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Updated by Joanna James on Sep 15, 2021
Headline for Bird Watching in Udawatte Kele – Time to Get Out Your Binoculars!
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Bird Watching in Udawatte Kele – Time to Get Out Your Binoculars!

Whether you're an ornithologist, an avid aviary fan, a wildlife photographer or looking for a peaceful trek, the Udawatta Kele Sanctuary is the perfect trek for you. It is the only forest reserve within the Kandy city limits and is a great addition to your list of things to do when in Kandy.


A Bit about the Sanctuary

Udawatte Kele is one of the better-kept secrets in the midlands of Sri Lanka and the name roughly translates to the Royal Forest Park of Kandy. Formerly known as Uda Wasala Watta meaning the garden above the royal palace, it was considered to be a personal garden of the former Kandyan kings. It is now managed and maintained by the Department of Wildlife Conservation in Sri Lanka. This sanctuary covers 103 hectares and is located on the ridge of hills which are nestled between the sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic and the Aruppola hamlet.


A Typical Trek in the Park

If you're staying at a resort in Kandy, many hotels such as Hunas Falls can organize a tour and trek of the park at your request. A typical trek starts with being picked up from your hotel around 6 AM. After receiving a brief about the trail and the safety instructions, your trek will officially start around 6.30 AM. Thereafter your guide will take you through the park for the next 3 hours so, giving you ample time to spot all manner of rare bird species and take some fantastic shots to show off to your friends later on!


What Can I Expect to See

The Udawatte Kele sanctuary houses over 80 species of birds! This include the likes of the Layard's Parakeet, Yellow-fronted Barbet, Sri Lankan hanging parrot, Spot bellied eagle owl, three-toed Kingfisher and Green fronted leaf bird. Not to forget the Sri Lankan hill myna and the brahmin kite as well. Apart from the birds, you can expect to spot a few mammals as well! Endemic species such as the jackal, porcupine, toque macaque and mouse deer all call Udawatte Kele home. Whatever you do, make sure you don't feed the animals or veer off the paths. The park also has an incredible array of horticulture with over 460 species of plants, and shrubs


Hidden Monasteries

Apart from the incredible avifauna and wildlife, you can expect to stumble across three forest monasteries and cave dwellings used by Buddhist monks within this eco-park. This sanctuary also serves as a catchment area during the rainy season in order to supply Kandy with water.


Panoramic View of Kandy

It's not just the sheer variety of bird species you'll be amazed by. Due to the unique positioning, and the fact that it is 635 meters above sea level, this park offers some awesome views. It is the perfect location to get a bird's eye view of the city of Kandy and its surrounding areas. You can capture this city like never before from Udawatte Kele.

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