Anawilundawa is a 1,397 hectare forest wetland, located along the coastal line from Chillaw to Puttalam, about 120km from Colombo. It is one of six RAMSAR wetlands in the country and is renowned for its lush forests, mangroves, swamps and the many migratory birds. Hotels such as Amagi Beach, Marawila place you within close proximity to this sanctuary, making it an easy day trip to enjoy nature’s wondrous beauty. In fact, you would already know that, if you are looking for a relaxing holiday coupled with a bit of sightseeing and adventure in Sri Lanka, beach hotels would be the way to go.
This picturesque sanctuary consists of a unique irrigation system comprising of nine tanks linked together. The six larger ones, Pinkattiya, Mayyawa, Anawilundawa, Maradansola, Vellawali and Surawila, are manmade. Built by King Parakramabahu, this irrigation system dates back to the 12th century and the waterways that fed water to this system have disappeared. Today, this system is fed by water from Deduru Oya.
Popular among bird watching circles, Anawilundawa is known for over 150 species of resident and migratory birds. While you may spot the resident birds throughout the year, the best time to spot the migratory birds would be from October to April. Exotics birds such as the egret, stalk, pheasant tailed jacuana, purple swamp hen and cormorant nest here. In addition to the beautiful birds, Anawilundawa is home to about 20 species of mammals, including the Toque monkey, slender loris, rusty spotted and the Indian otter. There are over 70 species of butterflies too, making this sanctuary a true paradise for nature lovers and photography enthusiasts.
What many are not privy to is the fact that Anawilundawa is also home to about 40% of the vertebrate fish species and 50% freshwater fish species in the country.
Thanuja Silva is a travel writer who writes under the pen name Auburn Silver. She has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.