Our task must be to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.

Yala National Park is situated on the south coast of Sri Lanka, with parts of the park reaching to the water and touching the Indian Ocean.  Yala is Sri Lanka's most famous national park. Yala is all about convergence of magnificence and endurance, painting a picture of eternal beauty and mystery. It’s a vast deciduous forest where the land gives up its green top, exposing vast expanses of open terrain dotted with grasslands and shrubs, tanks and lagoons, water holes and sand dunes.

Yala combines a strict nature reserve with a national park. Divided into 5 blocks, the park has a protected area of nearly 130,000 hectares of land consisting of light forests, scrubs, grasslands, tanks and lagoons. Two blocks are currently opened to the public.

History

Situated in Sri Lanka’s south-east hugging the panoramic Indian Ocean, Yala was designated a wildlife sanctuary in 1900 and was designated a national park in 1938. Ironically, the park was initially used as a hunting ground for the elite under British rule. What is today a pristine wildlife kingdom, Yala was home to a thriving civilization, dating back to the glory days of Sri Lankan Kings.

Culture

Among the glorious spectacle of wildlife, you’d also witness the tell-tale signs of a lost civilization. The Monastic settlement of Sithulpawwa, an important pilgrim site, is said to have housed 12,000 inhabitants seeking solace, some 2000 years ago. The restored rock Temple, among a series of well-preserved ancient temples offers a glimpse into a glittering past. Hundreds of tanks, most in dilapidated state today, are testimony to an agro-based civilization. The large, thriving tanks now provide a lifeline to the animal kingdom, especially during dry season. Best time to visit

The best time to visit Yala is between February and July when the water levels of the park are quite low, bringing animals into the open.

Interesting facts

  • Yala is home to 44 varieties of mammals and 215 bird species.
  • Among its more famous residents is the world’s biggest concentration of leopards, majestic elephants, sloth bears, sambars, jackals, spotted dear, peacocks, and crocodiles.
  • Yala is home to the Panthera pardus kotiya, a majestic leopard endemic to Sri Lanka.

Climate

The best time to visit Yala is between February and July when the water levels of the park are quite low, bringing animals into the open.

Best Time
  • February - July

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Magul Maha Viharaya Yala

Magul Maha Viharaya

Yala
Located to the south of Sithulpauwa, Magul Maha Viharaya is believed to have provided the setting for the marriage of King KavanTissa to Vihara Maha Devi. One could combine a visit to Sithulpauwe and Magul MahaViharaya as they are located closely together.
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