Namal Uyana in Sri Lanka is the most comprehensive ironwood cover and pink quartz mountain in Asia. The Ironwood Tree is endemic to Sri Lanka, and the brush is spread over 260 acres in area. According to the researcher’s findings, the pink quartz in this old place has a story of more than 550 million years. Naamal Uyana is a unique forest replanted with Ironwood trees in the 8th Century AD began starting from King Devanampiyathissa and ending with king Dappula. Namal Uyana had been a retreat for Buddhist monks when King Devanampiyatissa’s reign in the 8th century. Later it had been utilised as a prison camp where the sentence was to plant Na trees.
Tucked away 7 kilometres from the Madatugama junction of the Colombo-Anuradhapura highway, along the road leading to Adiyagala, lies the awe-inspiring "Jathika Namal Uyana." Stepping into this sanctuary, one is immediately captivated by the mesmerizing pink quartz mountain that dominates the landscape. This grandeur, combined with the lush greenery of the surrounding forest, creates a mystical and serene ambience.
Pink Quartz Mountain and Ironwood Forest
The centrepiece of Namal Uyana is the magnificent rose quartz mountain, the largest of its kind in South Asia. Standing tall and majestic, it is a testament to the geological wonders nature has bestowed upon Sri Lanka. Additionally, the forest surrounding the mountain boasts a rich history as an old asylum. Within its embrace, many ironwood trees are a testament to the human influence on the landscape.
Archeological Ruins and Buddhist Monastery
Namal Uyana holds within its boundaries the remnants of an ancient monastery dating back to the Anuradhapura period. The forest, believed to have been inhabited by Buddhist monks during the early years of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, carries an air of spiritual significance. Among the ruins, the Purana Namal Seya stupa and an ancient Bodhigara, a temple tree, stand as testaments to the past.
Namal Uyana as an Asylum
During the reign of King Devanampiya Tissa in the 3rd century BC, King Dappula declared Namal Uyana a sanctuary. It became a refuge for those fleeing enemies or seeking respite from legal punishment. The condition for seeking asylum within this remote forest was simple: respect the rule and jurisdiction of the Buddhist monks who resided there.
Legends and Transformation into Na Trees
Legend has it that those seeking asylum in Namal Uyana were miraculously transformed into Na trees, known as "Na" or "Naa" in Sinhala, referring to the ironwood tree. These outlaws played a vital role in cultivating the ironwood trees under the guidance of the monks. The present Na trees in Jathika Namal Uyana are several hundred years old, a testament to the enduring presence of human influence on the landscape.
Significance of Ironwood and Na Trees
Ironwood, scientifically known as Mesua ferrea, is a precious timber native to Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Indonesia. In Sri Lanka, ironwood holds a special place in the country's sacred architecture. It is used to construct Buddhist and Hindu shrines, mosques, and churches. The tradition of planting Na trees near holy places ensures a future supply of this sacred timber for generations.
Biodiversity and Ayurvedic Plants
Jathika Namal Uyana hosts an impressive array of tropical plants totalling 102 species. Among them, 72 species are herbal plants used in Ayurvedic treatments. The year-round availability of fresh water contributes to the richness of species found in the area. Both dry and wet zone species thrive, creating a unique blend of flora within the sanctuary.
Fauna in Namal Uyana
The biodiversity of Namal Uyana extends beyond plants to include a diverse range of fauna. The forest is home to 75 species of ants and all known snake species in Sri Lanka. Additionally, the sanctuary provides a habitat for various lizard species, one being endemic to the region.
Jathika Namal Uyana is an extraordinary testament to the intersection of nature, history, and spirituality. Its pink quartz mountain, ironwood forest, archeological ruins, and diverse ecosystem make it a captivating destination for explorers and nature enthusiasts. We invite you to witness the beauty and immerse yourself in the serenity of Namal Uyana—a place where the past intertwines with the present and nature reveals its wonders.
- Q: How do I reach Namal Uyana?
- A: Namal Uyana is located 7 kilometres from the Madatugama junction of the Colombo-Anuradhapura highway, along the road leading to Adiyagala. It is easily accessible by road.
- Q: Are there guided tours available in Namal Uyana?
- A: Yes, guided tours are available to enhance your experience and provide insights into the history, culture, and ecology of Namal Uyana.
- Q: Can I take photographs in Namal Uyana?
- A: Yes, photography is permitted in Namal Uyana. Capture the mesmerizing landscapes and unique flora and fauna.
- Q: Are there any accommodations near Namal Uyana?
- A: Yes, accommodations are available in the nearby towns and cities, such as Anuradhapura, for a comfortable stay during your visit.
- Q: Is Namal Uyana open to visitors throughout the year?
- A: Yes, Namal Uyana is open for visitors year-round. However, checking for any temporary closures or restrictions is always advisable before planning your visit.