Traveling Wonderful Kanneliya Rain Forest Reserve in Sri Lanka
You will be surprised if you say that for 20 years, big trees, which were more than five feet in diameter, were cut down in the forest and the wooden stems were transported to Colombo. What a big forest it must be to cut down trees over five feet in diameter for twenty years, isn’t it? It is really difficult to do the crime that was done to this great forest for twenty years in a time like today. Because today the media, as well as the social media, are strong and so it is difficult to continue such work with the environmental organizations.
Where did this kind of massive forest destruction take place? Kanneliya, which is second only to the Sinharaja rainforest and not anywhere else, has to face this kind of massive forest destruction. During the period from 1969 to 1989, large trees with a circumference of more than five feet were cut in the Kanneliya forest complex and sent to the factory located in Wood thin sheet Corporation in Gingthota and Avissawella. So today we are ready to visit Kanneliya.
We left Colombo early in the morning and arrived at Pinnaduwa via the highway, and from there we took the B429 route to Kanneliya via Udugama. It was already past 9.00 am. In any case, if you contact someone who knows about traveling, it will be good. That’s why we talked beforehand to Mr. Gunadasa Pathirana, who is in charge of Kanneliya. When we reached Kanneliya, Mr. Pathirana was waiting for us. Warmly welcomed to Kanneliya, we first went to a suitable place to have our breakfast.
We had our breakfast at Kanneliye and started our journey with our guide Mr. Gunadasa Pathirana. Mr. Pathirana started his journey and took us to Badura vine. Mr. Pathirana said that Badura is an insectivorous plant and after insects fall into the pit at the end of the Badura leaf, those animals die due to the poison in the pit. It is said that this Badura plant obtains the necessary nitrogen from animals that die.
From the entrance, we will meet a gate about 200 meters ahead. An officer there inspected all our bags. In fact, It is completely forbidden to bring alcohol into the Kanneliya forest complex, that’s why this gate is subjected to such a search. We must have gone another seven or eight hundred meters along the asphalt road built under the footpath. Mr. Pathirana stopped at a small stream near the road. Mr. Pathirana gave us a little challenge. If possible Mr. Anura challenged us to show me some special animals around here. Even though we looked around, we could not find any animal. Finally, we had to show the animal to Mr. Pathirana himself. There is a tree branch hanging on a branch of a small plant near the stream. You can see an animal like this in a forest like this if you look hard. Otherwise, you won’t get to see a Green Pit Viper.
It is said that many people who go to the forest run away and are beaten to the head. It is an animal that stays in one place for weeks, but it stays near a stream for a long time. During the day, he is less active and at night he goes looking for food because he likes to be near the water bodies and can catch frogs. According to Mr. Pathirana, he is a slightly poisonous animal. Also, it is said that this is the only viper species that live in trees in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka is a small country and in that small country, Kanneliya is the only place with the highest biodiversity in a small plot of land. Kanneliya, which was made into a reserve forest in 1934, later became a reserve forest in 1990. Under the Man and Biodiversity Program, UNESCO has made Kanneliya an International Biosphere Reserve in 2004.
So that shows the importance of Kanneliya, right? There are more than 300 types of plants, 52% of which are native to Sri Lanka. Kanneliya is a forest complex. Why is it called that? It is because these three forests of Nakiadeniya, Dediyagala, and Kanneliya are located together that it is called a forest complex. But tourists are provided with facilities to travel in the forest only in the Kanneliya section which is spread over 5306 hectares. Kanneliya forest complex is spread over 10139 hectares and this forest belongs to both Galle and Matara districts. It is said that there are more than 100 streams that start from Kanneliya and they feed both Ging Ganga river and Nilwala rivers Kanneliya is the water-fed forest that provides more water to these two rivers.
After the Green Pit Viper, we met on the way, we also got used to walking carefully around a little bit. As we were going, we came across a green snail walking along rotten wood by the side of the road. We call it the green snail, but its scientific name is Bedomiya albizunata. All the species of animals and plants in the world are named with a scientific name and in Latin it is species. By this time, we have reached more than two kilometers into the forest.
We stopped along the way for a little rest. We could feel a clear change in the environment. I breathed well until my lungs filled up a little more because I will never get some pure oxygen again in the city. When you come to a forest like this and breathe in some pure oxygen, right? From story to story, we have come closer to the Anagimala Falls that we meet at Kanneliye and it is about 2.5 km from the main entrance here.
We are now ready to go down about 300 meters from the main road, the sound of the waterfall can be heard now. When going down from the main road, we could see how the forest has been cut everywhere along the mountains for dozers to go. Today, those roads have invaded and emerged from the wild. In fact, you can see the remains of the forest destruction done to Kanneliya for 20 years. The primary forest that existed then is not seen today, today we see the secondary forests of Kanneliya. If something like this had not happened to Kanneliya then, today Kanneliya would not have welcomed us more beautifully than this. Story after story, we reached Anagimala Falls. These days, the water in the falls is a little low, but there is no shortage of beauty. When we arrived at the waterfall, there were thirty or forty other people. Anagimala Falls, formed by Nannikita Dole, is a waterfall that cascades down to several levels. The beauty of the falls can be seen very well if you come to Kanneliya in May.
When I researched a little about how the name of the waterfall came to be, I found out that a girl named Anagi, who lived in this area, got pregnant due to unrequited love and was unable to face her parents and villagers, and killed herself by jumping from this waterfall. Because of that, later this fall was known as Anagi Mala Fall among the villagers. Anagimala Falls, which is 46 meters high, ranks 55th among Sri Lankan waterfalls.
We left to come back to Anagi Mala Falls because they wanted to give our child a chance to take a bath. We came back straight to the Kanneliya entrance. It was a matter of happiness for the children that the Nannikita stream flowing near the entrance had been properly prepared for bathing by crossing the rocks. The bottom of this bathtub, which is three feet deep, is as clear as you can see, which means that the water is as clean as it is.
Ours too was involved in water play and it was with great difficulty that the group was brought ashore. Actually, Kanneliya is a place that cannot be completed by walking in one day. If you go for a hike like that, it will take you a whole day to reach Kabibale mountain. When you go to the top of the mountain, you will have a 360-degree view. It is said that you can see the mountain ranges of Sinharaja as well as the Rumassala side of Galle. Mr. Pathirana told us that there are several other waterfalls inside Kanneliya as well as the giant Navada tree.
In the early days, there were 13 elephants in Kannelliya, but by the 1970s, there were only six elephants. Somehow, the last elephant died in 1997. It went to anesthetize the elephant to heal its wound. Somehow, the anesthetized elephant has fallen into a mud pit and the elephant has finally died.
So Kanneliya is a tourist paradise and you can go to Kanneliya one day and experience this tourist experience. Also, special thanks must be given to the official of the Kanneliye site who helped to facilitate our trip as well as my friend Mr. Gunadasa Pathirana.