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Horton Plains National Park



Location: Central Province  Map

Area: 3,160 hectares (12.2 sq mi)




Description of Horton Plains National Park


Horton Plains National Park is located in Central Province in Sri Lanka. The area of Horton Plains National Park covers 3,160 hectares (12.2 sq mi) of the Sri Lankan highlands. Nature reserve is situated on a plateau at an elevation of 2,100–2,300 metres (6,900–7,500 ft) with tallest mountains of Kirigalpotta (2395 m) and Totapola (2359 m). A network of hiking paths are spread throughout an area.




The Horton Plains National Park is located on the southern plateau of the Central Highlands at an altitude of over 2000 meters, which results in a cooler and windier climate than in the lowlands. The mountains Kirigalpoththa (2389 m) and Thotupola Kanda (2357 m) are located in the western and northern parts. The striking summit of Adam’s Peak (2243 m), also called Sri Padaya or Samanalakanda, lies west of the park. The rock dates from the Precambrian period and consists of charnockite and granite gneiss. The soil is often reddish yellow.

The annual rainfall is little more than 2000 millimeters. Frequent cloud formation limits the duration of sunshine, so that the plants have less light than in the rest of the country. The average temperature is 13 ° C, but it changes significantly during the day and can be 27 ° C during the day and 5 ° C or less at night. During the southwest monsoon between May and September, the wind sometimes reaches hurricane strength. There is a dry season from January to March. Ground frost is common in February. During the wet season, there is often fog during the day.

The park is considered the most important watershed on the island. Horton Plains are the origin of three major rivers, Mahaweli, Kelani and Walawe. The plateau also feeds Belihul Oya, Agra Oya, Kiriketi Oya, Uma Oya and Bogawantalawa Oya. Due to the high location, fog and clouds generate a lot of air and soil moisture. Slow flowing waters, ponds, swamps and waterfalls are important wetlands.

The area's original Sinhalese name is Maha Eliya Thenna, "large open plain". 12,000 year old stone tools that can be dated back to the Balangoda culture have been found here. During the period of British rule, the region was renamed Sir Robert Wilmot-Horton, governor of Ceylon from 1831 to 1837.

The local population rose from the plains to the mountains to mine gemstones such as rubies, sapphires, topazes and spinels, to mine iron ore, to create an irrigation canal and to cut trees for timber. Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker advised the British government to leave all mountain forests above 5,000 feet intact. An order to this effect was issued in 1873 and prevented further trees from being felled.

Horton Plains was declared a wildlife sanctuary on December 5, 1969 and converted into a national park on March 18, 1988 because of its biodiversity. It covers an area of ​​3160 hectares and contains the most extensive cloud forest area that still exists in Sri Lanka. On July 31, 2010, the Central Highlands, along with the Horton Plains National Park, Peak Wilderness Sanctuary and Knuckles Mountain Range, were added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.




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