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Discover Wilpattu National Park .pdf


Original filename: Discover Wilpattu National Park.pdf
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Discover Wilpattu National Park, A Place of Rare Natural Beauty

Wilpattu is the largest and oldest national park in Sri Lanka. This compelling landscape is a hidden
treasure waiting to be discovered. When I visited Wilpattu National Park for the first time, I was
captivated beyond words. The lakes, the birds, the thick jungle where the leopards roam, bathing
elephants, the genteel grazing deer, the sunning crocodiles - it was an exotic sight-fest.
Wilpattu first became a nature reserve during the British colonial time and gained its national park
status in the 1930s. The park spans from the northwest coast and extends towards the north central
province, placing it 25 Km north of Puttalam and 30 Km west of the historic city of Anuradhapura.
The extent of the park is roughly 1300 sq km. The name Wilpattu signifies the defining landscape of
the park. It means the Land of Lakes, and there are nearly sixty natural lakes found here. These
sand rimmed lakes collect rain water during the rainy season and become a spectacular haven for
wildlife during the drought season.
Before Yala - the busiest national park in Sri Lanka - gained its popularity for its leopard sightings,
Wilpattu National Park was known for its high number of leopard population. The park is still ranked
among the world’s top national parks known for leopard population. Wilpattu has recorded
approximately 30 species of wildlife. You are treated to the sights of the sloth bear, Asian elephant,
water buffalo, jackals, sambar deer, spotted deer, mugger crocodile and Indian python among other
notable creatures occupying the land.The lakes form an aquatic eco-system that sustain bird life in
numbers.
The park was closed for nearly sixteen years due to the Sri Lankan civil war and re-opened to the
public in 2003. It is now open throughout the year. Make sure to visit the park between February and
October to avoid extreme high temperatures. Wilpattu is also significant as it played a role in the
start of kingship in Sri Lanka. It is known to be the place where an ancient queen named Kuweni
lived. She married the Indian prince Vijaya, who landed in Wilpattu in 543 BC, making him the first
king of the Sinhala race.
The northwest coast of Wilpattu National Park is another hidden gem. The peninsula thrives with
islands, lagoons, reefs, dolphins and whales, and if you stay at the right place, you get to enjoy best
of both worlds. I discovered two such resorts - Dolphin Beach Resort Kalpitiya and Bar Reef Resort
Kalpitiya, which were idyllic as their surroundings. Designed with a purpose to compliment the great
outdoors, their accommodation options were unique and luxurious. You can choose a luxury tent, an
exotic villa or an eco cabana. They also provide excursions for dolphin & whale watching, cultural
triangle visits, snorkeling, kite surfing, lagoon tours and much more.


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