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Knuckles Mountain Range, Sri Lanka

Knuckles Mountain Range index

Image of  Knuckles Mountain with it's five peaks, covered slightly in mist at early morning. Mountain height is 6112 feet

Topography History, Flora and Fauna of Knuckles Moutain Range, Sri Lanka

Knuckles Mountain Range or the Knuckles Massif is part of the Hill Country of Sri Lanka which is also above 3000 Ft or 915 Mts. from sea level and covers an area of about 90 Sq.Miles or 234 Sq.Km of land extent. This is also called as Knuckles Range or Knuckles Peaks or simply as Knuckles. The reason to call it Knuckles is because,there is a mountain with five peaks in itself, that looks like the knuckles of a clenched fist when seen from Kandy area ( or the SW direction of that mountain named as Knuckles with a height of 6112 Feet ). The Sri Lankan name for this mountainous area is " Dumbara Mitiyawatha " which means " The Misty Vally ". Since this inner mountainous area is off the motoring roads, it remains as an unspoilt nature reserve even today. Knuckles Mountain Range is considered as the most spectacular mountain scenic landscape of Sri Lanka's highland. The best view points of Knuckles mountain range are from Corbet's Gap and from Laggala Patana where there is a mini Worlds End.

Corbet's Gap View ,Laggala Patana View

Knuckles Conservation Forest is bodered inside Knuckles mountain range and covers an area of 180 sq.km located at 7° 5' N latitude and 81°E longitude.The Knuckles Forest contains Tropical Montane Humid Evergreen Forests found at summits, ridges and upper slopes of Knuckles mountains. Tropical Lowland Semi Evergreen Forests are to be found at lower elevations of the Knuckles area, below 700m alititudes. Tropical Sub Montane Humid Semi Evergreen Forests are found at Corbet's Gap, Reverstone and Kelabokka at latitudes between 600m to 1300m. Of the total recorded Flora species of around thousand flowering plants, 255 are tree species. There are around 150 plant species endemic to Sri Lanka. Specie Brachysteima lankana is found only at the Knuckles range. Fauna found at Knuckles range can be categorized commanly as 128 Species of Birds, 31 Species of Mammals, 15 Species of Fish, 33 Species of Reptiles, 20 species of Amphibians,60 Species of Butterfly and 17 Species of Molluscs.

Flora species of Pihibiya (Filiciumdecipiens), Badyulla (Semecarpus nigro-viridis), Mora (Euphoria logana) , Milla (Vitex altissima), Etamba (Mangifera zeylanica), Keena (Calophyllum trapezifolium), Bala (Nothopegia beddomei), Katu keena (Zanthoxylum rhetsa), Korakaha (Memecylon spp.), Bol pana (Glycosmis pentaphylla), (Pyrrosia adnascens, Beduru (Drynaria quercifilix), Golumora (Cryptocarya wightiana, Malboda (Myristica dactyloides), Weralu (Elaeocarpus glandulifer), Talan (Litsea gardneri), Pelen (Bhesa montana), Kataboda (Cullenia ceylanica) ,(Brachystelma lankana), Maranda (Syzygium spathulatum), Katu kurundu (Scolopia schreberi), Nelu (Strobilanthes spp.), Bamboo (Arundinaria walkeriana), Kudalu (Impatiens spp.), Weraniya (Hedyotis spp.), and (Gaertnera spp.) are found in Knuckles Range forests.

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The Index

Riverston, Hulu Ganga, Pitawala Pathana ,Illukkumbura Route, Deanston Mini World's End ,Deanston Route and Riverston Monsoon, Corbets Gap, Sphins Rock are active

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Knuckles Mountain Range trekking trails

Major tour routes to the Knuckles Nature Reserve are detailed here and large number of prime scenic images which will only do justice to this wonderful Sri Lankan World Heritage Site accompanies this Web Page.

There are Fifteen Tour Trails being earmarked for trekking by the Sri Lanka Forest Department Information guide.

Kandy Division area of Knuckles Range has six trekking trails.

They are Deanston-Mini Worlds End trail-(02 km), Deanston-Dothulugala trail-(04 km), Deanston-Hapugaskumbura trail-(05 km), Kumbukgolla-Nitre Cave-(04 km), Thangappuwa-Allugallena trail-(08 km) , Bambaraella-Knuckles Peak trail-(14 km)

Matale Division area of Knuckles Range has nine trekking trails.

They are Pitawala Pathana-Mini Worlds end trail-(0.76 km), Illukumbura- Kosgaswela trail-(03 km), Kahagala-Pottewela-Sera ella trail- (04 km), Illukkumbura-Rambukoluwa trail- (05 km), Illukkumbura-Manigala-Etanwala trail-(05 km), Rambukoluwa-Korahangala trail-07 km), Narangamuwa-Lakegala trail 908 km), Rambukoluwa-Doowili Ella trail- (08 km) and Etanwala-Walpolamulla- Doowili Ella trail- (10 km)

Sphinx Rock and the Hilux Sphinx Rock scenery

 

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ROUTE - 1 to Knuckles Range

Motoring from Kandy via Rattota towards Illukkumbura

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There are nine peaks over 1220 Mts. or 4000 Ft. in Knuckles Mountain Range. The highest peak, "Gombaniya" is 1906 Mts. or 6248 Ft. high. The main water streams starting from Knuckles range are Mimure Oya, Kalu Ganga and Kote Ganga. Rainfall annually varies from about 2540mm [100 inches] on Eastern side to 5080mm [ 200 inches] for mid mountain range. Maximum rainfall is during October-January and minimum rainfall from February to September.There is dry weather and sunshine from February to April.

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Riverston

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One can experience clouds covering up the area and then passing off at Riverston area making the atmosphere cold.

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From Riverston to Mini World's End at Pitawala Pathana

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There are Montane grasslands and pygmy forest in the Knuckles range. Passing Riverston and with the gradual climb down along the motor way, one can see sevaral peaks of Knuckles Mountain range such as Gombaniya, Yakungala, Kirigalpotta, Dorakulugala and Kobonilagala.

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Mini World's End - Pitawala Pathana

 

This is the famous 'Pitawala Patana' or the 'Pitawala Grassland' of an area of 20 Hectares. Due to gale force winds , the trees growing in the pictured area are not growing big. Notice the rocky flat terrain only holds small plants and few survive the hot weather without getting dried. The rainy weather brings them back to life.The time of the year is August when these photos were taken. .

This is the famous 'Pitawala Pathana' or the 'Pitawala Grassland' of an area of 20 Hectares. Due to gale force winds , the trees growing in the pictured area are not growing big. Notice the rocky flat terrain only holds small plants and few survive the hot weather without getting dried. The rainy weather brings them back to life.The time of the year is August when these photos were taken. ....................

 

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Water Stream flowing from Knuckles Range

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Teligam Oya, Maha Oya and Heen Ganga are the main water streams originating from the Knuckles Range.The above selection of Photos shows the Teligam Oya during the dry season.

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Riverston during Monsoon Seasons

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Since the Knuckles Mountain Range is situated almost perpendicular to North East and South West directions, the mountain range gets rain from both Monsoons. From May to October, there is Southwest monsoon and from December to March, the Northeast monsoon brings rain. During this time, hundreds of water streams with abundance of crystal clear water makes the whole region come alive with all types of ferns and mosses. The above pictures amply shows the Riverston route with the fascinating humid nature during those rainy seasons.

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ROUTE - 2 to Knuckles Range

Motoring from Kandy via Wattegama, through Panwila to Madulkele to come across Hulu Ganga Falls.

 

The Knuckles Mountain Range can be accessed from several routes and the route nearest to Kandy is through Wattegama along Bambarella Road passing Panwila. From Kandy, the route is as follows. From Kandy Town to Katugastota then to Madawala. Just passing Madawala, and about 1.5 km before Wattegama, comes the V junction where the road diverts towards Wattegama and Bambarella. Proceeding along Bambarella Road will take the traveller towards the famous 'Knuckles Peaks'. Hulu Ganga Falls comes across about the half way distance from Wattegama - Bambarella road.

 

Katugastota to Panwila, passing near Wattegama

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Katugastota area, Wattegama area and Panwila area.

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Distant mountains seen along the way

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The landscape sceneries that greets the visitor on the way to Hulu Ganga Falls along Bambarella road.

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Knuckles Mountain Peaks covered with clouds

Knuckles Mountain covered by a cloud layer. The Kandasami Maley rock is seen, which is situated next to the Knuckles Peaks.

 

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ROUTE - 3 to Knuckles Range

Motoring from Kandy via Teldeniya, turning inwards from Hunnasgiriya towards Deanston and Corbets Gap direction

Knuckles Mountain Range covers an area of roughly 234 sq. km. Entering the Knuckles Range from the Hunnasgiriya town is the most sought after trail since some fantastic picturesque landscapes could be encountered from this route which runs upto Meemure village.

Starting from Kandy Town, travelling along A26 Main Road to Padiyatalawa, one has to pass Kundasale, Digana,Teldeniya, Medamahanuwara and at Hunnasgiriya town, turning to left and proceeding along the road running through Deanston to Meemure.

On this route the traveller comes across the Deanston Conservation Centre of the Forest Department, where the trail to Mini World's End starts.

 

Passing Teldeniya Town towards Hunnasgiriya

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Trail to Mini World's End from the Deanston Conservation Centre

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