Tracking at Knuckles Range
Tracking at Knuckles Range-Knuckles mountain range is so called for its resemblance of the knuckles of the fist. Easily visible from the city of Kandy (which is perhaps about 30 Km away) this mountain range has over the years gained the cynosure of the eyes and of course one of the most popular trekking ranges in Sri Lanka. Lush green jungles embracing the mountains and the wetland hosting many species of wildlife although not in great number s is supposed to be the reason for this. Many trails have been created by the trekkers in the past and camp sites too have thrived, some being cleared by the Forest Department. It is declared a national heritage area and conserved manly for the biodiversity and wild life.
The 155 sq.km region is made of five major forest formations, with a wide variety of rare and endemic flora and fauna. Simply not wild but commands some awe inspiring scenery of all directions. In fact this is the only location in Sri Lanka that gives diverse types of forests, dry zone slopes on mountainous areas to the waterfalls and greenery of distant places.
Knuckles range has mini world’s-end views of the west and east, which can be accessed by many trails which pass through several caves as well. There have been cardamom plantations on these trails earlier and now though these plantations have been reduced the aromatic spice still governs the air around. Cardamom planters, toddy tappers, Tea estate workers and other farmers are found here and there as you follow these paths to the summits.
The Knuckles Range is said to have been the hideout for the last King of Sri Lanka Sri Wikrama Rajasingha (1798-1815) who ruled from Kandy before the British capture. His haunts were the Rathna waterfall trek, Sithakotuwa limestone cave and a few other trails. All trails pierce through dense thickets, streams and waterfalls, tea bushes and terraced paddy fields. Beautifully dressed Kandyan home gardens too are a pleasant to the eyes as you walk along.
Knucles Range Trekking is an adventurous expedition done on bikes by many tourists. It is a life void of modernism over there that gives the traveller an indulgence with nature and a sense of soul purifying as he or she wades through. Chirping Birds and an occasional encounter with elephants and other animals including rodents and reptiles add more excitement. Hence, it is also a wildlife exploration.
The Knuckles Range is also known for leeches as it is a wetzone and these creature simply love to breed over there. Some would prefer when these blood sucking elastic creature stroll on the legs as they believe leeches suck the dirty blood which does som good for the body. However for most of us, it is advisable to rub some salt or rather wash the legs with salt water, since the leeches cannot survive on a salty surface. Or else you need to be very watchful as they could just leap over to your body even from a leaf that you are rubbing against as you walk through the dense foliage.
The trekking usually takes about 2-3 hours and there are guides available to lead. If not, one can get into a muddle missing the paths. Ample water is needed to avoid dehydration (stream water is usually clean)and of course warm clothes especially long jeans or trousers for the obvious reasons.Tags: Mountain Climbing, Tracking at Knuckles Range