Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Horton Plains

The Horton Plains are located on Sri Lanka 's highest plateau, between altitudes of 2,000 and 2, 300m. The landscape typically consists of undulating lands covered in a tropical cloud of forests or verdant montane savannah grasslands, locally known as patannahs.Visiting Horton Plains or 'Mahaeliya' as it is traditionally named is quite popular amongst locals, who mostly come to admire the views from the park's thrilling escarpments such as World's End at weekends . For this reason we recommend that you try to organise your visit during a weekday as this ensures that you will experience the Plain's isolated serenity.

The Park lies approximately 32 km south of Nuwara Eliya in the highland of the central province.
Horton Plain the surrounding forest and the adjoining peak Wilderness constitute Sri Lanka’s most important catchment area , of almost all major rivers. The plains are of outstanding senic beauty and conservation importance, containing most of the habits and endemic plants and animals representative of the country’s wet and montane zones. The western slops support the most extensive area of montage cloud forest surviving I the country.
Horton plains can be reached by any of the following routes
Via Nuwara Eliya,Ambewela,Pattipola (32 km)
Haputale or Welimada,Boralanda,Ohiya (38 km)
Nuwara Eliya,Hakgala,Rendapola,Ambewela,Pattipola (38 km)

Adventurous visitors can trek into the park along the Thalawakele-Agarapatana-Diyagama and the Belihul Oya- Narak trails.

The Annual rainfall in the region is about 2540 mm, but may exceed 5000mm on the plains. Rain occurs throughout most of the year but there is a dry season from January to March. Temperature are low with an annual mean temperature 15°C and ground forest is common during December.

Cultural Heritage
Stone tools dating back to the Prehistoric Balangoda Culture have been found in the area. The Sinhalese settle in the lowlands up to and altitude of 700m, sometimes frequenting higher altitudes to mine for gems or iron ore ,graze cattle, construct irrigation canals and fell trees for timber. Several patinas existed at the time in regions above 1800m.

Visitor Facilities
The overnight park accommodation though limited caters to deferent preferences. Ginihiriya(Anderson)bungalow with four well-appointed rooms is in an existing forest setting . in additional there is another circuit bungalow called “Mahaeliya” within the park. Two separated dormitories in groups. Several camp-sites are available for natural lovers.
Horton Plains is well recognized for its reach and unique biodiversity , its flora given to a high level (5%) of endemism , yet remains largely underexplored. Thus it is not merely a destination for nature tourists, but also for those engaged in educational and research activities.


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