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Somawathi National Park

Polonnaruwa, Ancient Central, Sri Lanka.
Location : Polonnaruwa
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Overview

Water resistance is one of the distinctive characteristics of the vegetation of this villus. A tall grass species called ‘Beru’ could be seen in abundance here.

Formation of such an eco system is an advantage for animal watching whereas it is really hard to catch a glimpse of an animal in evergreen forests like Singharaja. But that desire is fulfilled at the villus of Somawathi as there is no foliage or scrub hide outs for animals except the grasslands. Therefore it provides you a great chance of wild life photography.
Numerous mammals, amphibians and birds are found at a one long villu in Somawathi and thus you find the diversity of fauna in Somawathi at a single place.

The herds of elephants are pretty easy to spot in the open habitat. The jumbos that live in Somawathi are well built rather than the ones found in other parks. They draw near to the villu as sun sets and spend whole night at the place. Generally 100-150 elephants found in a herd while there are only 2 or 3 in another. Despite the elephants, Deer is the other frequently seen mammal in Somawathi. Although sometimes 100 of Deer could be seen in a herd, their population does not exceed the number found in Yala or Wasgamuwa. It is recorded that there are Samburs in fair numbers here and they do not come out from the woods till dark.

Many bird species too reside the villu and it is a renowned habitat of Crocodiles as the creatures at the villu become an easy prey for them.

Furthermore Somawathiya stupa which is a Buddhist worship place is located about 1/2 km from the west bank of the river. It was built in 2nd century BC by Prince Walagamba on the request of his wife Princess Somawathi. Subsequently, sacred right tooth relic of Buddha was gifted to the prince by Buddhist monk Maha Thera Mahinda and it was enshrined in relic chamber of the stupa.
 

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