Picturesque, untouched, natural beauty
Puttalam District is an area with huge potential, largely untouched by tourism. Indeed, the Lonely Planet guidebook for Sri Lanka, so often used as a bible for travel, devotes only two and half pages to this beautiful and diverse region. For travellers seeking something a little different from a visit to the island then Puttalam District offers a fantastic assortment of sites. It is here that the ancestors of the Sinhalese people first landed and many mysterious ancient sites in the area attest the long and chequered history. Visiting the area today, you can imagine that life in villages here has been lived at a traditional pace for many centuries. Supporting abundant culture and wildlife, many great day trips are possible.
The tanks are great for wildlife spotting
Located in the ‘dry-zone’ area of Sri Lanka which receives substantially less annual rainfall than the southern ‘wet-zones’, the vast network of irrigation ‘tanks’ or Lakes have sustained communities for centuries. Often a picture of splendid serenity, the tanks support a varied array of bird and wildlife as well as supporting human habitation. These are the places where villages were started, and they retain extreme importance to this day. Originally constructed during the period of the first great ancient civilisation of Anuradhapura, the Sinhalese royalty need to find a way to store the monsoon rains which fell for only three months a year. It is estimated that over 3500 tanks were created during a period of about 700 years. Beyond this, tanks also make for great swimming and picnic stops and the staff at The Mudhouse take great pleasure in introducing you to the many tanks within the surrounding area. We usually vary our tank trips depending on which ones are the best at the time as water levels vary dramatically throughout the year. Favourites include Uswewa, Inginimitiya and the enourmous Tabowa Wewa, which is surrounded by Elephant corridors and borders the nearby Elephant Sanctuary where elephants displaced by the increasing urbanisation taking place across Sri Lanka are re-introduced to the jungle.
The majestic leopard can be spotted in Wilpattu National Park
Wilpattu National Park is Sri Lanka’s largest parks and is re-emerging as one of the finest places in Asia to see leopards. The birdlife in and around the park is varied and exciting, particularly in the wet season from November to April. Particular favourites include the Painted Stalk, several species of Eagle and the country’s largest bird, the Lesser Adjutant Stalk. Aside from the Elephants the park is also home to Samba, Wild Buffalo, Crocodiles and the elusive Sloth Bear. Much of the attraction of Wilpattu comes from the fact that it is a vast, untamed wilderness. Miles of dense scrubland jungle suddenly opens to reveal huge natural reservoirs or ‘vilus’ that serve as watering holes for the wildlife. Other day trips can also be organised to the bird sanctuary at Anawilundawa, a unique wetland environment home to a diverse range of migratory and native species. What makes Anawilundawa stand out is it is one of the few places in the world where three distinct environmental landscapes can be found in one small park – lagoon/mangrove, coastal and freshwater environments facilitate an incredibly diverse range of wildlife. The nearby Puttalam lagoon is also a vast habitat for wildlife.
ancient temple stupa at Anuradhapura
Ancient sites are plentiful in the surrounding areas. Within a short bicycle ride from The Mudhouse you can find the little known Thonigala Rock inscription, thought the be one of the longest in Asia. The rock temple at Mulegama offers further stunning views of the surrounding countryside and can be incorporated into a day trip to nearby lakes. Day trips can be take to the former capitals of Yapahuwa and Panduwasnuwara, with their fine examples of Sinhala rock carving. These fascinating sites are rarely seen by tourists. It is also possible to visit the ruins at the majestic ancient city of Anuradhapura, the islands first capital and home to one of the greatest ancient civilisations in history. The coastal fishing town of Udappuwa is home a truly unique community. Having arrived from India a few hundred years ago the fishing community has a mix of cultural, social and linguistic influences, unlike any other in Sri Lanka.
The Kalpitiya peninsula which juts out to the north-west of Puttalam town boasts some of Sri Lanka’s finest, untouched beaches. Dolphin and whale watching trips are possible in season. Combine a stay at the Mudhouse with the superb eco resort at Alankuda and experience two of the island’s most unique and undiscovered properties.