07 April 2010

Yala National Park


Yala is a small area in the south east coast of Sri Lanka . The name ‘Yala’ is well-known as Sri Lanka’s most famous and the second largest national park (Ruhunu National Park) is given the same name. In fact Yala is a part of the park itself.

Yala is situated about 300 km from Colombo . The park is about 1000 square kilometers and it spreads in three districts (Hambanthota, Monaragala and Ampara) belong to three provinces.

The southern part is known as Block 1 and it is the more popular section. The entry point to this section is situated at Palatupana. Nimalawa sanctuary is situated adjacent to this entry point. Western and Northern Parts, belong to Uva Province, are comprised of Yala Blocks 3, 4 and 5. Kataragama and Katagamuwa sanctuaries are situated in the west, adjacent to the park. The eastern part of Yala, belongs to Eastern Province is now known as Kumana National Park. This was recently opened to the public after many years of isolation due to security reasons.

Yala is more famous for its fauna than flora. Elephant, leopard and bear sightings are regarded as prized ones while deer, crocodiles, wild boar and wild buffalos are quite common sights. It is also a paradise for birders.

Yala is situated in the dry zone of Sri Lanka. The jungle is mostly made of dry monsoon forests, thorny forests and grasslands. Among the larger varieties, Palu trees are quite common. This area gets water from two main rivers (Kumbukkan Oya and Menik Ganga), but those also run dry during dry seasons. A few tanks in the park keep all the animals alive during dry periods. One prominent tank is Butawa Wewa, which is known as the last water resource that remains even during heavy draughts.

Yala is famous for its historical significance as well. Quite a few ancient ruins are scattered in these areas and some are yet to be discovered. There are a few prominent temples situated within this park. Sithul Pahuwa is the most famous temple which is situated on top of a rocky outcrop. There are a few more rocky outcrops in the park and some of the more prominent ones are Akasa Chethiya (Elephant Rock), Jamburagala and Pimburagala.

The Indian Ocean is the southern boundary of Yala and it has some of the most beautiful and unique beaches in Sri Lanka like, Patanangala, Kumana and Minihagalkanda.

Yala is one of the must-go-places in Sri Lanka and I shall bring more about this place soon.

This post was selected for Kottu Section of week end news paper, The Sunday Leader.

25 comments:

Sankara Subramanian C said...

Awesome...sounds like my type of place...thanks for sharing this piece of information...I will keep Yala in mind while visiting SL.

sbarrkum said...

I like the background info on Yala. Any Photos of Sithul Pauwa, etc ?

Chavie said...

Wonderful post K, and very informative too... Yala is one of the must visit places in Sri Lanka and it's good that the Kumana block is opened now after years of being closed! :)

Tammie Lee said...

this sounds like a wonderful place to explore. Amazing animals to see too! I have been dreaming about bears almost every night for a few weeks now.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Gorgeous, K.... That does sound like a place that we need to visit. WOW---your country is beautiful. Can't wait to see more from Yala.
Betsy

Ratty said...

It sounds like a wonderful place to explore. some of the big predators are scary to me though. I don't see many dangerous animals where I go, so that would be new to me.

Nicole said...

That photo is beautiful!
Dead trees (or trees without leaves) are so fascinating to me.
The park really does sound like a must go place!

Nadia said...

Sounds like my type of place too! How much is the entrance fee? Do they offer night safaris too? How about tree houses?

Me-shak said...

Super stuff K. I am really impressed with your work! Great stuff!
Cheers!

Harumi said...

That's a lot of useful info you've got there. I haven't been to Yala yet, so this will definitely come in handy. Beautiful scenery too. Thanks a lot for sharing.

Coastcard said...

The waterfalls sound amazing - and we thought we had good ones in Wales! I came here via Naquillity's nature blog.

Linnea W said...

I like that name...Yala...even sounds magical. You never run out of places to visit and write about!

Kirigalpoththa said...

Sankara,
You are welcome and I’m sure you will love this place!

Sbarrkum,
Glad you like it. Unfortunately I didn’t go to Sithul Pahuwa this time so I do not have a close photo.

Chavie,
Thanks! Yes opening of Kumana is a great thing for all nature lovers.

Tammie,
:) I think you’d better see different animal than bears for sometime :)

Betsy,
Thanks. I will post a few more on Yala soon :)

Ratty,
There are a few ferocious predators here like leopards, crocs and bears. But other than crocs it is difficult to spot the other two varieties.

Nicole,
I too love those dead trees. I posted a similar one sometime back too.

Nadia,
Thanks a lot for dropping by!
Entrance fee to this park is US$15 per person. There are additional fees (Guides, vehicle fee etc..)
I think this post gives a good overall view about the expenses that visitor has to bear
To my knowledge night safaris are allowed only in the buffer zones,
There are many places that offer accommodation close to Yala.
Some have camp sites like Governor’s Camp and Mahoora;
Some are holiday bungalows like Margosa Bungalow and Thippola Holiday Bungalow;
Some are Chalet type resorts like Yala Village;
Some are eco sanctuaries like Galapita;
Among them you can even find Tree houses as well For e.g. kekunawela and Tree Tops Jungle Lodge :)

Me-shak,
Glad you like it. Thanks a lot :)

Harumi,
You are most welcome and I think you should make it a point to visit there this year :)

Coastcard,
Sri Lanka is quite famous for waterfalls and certain areas like Rathnapura has many waterfalls.
Thanks for dropping by and yes Naquillity is a great blog I visit quite often :)

Linnea,
I think it will take more than one’s life time to visit and write about all the places here :)

Thanks a lot to all for your wonderful comments!

Nadia said...

Wow, thank you so much! I've bookmarked this page for future reference.

Kirigalpoththa said...

Thanks Nadia!
Let me know if you want more info..anytime :)

Bhavesh Chhatbar said...

Oh what a beauty! Thanks so much for your such nice posts. For that, I have tagged you on my 7 Things About Me [I've been tagged!] post

Naquillity said...

i'd love visiting such a place. it sounds like there's plenty to keep one's mind busy and cameras clicking. beautiful photo.

Kirigalpoththa said...

Bhavesh,
Thanks a lot for the comment and of course for the tag :)

Naquillity,
Many thanks for your comments!

George said...

I look forward to seeing more of Yala. Thanks for the interesting information about this park and for the wonderful picture.

Kirigalpoththa said...

George,
Thank very much!

Penny Says said...

hi..when i was home i had an uncle who used to take me to yala around three times a year..and i never got sick of it..
it was like this familiar place which grows in you..and my uncle still goes there...because of this passion for wildlife and photography..:)

Kirigalpoththa said...

Hi Penny,
I would like to know your uncle. Looks like I can learn a lot from him. :)
Thanks a lot for your comments!

Married to Singaporean said...

I love this tree, it is standing alone there, looks so lonely but beautiful.

Kirigalpoththa said...

Married to Singaporean,
Thanks a lot for dropping by and for your comments :)

Anonymous said...

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