The Royal Forest Park in Kandy, also known as the Udawattakele Forest Reserve (Udawatta Kele Sanctuary), is located behind the Dalada Maligawa or the Temple of the Tooth Relic. A 257-acre section of the forest is now regarded as a significant bio reserve for the densely crowded City of Kandy. The surrounding territories of Kandy were once covered in rain forests hundreds, if not thousands, of years ago, and it wasn’t until King Parakramabahu (reigned 1302–1326 AD) that people began to establish themselves there.
Kandy was known as “Senkadagala” before King Wickramabahu assumed the throne. The name was given because a Brahmin by the name of Senkada lived in a cave in Udawattekelle during this time. During the time of the Kings, the Udawattakele Forest Reserve went by several names, one of which was “Uda Wasala Wewa,” which is an English translation for “Upper Palace Garden.” The local populace was not permitted access to this location, which was frequently used by royals. Since the 1815 fall of the Kandyan Kingdom, when woodcutters started destroying trees and other vegetation, this forest has lost much of its allure.
With time, this lovely forest’s health started to deteriorate as a result of humanity destroying it by cutting down trees and surviving off the wood that was sold. The region was designated by the government as a Forest Reserve in 1856, and it was changed to a Sanctuary in 1938. Water from the catchments inside the Sanctuary is used to sustain the Kandy Lake, a well-known landmark in the city of Kandy.
The Senkada Cave, the highest peak “Kodimale,” the water pond, and the Garrison cemetery are among the attractions of the Udawattekelle Sanctuary. There are a number of Buddhist temples and hermitages in the forest as well. It may take 20 minutes to walk from the Temple of the Tooth Relic to the visitor entrance, which is on the western side of the sanctuary.
The forest is home to a wide variety of flora, including native lianas, vines, creepers, and orchids. The sanctuary has an understory, a canopy, and an emergent layer. Due to the sanctuary’s dark surroundings and low levels of sunshine, the latter is less common.
However, there have been a number of dangers to the sanctuary in recent years, one of which being the incursion of squatters and the appropriation of land by owners in nearby regions. Despite the fact that this threat has been reduced, it could still materialize at any time.
Udawatta Kele Sanctuary Location on the Map
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