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Sunday, 25 October 2015

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Kumana National Park:

Wild Enchantment

For the photography buff with a hankering for wildlife, Kumana National Park located in the South East corner of the country, 391 kilometres off Colombo, provides the ideal location to hone the art, indulge in the passion and capture for posterity wildlife at its rawest and at its best.

This unique and breathtaking location, declared a Ramsar wetland, is home to 225 bird species and thousands of their migratory cousins.

To get to Kumana National Park, one has to take the Colombo-Batticaloa road up to Pottuwil, turn right to Panama, right again from Panama and proceed 16 km through the Kudumbigala sanctuary. This will bring you to the entrance of this bird haven, which incidentally belongs to the Ampara District.

Once part of the sprawling Yala National Park, Kumana back then was known as the Yala East Park. According to folklore, Lord Skanda after arriving in Sri Lanka travelled to Kataragama via Kumana forest. Thousands of Tamil and Sinhala devotees on pilgrimage to Kataragama every year, use the same route via Kumana reliving this historic tale.

Kumana is spread across an extent of 35,564 hectares, of which 18,149 hectares consist of land area and the rest is taken up by lagoons and a few lakes.

Visitors to the park can see some rare wildlife including the smallest bird to the bigger pachyderm up close. Every year from April to July thousands of migratory birds from across the world fly here to nest. One of the rare sightings is the 'black necked stork', only a few of which are to be found in Sri Lanka.

Among the birds that are common in the national park are the Wali Kukula, Watha Nil Mal Koha, Karawel Koka, Peacock, Kaha Karamal Kirala, Rathu Karamal Kirala, Kedetta, Sarpa Ukussa, and Ducks.

For those wishing to spend an extra few days at the National Park, the single holiday bungalow located near the Thunmulla Lake provides comfortable accommodation. It can accommodate ten people. The draw is that it provides a breathtaking view of birds near the lake.

With camera in the constant ready, you are never too far off from a click at the Kumana National Park. For, every view is a breathtaking panorama showcasing real life in the wilderness.

Text and pix by Mahinda Vithanachchi

 

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