Udawatta Kele Sanctuary
The lush forest cover behind Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy has a long history dating back to many centuries. It was declared Tahansikele or forbidden forest by the Sinhala kings who ascended the throne when Kandy became the capital city.However, King Wickremabahu of Gampola is popularly believed to be the founder of the city of Senkadagala who built his palace on a site carved out of Udawattekele. It is for this reason that the name Udawasalawatta was called Udawattekele, to this day.The pond in the heart of the jungle was the place where queens in the past bathed and used as their pleasure garden. At times of war, kings always used the forest for their defence against at According to this historical record, the first settlement was founded during the rule of Gajabahu of Anuradhapura (114 -136 AC). There is a reference to the Maha Thera Palabathgala Wanaratana of the lineage of Dimbulagala Dipankara Thero who brought four other bhikshus to Senkadagala during the rule of Panditha Parakramabahu of Kurunegala.
Fauna – In this verdant jungle where among trees, creepers, lichen, mosses, ferns, grasses, fungi, and bacteria are found in abundance. The dual canopy found in this forest prevents the undergrowth In certain areas where less light reaches the ground. The species of trees to be found here include Ankendhe , Madhetiya , Tel Kakuna, Karawale Kaballe , Jak , Valdel , Unna , Mavaywal, Wana Sapu , & Milla are a few to name.
Flora – The forest remained impenetrable for over many centuries where wild boar, monkey, hare, squirrel scaly anteater, porcupine, and reptiles, monitor lizard, tortoise and varieties of birds, worms and insects live in perfect harmony with nature. In the past elephants, elk, and leopard roamed freely among tall giant trees and hanging creepers. The leaves that fell from trees and creepers on the ground keep the surface moist after intermittent showers. But today it is a natural Birds and butterflies have an important place within the forest. The most often seen birds within the sanctuary include the Sri Lanka Yellow-fronted Barbet (Megalaima flavifrons), Sri Lanka Layard’s Parakeet (Psittacula caltropae), Sri Lanka Hanging Bird (Loriculus beryllinus) and Sri Lanka spot-winged thrush (Zoothera spiloptera), among a number of others.