The Knuckles Mountain Range is a premium bio-diversity hub that is dubbed as one of Sri Lanka’s best natural hotspots. Located in the districts of Matale and Kandy, the Knuckles Mountain Range (so called due to the fact that it looks like a clenched fist from a distance) is a conservation area that consists of five main mountain peaks in addition to several smaller peaks, all of which are home to a wide array of endemic flora and fauna. The highest points are about 6,000 feet above sea level and stand magnificently in the silhouette of the Central Highland of the island.
The Knuckles Mountain Range, known as “Dumbara Mitiwawatha”, which means “The Misty Valley”, has also been named as a UNESCO World Heritage spot due to its environmental and historical significance, making it one of Sri Lanka’s top attractions. The mountain range is home to montane vegetation, semi-evergreen forests, and upper cloud forests that are covered with colorful flowers, moss, and ferns. The streams that meander through are bordered by shadowy riverine forests while savannas cover the hill slopes. Needless to say, the Knuckles Mountain Range is simply picture-perfect. From trekking past the verdant forests and magnificent waterfalls and riding through lush tea plantations and terraced paddy fields to exploring the rural village communities or simply relaxing in the lap of nature, the Knuckles Mountain Range is a colorful blend of nature, adventure, and culture.
The Knuckles Mountain Range has a rich history that prides itself in being one of Sri Lanka’s most valuable heritage. The story of the Knuckles Range dates back to the prehistoric periods and there is archeological evidence that relates the story of the ancient Yaksha settlement here, making this mountain range a mirror to Sri Lanka’s ancient past.
ENDEMIC FLORA AND FAUNA
The Knuckles Mountain Range is home to numerous endangered species as 64% of amphibians and 51% of reptiles here are endemic to Sri Lanka. Moreover, the endemic Purple-faced Langur and Sri Lankan Leopard can be found here in addition to wild boars, elephants, samburs, barking deer, spotted deer and giant squirrels that have made the mountain range their home.
The Knuckles Mountain Range is also home to one-third of Sri Lanka’s flowering species, including 25 different types of orchids and 160 endemic flowering plants.
As one of the best-protected forest ranges in Sri Lanka, the beauty and splendor of the Knuckles Mountain Range can also be experienced from the 77 villages that border the range, giving valuable insight into the local rural life. The most popular of these villages is Meemure – a secluded hamlet ringed by mountains that were once the sanctuary of the last Kandyan King.
ENDANGERED BIRD SPECIES
Famous for its thriving birdlife, the Knuckles Mountain Range has more than 130 species of birds, including 10 migrant species. Twenty types of endangered bird species, that include the Yellow-fronted Barbet, Sri Lankan Green Pigeon, the elusive Sri Lankan Whistling Thrush, Sri Lankan Dull-blue Flycatcher, and the Jungle Fowl, to name a few, can also be found here. For those looking for enjoying a scenic bird-watching tour, the Knuckles Mountain Range is the best place to be in.
HIKING AND TREKKING AT THE KNUCKLES MOUNTAIN RANGE
With its 155 square kilometer conservation area complete with verdant grasslands, cascading waterfalls, rugged mountain terrains and gurgling streams, trekkers and hikers would love to explore this splendid mountain range. Many areas of the mountain range are still largely untouched so if you want to explore the raw beauty of Sri Lanka’s nature, a trekking expedition to the Knuckles Mountain Range is a not-to-be-missed activity. In fact, trekking is the most popular activity here, and why not? With its dramatic surroundings, it’s not wondering what the Knuckles Mountain Range has remained as one of the best natural attractions in Sri Lanka, luring both, locals and tourists alike to partake in the glorious natural spectacle of this wondrous paradise.
A paradise for nature lovers, the lure of the Knuckles Mountain Range beckons visitors from afar with its spectacular views of mountains cloaked with shrouded mist, adding a dramatic backdrop to Sri Lanka’s Hill Country region.