Sri Lanka, the pearl of the Indian ocean, remains as a small dot of the land mass on the world map yet, significant and well known for its unique beauty and vivid diversity. Even though Sri Lanka has a tiny area of 65,610 km2 which is 60 times smaller than that of neighboring India, a quick tour across point Pedro to point Dondra ( the uppermost and lowermost points of Sri Lanka) will give you the chance to experience the climate and vegetation of several continents.
It all starts from the misty mountains located in the heart of the island. These mountains house montane forest covers with pointed tree tops touching the clouds. Beneath it, lies a blanket of moist soil and slippery rocks from where fresh water springs are born. Starting from the central peaks as narrow and steep cascades, they flow downstream throughout the island till they release their water mass to the sea. This circulated fresh water flourishes the island with rich soil.
Temple of the Tooth
St Clair's Falls
Little above the central mountains, you find the cities of ancient kings with large monuments, statues, and majestic carvings. Those remnants of the architectural masterpieces reflect the glory of the mighty kingdoms that once reigned. Northcentral skies are clear and bright, shining above the vast open paddy fields. Wide tanks and reservoirs collect sky water and nourish our granaries.
Above the north-central boundaries, the Jaffna peninsula is located. Even amidst blazing sun rays, dry breeze and heated sparkling sands, the company of the sea can be enjoyed under a palmyrah shade. Part of Jaffna peninsula shows semi-arid climate with minute rainfall, dusty sands, and salted breeze. The vegetation with few scattered trees and thorn bushes gives a desert-like scenery to the eye.
Elephants at Pinnawala
Idalgashinna Railway Station
Below the central mountains, the “thick wet forest zone" exists. This is the green engine that drives rain into the country and sequesters the carbon emissions. Among the dense greenery, richest biodiversity of flora and fauna of the island can be found. Mild and humid weather under the rainforest shield refreshes and cools down the souls that come in contact with it.
Being an island, Sri Lanka is gifted with an exquisite coastal belt that makes tourist’s fall in love with it. Eastern coast of the island has the most picturesque beaches with golden sands, creamy waves, deep blue-green still waters and starry skies. Down the south, the coastal line is well known for its multi-colored coral reefs. Mirissa and Kalpitiya sea line gives you the chance to watch the show of mischievous dolphins and enormous blue and humpback whales. Bays, lagoons, and estuaries add value and beauty to the coastal ecosystems.
So the combined beauty of everything from point Pedro to point Dondra define the unique island Sri Lanka. Every inch of it is an amazing traveling destination. From the north, south, east, and west it is rich in nature’s marvels. It’s a place like no other.
By Nipuni Perera.