Yala National wild life park
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About Yala National wild life park
Popularly known as the second large national park in Sri Lanka, the Yala National Park is one of the most visited tourism spots beside Wilpattu National Park in the island. Fondly known as 'Yala' the park consists of 5 blocks one of which is called Ruhunu National Park and Kumana National Park.
Spread across 979 kilometres Yala is located approximately 300 kilometres away from Colombo. It was designated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1938 and is known for its conservation programme for the Sri Lankan elephants, leopards and aquatic birds.
Although the park consists of a variety of animals which you can watch from the safety of a safari vehicle, Yala is also wrapped in rich cultural stories. According to history Yala was the centre of two ancient civilizations such as the Sithulpahuwa and Magul Vihara. It's also believed that a character from the story of Ramayana, King Ravana built his kingdom at Yala, which was known as Ravan Kotte which is now thought to be buried beneath the sea. There are also a large number of destroyed tanks that indicate the existence of a rich hydraulic and agricultural civilisation dating back to 5th century BC.
Story in a nutshell
It's believed that the Spanish cartographer Cipriano Sanchez spotted Yala on a map in 1506. He noted that it was ' is abandoned for 300 years due to insalubrious conditions'. Ironically prior to becoming a wildlife sanctuary Yala was known as a hunting site for resident sportsmen.
A visit to Yala is a must for those who appreciate nature and wildlife!