Wasgamuwa National Park
The Wasgamuwa National Park lies within the Polonnaruwa and Matale Districts.Its eastern boundary is defined by the Mahaweli Ganga, the northern and western boundaries are bordered by the Amban Ganga and the southern boundary is formed largely by the Dunuwila Oya.
Immediately northeast lies the 17,350 ha Flood Plains National Park, downstream from Wasgamuwa. To the north is the Minneriya Giritale Nature Reserve (7,529 ha). The name of the park is supposed to be derived form the name "walas gama" meaning 'bear country'. Wasgamuwa was initially a santuary but after the villagers that lived within Wasgamuwa were resettled in the Mahaweli areas, it was declared a national park.
There is historical evidence to that this area had been inhabited by man during the ancient Sinhala kingdoms in BC. Giant canal of kalinga (Kalinga Yodha Ela) built in the reign by king Parakramabahu in the 12th century while the remains of Malagamuwa, Wilmitiya, Wasgamuwa and Dasthota tanks bear witness to the past prosperity of the area. Kalinga island (Kalinga Duwa) too is an interesting place to visit. Kadurupitiya, Dagoda, Baduruwayaya Buddha Statue, Malagamuwa stone pillars and other ruins also bear witness to the past glory of the area.
Yudanganapitiya where the armies camped during the battle of kings Durugemunu and Elara is yet another place of historical importance within the Wasgamuwa National park.
The main attraction in the park are the Elephants. Though the Mahaweli river runs along one of the boundaries of the park, many elephants move to Minneriya National Park. during the drought season. Therefore the best place to see elephants during this season is the Minneriya NP where you can see herds uptot 200 elephants.
Twenty three (23) species of mammals in Sri Lanka have been reported from this park. The most important of them is the wild elephant the population of which is approximately 150. in addition, one could see the wild buffaloes grazing in the grassland while spotted Deer roaming in the open areas. Occasions where one comes across a Leopard or a sloth bear are nor rare. There are also water Monitors and crocodiles roaming very often in the water holes within the park. Of the 428 species of birds reported to be found in Sri Lanka, 143 species are found in this park.
This National park is open to visitors from 6.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. Reservation of Circuit Bungalows or Camp Sites for resident visitors is done by the Head office lf the department of wildlife Conservation. (Only three campsites could be reserved at the park Warden's office) . There are three bungalows within the park (Kadurupitiya, Mahaweli and Wawul Ebe) and two bungalows outside the park ( Gale Bungalow and Angammedille) . There are five campsites ( Mahaweli Ganga I and II, Medapitiya, Ulpath Hatha and Wawul Ebe) for nature lovers to study the natural environment. Accommodation is also available at guesthouses and hotels in Polonnaruwa, Giritale and Habarana and at economical rest-houses in Mahiyangana and Pallegama.
How to get there
Turn off at Hasalaka on the Kandy-Mahiyangana Road and proceed via Wilgamuwa upto Wasgamuwa. Visitors from Matale and Polonnaruwa areas can reach Wasgamuwa via Laggala and Wilgamuwa. The Wilgamuwa Japan Bridge provides the easy access to visitors coming from the Mahaweli system-C.
Distances to Major Towns
June 28, 2007