Yala-East (Kumana) National Park
This is a separate national park from the Yala (Ruhuna) Natina Park but joined to Yala on the west side by the Block 2 SNR. The park lies on the southeast coast in the Eastern province, 7 miles/12 km south of Arugam Bay, and is accessible from the Wellawaya-Pottuvil road. Kumana villu is a well-known nesting site for various species of herons, storks and also pelicans and a host of other water birds. Earlier Kumana had a village, whose residents were shifted to the Mahaweli project area.
At the base of most rock outcrops are caves, some with rock inscriptions of the 1st and 2nd centuries BC. A nine-metre stature of the reclining Buddha, now in ruins, was discovered in a large cave at Bambaragastalawa. Bowattagala is an ancient monastic site. Kudumbigala and Lenama, peripheral to the park, were once the hunting grounds of Nittaewo, legendary pygmies who were sworn enemies of the Veddhas.
This park is at present rarely visited. It has two bungalows, one at Okande, near the park entrance, and the other by the waterhole at Thunmulla. A campsite is situated on the banks of the Kumbbukkan Oya at Kumana. A boat is available for hire at Kumana Villu.
There are two routes from Colombo. They fork off at Pelmadulla and meet again at Wellawaya, one going via Beragala and Koslanda and the other via Thimbolketiya, Udawalawe and Thanamalwila. From Wellawaya the road goes through Moneragala, Pottuvil and Panama. There is only one entrance to the park from Panama, through the Kudumbigala Sanctuary. The park office is situated at Okande, where a permit and guide should be obtained before entry. The distance from Colombo is approximately 243 miles/391 km.
April 8, 2007