Hi all, hope you are doing well. In all my recent articles, I was talking about places to visit in Kandy. Guess what? Today also I’m going to take you to Kandy again.:D What we are talking about today is situated in the heart of the Kandy. That is Udawatta Kele Sanctuary (aka Royal Forest Park). It is situated right behind the Temple of Sacred Tooth Relic (Sri Dalada Maligawa).
‘Kele’ means forest in Sinhalese. According to Wikipedia, Udawatta Kele was called as ‘Uda Wasala Watta’ in the past. It has a long historical background dated back to the age of the Kingdom of Kandy. Udawatta Kele was a property of the kings who ruled the kingdom and was a forbidden area for the general public. Kings have used the forest for their defense in enemy attacks.
Before going further, let me warn you that this place is not much recommended by me to pay a visit for an average traveller. I’m telling you with my own experience. Because, there is not very much to see in there. But if you are a die-hard lover of flora or you just want a place to have a quiet walk, this could be your place. Further, bird lovers might also find this place interesting, because there are a number of types of birds in Udawatta Kele. Otherwise, for an average traveller, this place is not much recommended, unless you have run out of places to visit.
If you are visiting the place, make sure to refer to the map at the entrance and plan your route. Otherwise, you will miss some parts of the forest, as we did.:(
The first thing you will see once you entered, is the Royal Pond. It was the place where the queens of the king have bathed. Nowadays it doesn’t look much Royal since it has been abandoned for ages.
At the bank of the Royal Pond, you will meet the bush of ‘Giant Bamboo’. They are giant undoubtedly.
We missed Giant Pus Wel (Liana), Kodimale (the flag point) and the caves where the monks of ancient ages have meditated. Make sure to visit those places if you visit Udawatta Kele.
Directions are marked all over the place. There is a strange mysteriousness inside the forest. And it is really calm and silent.
City View Point
This is a little bit interesting thing to see in the forest. It is an observation point which gives a partial view of the Kandy city and Bogambara Lake. Even though the view is not much panoramic, it is kind of nice.
This is how Bahirawa Kanda temple is clearly visible to the city view point.
As per the history, there were lots of animals in Udawatta Kele, even Elephants and Leopards. Nowadays, it is said to be only a few kinds of animals available there. We witnessed a Dear, Snakes, Monkeys and Birds. Also, Wild Boar, Rabbits, Pangolins, Porcupines and Tortoises are said to be present there.
There is a famous cemetery called Garrison Cemetery, which belongs to the British Colony era, adjacent to Udawatta Kele. It is said to be a unique and calm place. Earlier, the cemetery was accessible from Udawatta Kele. But now that access is closed, people have to visit Garrison Cemetery separately.
I’m telling you again, if you ever visit this forest, don’t miss any key places. It is not a very large area, you can cover the whole place. And DO NOT LITTER the place, protect it as it is.
So that is about Udawatta Kele Sanctuary. If you have any doubts or if you need more information, feel free to leave a comment below. See you in the next article.