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Nature In Sri Lanka

Tanks and Waterways

Suddenly, a Brahminy Kite dives and emerges with a fish clamped firmly in its talons, water dripping like a stream of diamonds as it soars upward. Thousands of other birds  herons, cormorants and egrets  await their turn, floating or stalking the waters of this ancient man-made reservoir known as the Sea of Parakrama.

As long as 2,300 years ago, Sri Lanka began developing a highly sophisticated system of hydraulic engineering, equal to that of ancient Egypt and Persia. The only other Asian civilisation to achieve feats of irrigation anywhere near comparable was Angkor, in Cambodia but that was not until more than a thousand years later. 

Today, more than 25,000 reservoirs are dotted about the country, from small reservoirs not much bigger than a pond to huge lakes resembling inland seas. 

Sri Lanka’s thousands of reservoirs  or tanks, as they are locally known are a source of life not only for birds, fish and wildlife, but for the farmers who depend on them during the dry months in the country’s arid north-central zone.

Some of the main reservoirs in Sri Lanka are, Kala wewa, Parakrama Samudraya or the Sea of Parakrama, Minneriya wewa, Kantale wewa, Yoda wewa and Tissa wewa .

Botanical Gardens

A famous botanist once declared that Sri Lanka is simply one big botanical garden, nurtured by Nature itself. Yet when the British colonials arrived in Sri Lanka in the 19th century, they were determined to establish more gardens within this garden – man-made botanical gardens cloned from the mother Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in England.

In 1821 on the site of a pleasure garden first created in about 1371 for the King of Kandy. The British established the gracious Royal Botanic Gardens of Peradeniya. Another garden was set up in the hill country, established in 1861 at Hakgala south of Nuwara Eliya. And in 1876, yet another garden was established, this time in the lowlands at Henarathgoda, the Gampaha Botanic Gardens, designated for the trial planting of the country’s first Rubber trees. Other private gardens such as the famous Lunuganga and “Brief”, designed by world-renowned architect Geoffrey Bawa and his brother landscape artist Bevis Bawa, bring to life the paradisiacal charm that is refreshingly Sri Lanka’s.

Sri Lanka’s botanical gardens are a showcase of the country’s botanical treasures and are botanical gems deserving the same admiration and wonder as the country’s famed sapphires and emeralds.

Waterfalls

Laced curtains of water cascade down steep precipices, throwing a fine mist of water to the surrounding, the incessant crash of water on the rock below is a symphony that is repeated from time immemorial. The central highlands of Sri Lanka are home to 350 waterfalls with Bambarakanda Falls plummeting a height of 263 meters (83 feet) to rank as Sri Lanka’s tallest fall.

The mist shrouded beauty and grandeur of Sri Lankan waterfalls also has interesting legends and folklore attached to it.

Apart from Bambarakanda, some of the main waterfalls are:

Dunhinda falls
One of Sri Lanka's most beautiful waterfalls, Dunhinda cascades from a height of 210 feet and gets its name from the smoky spray that it creates at the bottom of the fall. 

Diyaluma fall
This breathtaking rush of water is the 3rd highest waterfall in the island. 

Ravana fall
Deriving its name from the famous king 'Raavana' of the Indian epic " the Raamayana", Raavana falls is a magical sight, with the rush of water over numerous steps adding to its ethereal beauty. 

Bopath fall
Situated in close proximity to Colombo, the Bopath falls resembles the leaf of a sacred Bo tree, hence the name.

Tea Country

While the winds of change blow softly but surely through the legendary rolling hills of Sri Lanka’s tea estates, the beautiful scenery that captivated Sir Thomas Lipton - who fell in love with the spectacular scenery around Dambatenne – still remains. From the highest spot in the region — a point known today as Lipton’s Seat — he would gaze over one of the most dramatic regions of the country, the seemingly endless hills and tumbling waterfalls giving way almost abruptly to the southern plains, which stretch as far as the eye can see, all the way to the coast. 

Centuries later, the enchantment of the tea country, its mystique and romance lives on. Hundreds of miles of green velvet smothers the mountainside, the soft mist settles to cloak the surroundings in romance and mystery and the quaint, little cottages beckon you with the tantalizing aromas of freshly brewed Ceylon tea.

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