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The wonders of Hiking in Hantana

March 27, 2020

Known for being one of the most popular hiking tracks in the Island, especially with the younger generation where the country’s leading Government university use the trails for their annual hiking expeditions, the Hanthana hiking trails is sure to be on any hiking enthusiast’s “must do” list!

The Hanthana mountain range has seven peaks to its name, with the highest peak being the Ura Kanda at 3800 Ft.  The Trails have numerous picturesque & panoramic views of the surrounding wilderness & towns:

  • The Uragala trek offers stunning views of some of the island’s highest peaks, such as Piduruthalagala, Sripada, Knuckles range and the surrounding mountains and towns.
  • The Sherwood forest trek offers magnificent side views of two of the highest peaks in the Hanthana range, and something to surely thrill hikers who are movie buffs, is a distant view of  “Ura Ketu Gala”, the setting for the classic Steven Spielberg blockbuster, 1984’s “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”. The Sherwood forest trek also includes an aerial view of the perhaps the world’s purest white quartz pit.
  • For those interested in the beauty of the integration of nature & technology, the “Tower Peaks” trails not only offer stunning views the Kandy City, hikers will also trek through the Gannoruwa Agrotechnology park, where due to Hanthana’s high altitude telecommunication towers have been set up, which provides coverage for the entire Island. You will be able to see these massive structures up close!
  • The “Lizard’s Back” offers unimaginable views of the of the Knuckles Mountain range, the Peradeniya town and the Colonial structures of the Peradeniya University Campus, established in 1942, making it the oldest University in Sri Lanka.
  • Just before reaching the Hanthana Mountain Range, hikers will cross through “The Upper Lance”, where you will be hiking among the tea estates where you see local planation workers go about their day to day activities. After traversing the Hanthana Mountain range, hikers will come across a footpath leading to Kandy. This footpath is ideal for watching birds, and to see the picturesque landscapes of the towns of Kandy, Galaha, and Peradeniya.

On the topic of animals, the Hanthana mountain range is home to many indigenous wildlife, so much so that the area has been declared a protected nature reserve by the Sri Lankan Government. Wildlife such as fishing cats, civets, wild boars, hares, monkeys, leopards, foxes, hedgehogs and even raptors are a few of the animals which have made the hills of Hanthana their home. The Mountain Range is an ideal location for the bird watching enthusiast, with around 120 different species of birds having been found in the range, with some species being uniquely endemic to the region.

Hanthana’s hiking trails are immensely popular as the trails are very accessible to all manners of hikers, whether it’s the veteran thrill seekers who enjoy climbing it peaks, or the novice hikers who simply love to causally take in the surroundings. It is possible to reach the foot of the mountain range via the Peradeniya-Galaha road or the Kandy-Udawela road.

One important point of note for any potential hikers: it is advised that journeys should begin by at least 900 AM and end at around 3:00 PM, as darkness tends to fall upon the area quite quickly and without any warning, making the area quite difficult to traverse during the latter part of the day.

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