travelers

 

There is no restaurant or any place where you can get some food. Therefore, it is the
responsibility of the visitor to carry such food and medicine. It is also important to carry hats and
warm clothes in the face of the ever-changing climate.
There are no telephone signals for mobile phones to operate, so if someone loses out of the
group, the location of the encounter must be determined first. It is forbidden to enter to the
Horton Plains after 4.00 pm. Time management is also important to get out by this time.

It is the responsibility of the team members to minimize unnecessary noise in the forest and the
limit the talks. We mention that it is the responsibility of real people who love the environment to
be kind enough to not even put a piece of garbage in the woods.

 

Park Fees

 

  • Foreign adult – 15.00 U.S. Dollars
  • Foreign child (6-12 yrs) – 8.00 U.S. Dollars
  • Local adult or locally resident adult – Rs.60.00
  • Local child or locally resident child(6-12 yrs) – Rs.30.00

Take a Tour!

It is a unique national park with rich biodiversity and archaeological value. One who seeks the
Horton Plains will find a beautiful valley with a unique solitude not found in any other ecosystem
of Sri Lanka.

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