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Originally, the villagers called this region the “Dumbara Kanduvetiya” meaning “Misty mountains”. The area was named as ‘Knuckles ‘ by British Surveyors, due to a prominent landscape feature – a group of five peaks that resembles the knuckles of a clenched fist, seen from, many points in the area east and north-east of Kandy. The five peaks, extending from West to South-east includes Kirigalpottha (1642m), Gombaniya (1900m), Knuckles (1852m), Koboneelagala (1544m) and Dotulugala (1564m), respectively.

From Corbats gap in the south, another ridge enters north east wards, more or less parallel to the Kalupahana range.

Corbet was the surveyor who mapped the area in the second part of the 19th century. This ridge is dominated by Dumbanagala (‘Misty rock 1642m) and Galtuna (3 rocks) it inturn meets the north west trending Telambugala (1332m) Welangala (1181m) ridge, is the finest peak of the whole.

There is the Matter-horn like mountain of Kehelpathdoruwa (1530m) the sides of which are scooped out as if by ice, with knife edge and ridges running up the sides.

Corbet’s view is located between Dotulugala-Kobanilagala range and Dumbanagala – Kehelpathdoruwa range on the eastern slopes from the Corbets gap at an elevation of 3250ft (985 m)

The Knuckles forest region is an important watershed, with several streams draining into lower Mahaweli system (eg. Hasakala Oya, Maha Oya, and Heen Ganga), south-west into the upper Mahaweli system, (eg. Huluganga), and north-west into the Amban Ganga system (eg. Teligam Oya and Kalu Ganga).
The Knuckles catchment area contributes to about 30% of the water in Victoria, Randenigala and Rantambe reservoirs of the river Mahaweli.

The location of the Knuckles forest region in the Intermediate Climatic Zone in the island has resulted in a wide range of rainfall and temperature in different parts of the region. The highland areas of the Knuckles forest range is extremely wet throughout the year, with an average annual rainfall of about 5000mm, while the lower eastern slopes are much drier, with less than 2500mm. the area is also exposed to strong winds during May to October which can reach as high as 60 mph (90 kmph), the temperature in this region is an average 24 C.

The wide range of climatic and landscape features in the Knuckles region has resulted in a variety of natural vegetation types, ranging from lowland semi-evergreen forests to mountain forests. These vegetation types harbour a rich composition of animal and plants, some of which are unique to Sri Lanka.

Although the hill ranges remain as uninhabited wilderness, traditional human settlements occur along the river valleys. The villagers are involved in the cultivation of paddy in terraced fields, supplemented with the chena cultivation. Commercial plantation of tea and cardamom are also located within the knuckles forest range.
Patches of plantation forest, dominated by Pinus, are located in areas bordering the Knuckles region.

The biological and hydrological value of the Knuckles forest region was recognized more than a century ago, when the areas above 1500m in the Knuckles range was declared as a climatic reserve in 1873. Since then, the area has received legal conservation status under the Forest Ordinance, administered by the Forest Department of Sri Lanka. In 1987, the Ministry of Lands, Irrigation and Mahaweli Development and the Forest Department initiated a project to enhance the conservation of Knuckles forest region, with technical assistance from IUCN – The World Conservation Union. This project was intended to demarcate the boundaries of the Knuckles protected area, and identify critical management issues that are relevant for planning the sustainable management of Knuckles forest region. Upon the successful completion of this project, the Knuckles forest was declared as a Conservation Forest (an extent of 17,500 ha) by the Government in April 2000. Subsequently, the whole area was declared as a National Man and Biosphere Reserve. The Knuckles forest reserve has also been nominated for declaration as an International Man and Biosphere Reserve and a Natural World Heritage Site.

                            Location and relief of the Knuckles Massif>>
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