There is a heaven in Sri Lanka where green gods live. It is Sinharaja the green diamond.The Sinharaja forest is the only undisturbed rainforest left in Sri Lanka. It is the first world heritage forest in Sri Lanka. It is about 9000 hectares in extent. It spreads from Kalutota to Adweltota in Ratnapura District. This forest region with a high degree of bio diversity. Thus the notice at the entrance to Sinharaja tells the visitor.This forest meets some needs of the man. Researchers often visit here and study about the wild life. The forest at its lowest is 270 meters above the sea level. Its highest point is 1060 meters. Sinharaja has 9 hills of which the tallest is Hinipitigala, it’s peak is 1170 meters high. In 1840 Sinharaja became a crown property. In 1988 this was made a national wilderness area. In 1989 UNESCO included the Sinharaja forest in the world heritage list as the first national heritage of Sri Lanka.
It is the place of meditation, contemplation, relaxation and scientific exploration. The forest is steeped in legend and mystery. The word Sinharaja means lion king and the legend story tells that Sinhala people in Sri Lanka appeared with the union of the lion king, who once lived in the forest and a princess.
Many streams start from the high ground of the Sinharaja and fall into bigger rivers. There is a small water fall called Duhuvilli Ella. Perhaps it is after the dust like spray of the water fall. The rainfall in the area is high throughout the year. It makes the waterways rush and gush adding beauty to the land.
Forest has mothered tress, creepers and streams. Many of the plants are rare. Ferns and mosses grow well as the climate is humid because of heavy rainfall. The average height of trees in the Sinharaja varies between 35 to 40 meters. Some trees are above 50 metres. It has been home to the elephant, leopard, deer and sambhur. There are large mammals as well as small ones living there. The purple faced monkeys can be observed easily. They move about in groups. There are herbivores, carnivores as well as omnivores. It has given protection to the birds, the bees and butterflies. All these years it has remained just as nature created it. So we must conserve this valuable forest.
Today the Sinharaja is faced with many problems. There are foot paths in the forest created by the people in the boundary villages. People who go looking for fruits, firewood and bees honey have all left their foot prints. The foot prints are helpful to the visitors too. However there are some who come to destroy the beautiful jungle. Most of the rare birds and animals are smuggled. Many endemic plants too are lost in the same manner. Visitors are welcome as long as they go in. Leave nothing behind and take nothing except the wonderful memories of Sinharaja.