Top 5 things to do Around Yala
Yala is one of the most popular places in Sri Lanka for a very good reason! The Yala National Park which is the second largest and most popular national park in Sri Lanka ceaselessly attracts large numbers of tourists to its enchanting territories. It has one of the highest leopard densities in the world so tourists love the experience of exploring its territories. But Yala has a lot more than beautiful wildlife to offer to the tourists of the world. Read on and find out about the top things that you can do in Yala to enjoy a well-rounded travel experience.
01. Visit Sithulpawwa Rajamaha Viharaya
Featured photo credit: Naween Bhanuka
This beautiful temple is an ancient one, which is believed to have been built by King Kavantissa, who ruled in the island in the 2nd century B.C. It is located in very close proximity to the famous temple of Kataragama so pilgrims quite often include both temples in their tours. In order to reach the viharaya you will have to travel 18 miles along the Tissamaharama-Yodhakandiya road towards the famous Yala National Park. The temple served as a site of worship and as a centre for Buddhist education in the country for a very long time. In the Sithulpawwa temple, you will see paintings of the Anuradhapura era, image houses as well as ruins of Buddha statues. It is a great place to visit if you are interested in the culture and history of the country.
02. Kataragama Temple
The iconic Kataragama Temple which is an immensely popular pilgrimage site is yet another place that can be quite easily reached from Yala. Many devotees visit this temple throughout the year to pay homage to Kataragama deviyo, who is believed to be the guardian deity of Buddhism. There are colourful rituals taking place in the temple, which are observed with ardent devotion by the many pilgrims.
The temple is a popular one among Buddhists as well as Hindus. Even the indigenous community in Sri Lanka or the Vedda community venerate this site. The Muslims also frequent the temple as there is a mosque located onsite.
You can reach this temple with immense ease from Yala. Get in touch with a leading tour operator in the country when you want to enjoy a temple tour in Sri Lanka. The colourful charm of the history and culture of the land will truly enthral you during your tour!
Featured photo credit: Sachinda Udayasiri
03. Tissamaharama Raja Maha Viharaya
Tissamaharama Raja Maha Viharaya is yet another popular temple which pilgrims visit when travelling in and around Yala. It is a sacred site of worship which boasts of colourful history. It is believed that the site where the temple is located was visited by Lord Buddha himself. During his third visit to Sri Lanka, Lord Buddha visited this place with 500 arhats and spent some time in meditation. According to the ancient chronicle Mahavamsa, the temple enshrines the frontal bone relic of Lord Buddha. Some also believe that this relic was enshrined in the temple only temporarily.
The stupa of the Tissamaharama Raja Maha Viharaya is the largest stupa in the southern coast of Sri Lanka. The stupa has a height of 156 feet and has a bubble shape.
Featured photo credit: Prabath Malinda Adassuriya
04. Bird watching in Kumana National Park
Kumana National Park is a bird lover’s haven! It is a prominent attraction in the southern region of Sri Lanka. You surely should not miss it if you are in love with the incredible charm and beauty of the birds of this paradise island!
The park has a very large population of migratory waterfowl and wading birds. It is located in very close proximity to Yala National Park so you will be able to easily cover both national parks in a day.
Kumana National Park is home to 255 species of birds. Between the months of April and July, you will get the chance to witness large flocks of migratory birds, especially in the swampy area. Species such as black-necked stork, lesser adjutant, Eurasian spoonbill, great thick-knee, Pintail snipes, purple swamphen, white-breasted waterhen, Indian pond heron and black-winged stilt can be seen here during a birding tour.
05. Visit Lunugamvehera National Park
One thing is guaranteed: Your tour in Yala will give you the chance to admire the rich beauty of the flora and fauna of the country to your heart’s content!
Lunugamvehera National Park was declared back in the year 1995 in an attempt to protect the catchment area of the Lunugamvehera reservoir as well as the wildlife in the region. The park serves as an important sanctuary for water birds and elephants. The park includes 33 species of reptiles, 183 species of birds, 43 species of mammals and 21 species of fish.