Horton Plains National Park
Even though Horton Plains National Park is a two-hour drive from Hatton, visiting the park makes the drive worthwhile. Horton Plains is one of the few national parks in the central province which is made up of montane grassland and cloud forest. The park’s unique ecosystem and abundance of flora and fauna have been described as a ‘biodiversity hotspot’; it is home to many endemic species of flora such as the Nelu flower which only blooms every 12 years and this is why Horton Plains was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010.
The Mythical Tales
In Sri Lanka, most historical sites have a mythical element associated with it and Horton Plains is no different. It is said that King Ravana, from the epic Ramayana, had landed his fabled peacock chariot on one of the mountains in Horton Plains after kidnapping Sita. To punish Ravana, Rama’s ally Hanuman unleashed an unquenchable fire on the plains which burned for years, and it is believed that this is the reason why the upper layer of soil has a grey-ish tinge to it.
Unique Features to Behold
Hiking the park is fairly easy since it is largely flat land. The trail is a 9.5km loop and you will come across the park’s two main attractions: World’s End and Baker’s Falls. World’s End is situated in the middle of the trail, and it is a clifftop which stretches out far beyond the surrounding plains and on a clear day, you can even see the shore! Although you won’t necessarily get lost while you’re on the trail, to ensure the park’s details don’t get lost on you, you may want to consider going with a guide.