Wilpattu National park is one of the most beautiful wild life attractions in Sri Lanka. The easiest way to get there is by taking the Colombo–Puttalam main road and it’s about a 4 hour comfortable drive from the capital to the park entrance. Wilpattu was named a national park due to its exquisite natural beauty, availability of natural habitats and the grand population of wild animals. But it is sad to state that this area was subjected to the war for over 2 decades. With the elimination of the terrorists from the country and the end of war, presently Wilpattu is a blooming tourist attraction. Wilpattu is well known by the nature lovers and wildlife explorers for the sighting of the “wild Leapord”, which is a very rare sight and a valuable memory to anyone who is lucky enough to spot one. The important fact is, than other national parks in Sri Lanka, there is a greater chance in spotting a Leopard at Wilpattu. This is due to the higher population and the suitable environment for a habitat of the animal. The climate at Wilpattu is often dry and very sunny, though at times of year it is subjected to heavy rainfall. Wilpattu is not only a place of interest for wild life lovers. The Wilpattu territory is boarded with many places of historical importance. Actually coming to think of it, the beginning of civilization in Sri lanka with the landing of Prince Vijaya is believed to have been taken place in Wilpattu territory.
Photo - Modaragam Aru
Anybody who visits Wilpattu for the first time will not forget visiting “Kudiramalei” which marks the territory of the National park boarded by the sea. To reach here, one has to travel around 54 Km from the park entrance passing the beautiful forest areas, crossing the old Mannar road and then entering the forest territories again. This place is also known as the “Horse Mountain” and also known as “Thambapanni” by most Sri Lankans. This place not only has a vast historical and archeological importance but also have several wonderful legends and beliefs about it.
Kudiramalei is a natural protrusion to the Gulf of mannar which has been a conspicuous landmark for all sea travelers in the past. Many objects of archeological importance has been found in the suburbs of this place. According to the legend, the history of the place dates back to 543 BC. Prince Vijaya sailing along the north western coast of Sri Lanka meeting the Yakkha princess named Kuweni at the place named Thambapanni marks the milestone of the beginning of civilization in Sri Lanka. About 4 Km away from here is the spot named “Kalivillu” where the ruins of palace of princess Kuweni are situated.
Ruins of an ancient hindu temple lies at the northern edge of the cliff. It is said that these are the ruins of a 36 feet tall statue of a horse with its front legs in midair which gave its name as kudiramalei. It is also a very significant aspect that the cliff is shaped like a horse head which makes the natural beauty of the place exquisite. Stating the natural beauty, one standing on the cliff will never be able to tear the eyes apart from the magnificent view off the beautiful sea stretching beyond. Another amazing fact is that the sand here is of a beautiful copper color which is said to change its shade of color with the angle of sunlight falling on the soil. This copper color is also one of the reasons for calling it “Thambapanni” where “thamba” is the Sinhalese word for copper.
Photo : The Horse Mountain
The natural beauty of Wilpattu cannot be spoken of words. It has areas of very rich fauna and flora. And some parts of the forest is a beautiful flat land stretched beyond centering “villus” which are natural ponds. There are four bungalows available for accommodation maintained by the forest department of Sri Lanka namely “Kokmote,Manawila,Panikkiwila and Thalawila”. Two camping sites are also available for visitors. A visit to this beautiful place will always mark a place in your heart and it will crtainly be an experience of a life time.