Hanthana Mountain Range – protected nature reserve in Kandy By Arundathie Abeysinghe

Hanthana Mountain Range – protected nature reserve in Kandy

By Arundathie Abeysinghe


Ms. Arundathie AbeysingheSituated 1240 meters above sea level, Hanthana Mountain Range is situated in central Sri Lanka, south-west of the city of Kandy.  The Mountain Range stretches from Kandy City to the town of Galaha situated about 20 kilometers to the south of the City. There are seven peaks in the mountain range. *University of Peradeniya is situated at the foothills of Hanthana Mountain Range, on a 1,080 acre stretch of land.

Hanthana Mountain Range is a favorite destination among mountain hikers and nature lovers in Sri Lanka, especially among undergraduates of the University of Peradeniya as well as undergraduates of other national universities in Sri Lanka who choose the location for their annual trip.

The foot of the mountain range can be reached from Peradeniya-Galaha Road or Kandy-Udawela Road, the most popular being the Peradeniya-Galaha Road. Hanthana Mountain Range has been declared a protected nature reserve according to Article No. 47 of the 1980 National Environmental Act. It was a protected area during the Kandyan Kingdom also. 

The peaks of the Hanthana Mountain Range  offer breathtaking views of Kandy City, Knuckles Mountain Range, Dolosbage Mountain Range of Aranayake as well as the hills of *Sabaragamuwa region. From the summit of the Hantana Mountain Range many other hills such as Hunnasgiriya, Knuckles Mountain Range, Peacock Hills, Kabaragala Mountain, Alagalla Mountain, Bible Rock as well as Piduruthalagala Mountain Range can be seen. Mahaweli River and Kadugannawa are the other sites that can be seen from the Mountain Range

A historic and religious place in Hanthana Mountain Range is Hanthana Viharaya (Buddhist Temple) which dates back to the Kandyan Kingdom. This temple is situated on the highest elevation in Kandy.

Hanthana Mountain Range - protected nature reserve in Kandy By Arundathie Abeysinghe

There are seven peaks in the Mountain Range and the highest peak is Ura Kanda (Kanda meaning mountain in Sinhala) situated approximately 1158 meters above sea level. 

There are many trails in the Mountain Range with breathtaking and panoramic vistas of the surrounding mountains, wilderness, towns and valleys below. 

The Ura Kanda trek offers views of Piduruthalagala, Adam’s Peak as well as Knuckles Mountain Ranges. The Sherwood Forest Trek offers marvelous vistas of Ura Ketu Gala which was used as the setting of Steven Spielberg’s classic blockbuster “Indian Jones and the Temple of Doom” (1984). The Lizard’s Back trail offers breathtaking views of the Knuckles Mountain Range, Peradeniya town and University of Peradeniya. The Tower Peak trails offer spectacular views of Kandy City and Gannoruwa Agro Technology Park. Before reaching the Hanthana Mountain Range, the hikers can go through the Upper Lance and trek through tea estates and hikers can also observe tea estate workers engaged in their daily activities. 

Hanthana Mountain Range is home to endemic as well as indigenous wildlife such as fishing cats (Prionailurus viverrinus), hares (Lepus), golden palm civets (Paradoxurus zeylonensis), wild boars (Sus scrofa), monkeys (Trachypithecus vetulus), Sri Lankan Leopards (Panthera pardus kotiya) as well as Sri Lankan jackals (Canis aureus naria). Hence, the Mountain Range has been declared a protected nature reserve by the Government of Sri Lanka. The Hanthana Mountain Range is home to over 120 species of birds with some species endemic to the Mountain Range.

The Mountain Range has been a favorite place of local songwriters and poets and there are many songs and poems written about the Mountain Range.

The trails in the Hanthana Mountain Range can be trekked by expert as well as novice hikers.

It is advisable to commence the trek to the Mountain Range before 9.00 a.m. and end it around 3.00 p.m. as the Mountain Range is engulfed by mist and trekking and returning to the starting point of the trail becomes difficult. 

  • Sabaragamuwa Province – One of the nine provinces of Sri Lanka located in the south-central region of Sri Lanka. 
  • University of Peradeniya – A leading state university in Sri Lanka consisting of eight faculties, University of Peradeniya is the largest university in Sri Lanka. Originally established as University of Ceylon in 1942, University of Peradeniya is the most beautiful university in Sri Lanka and one of the most beautiful universities in the world. The architecture of the University is a blend of Kandyan architecture as well as modernity. Sir Ivor Jennings served as the first Vice Chancellor of University of Peradeniya. A concept of Sir Ivor Jennings, the architect of the University of Peradeniya, the University is situated in Peradeniya in a spectacular environment at the foothills of Hanthana Mountain Range.

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