Horton plains is a national park with a very high biological diversity in sri lanka. This
ecological jewel is located in the Southern portion of the Central Province in between the
Sabaragamuwa and Central province. It is situated at an altitude of 2100 meters as a
result; Horton plains have a strange atmosphere and scenic beauty that cannot be found
elsewhere in Sri Lanka. Horton plains is the home for many endemic fauna and flora
species of the country's wet and montane forests. Horton plains considered to be a cradle
of endemic Bio-diversity and the watershed for some of the country's most important
waterways. Horton plains is providing the beginnings of three major rivers in Sri Lanka -
Mahaweli, Walawe and Bogawanthalawa Oya. National park encompasses both the
second and third highest mountains in Sri Lanka - Kirigalpotta at 2393 meters and
Totupolakanda at 2359 meters.
This is one of the few remaining montane forests in Sri Lanka; Most of the primeval
forests in the mountains were removed during the British rule in order to make room for
the Tea, coffee and other agriculture products. Horton plains is 3160 hectares in extent
with enchanting mixture of Patana (grassland) and sub-montane wet evergreen forest is
part of a larger expanse which connects in the west with the Peak Wilderness Sanctuary.
Horton plains had been a famous hunting area for long time, it resulted the extinction of
hill country elephants. Horton plains declared as a Nature reserve in 1969 and later owing
to its unsurpassed importance as a unique ecological zone Horton plains was declared as
a national park in 1988.
Undoubtedly the most famous feature of this hill country wonderland is the theatrically
named World's end. A sheer escarpment that drops a mind bending 884 meters. It
provides a dramatic vista over the southern plains - when not shrouded in mist. The view
point can be reached after a walk around 3 km from the entrance. Crystal clear streams
meander through the grasslands alive with darting small fish and scuttling freshwater
crabs, while in the crisp mountains air a wide variety of birds, many endemic, flitter and
glide. These include the Sri Lanka white eye (Zosterope ceylonsis), the yellow-eared
bulbul (Pycnonotus penicilatus) and the Sri Lanka whistling thrush (Myiophonus blight).
In the lush, richly textured forest the elevation-induced combination of cold nights, strong
winds, mist and frost forces even emergent trees to bend and huddle, resulting in dwarf
woodland characterized by twisted limbs protruding from gnarled trunks. Even the leaves
take on an unusual character growing small and freshly in order to reduce heat loss and
thereby counteract the unforgiving elements. Early in the morning one can hear the calls
of purple-faced langurus announcing the beginning of another day's foraging. The sub-
species particular to these ratified heights is known locally as the bear monkey because of
its unusual dense coat evolved in order to ward off the persistent night chill. Jet black
giant squirrels (Ratufa macroours), also inhabits this realm as do barking deer (Muntiacus
munt-jak), fishing cats (Felis viverrinus) and wild boar (Sus scrofa).
The Sri Lankan leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya) also calls this park home. On occasion,
one of these predators can be met with after dark, on the roadside as it stalks cautiously
towards the feeding Sambhur.
Unlike anywhere in the country, Horton plains is of tremendous significance for its
extraordinary natural splendors, its ecological importance and its aura of other
worldliness that makes it once visited much more than just another quaint name on a