Top Scenic Places to Travel in Puttalam Sri Lanka
Puttalam is a city in the north-western part of Sri Lanka; it is picturesquely located bordering the Puttalam lagoon. The lagoon is one of the most important parts of the city. It plays an important role as a natural attraction as well as an income source for a large number of people in the region. The loon stretched along the north-south axis of the city and it is about 60km in length. There are several islands in the lagoon and the lagoon mainly consists of salty water.
The most important industries for Puttalam are the salt industry and fishing industry. The region is full of shrimp farms and an important source of income for the country. The shrimps here are mainly for the export market and exported mainly to European countries. Several salterns can be seen near the city, which is being used for producing salt from the sea water. Many centuries before, the city functioned as a trading place for international traders, especially for Arabian traders. One most important product in the exchange among these traders was the pearl. Puttalam was a setting off point for the adventure to find a pearl in the waters of Indian Ocean. Nearby island Mannar was popular for pearls on the island for many centuries. Colonial rulers have been able to export large quantities of pearl from the island.
The city is inhabited by around 5,0000 people and it is chiefly a Christian community. The St.Anne, a Catholic church in Puttalam is a popular site of pilgrimage for the Christian community in the country. A large number of people is engaged in the fishing industry and they are heavily contributing to the dry fish, produced in the country. Sometimes, one can see the fish are being dried along the main roads in Puttalam. From Puttalam to Palavi (situated about 6 km south of Puttalam), one can see a number of salterns. More than one-fifth of salt needed for the country is produced here.
Puttalam lagoon is separated from the nearby Indian Ocean by beautiful natural sand dunes and beaches with coconut palms.
Talawila is a popular pilgrimage site in the country due to St.Anne church. A large number of Christians is gathering to the Church on 26th July every year. Other than the Church there are no noteworthy attractions in Talawila.
Kalpitiya is a popular beach holiday destination in the north-western part of the country is ranked among the best places to witness whales and dolphin. The region is mainly inhabited by moors, the descendants of Arabian traders, who arrived here many centuries ago. Several kilometres north of Kalpitiya was popular in the medieval period due to a natural harbour. Later Portuguese built a fort at this militarily strategically location. Later it was handed over to Dutch and further expanded under the Dutch administration.
About 33-kilometre northward form Puttalam is an entrance to the Wilpattu national park. It has recorded an influx of tourist in the recent time due to the improved security and road network.
Anawilundawa is one of the most beautiful places with an abundance of natural beauty in the island of Sri Lanka. It is one of the few wetland sanctuaries in the central west coast and located near Puttalam. Puttalam important region in the coconut triangle is a leading contributor to Sri Lanka’s coconut industry. Event though Anawilundawa is recognized as an impotent natural habitat is not known to most of the people in the island. Hence very few people enjoy the remarkable scenery and wildlife of it. Anawilundawa wetland covers more than 1,397 hectares of land. First, it was declared as a protected sanctuary in 1997 and it was offered the status of wetland of national Importance under the Ramsar Convention in 2001. There is very little publication written with the information of this beautiful wetland. Anawilundawa is an extremely valuable place for the nature lovers and it can be used to promote nature tourism in the country. It is not only rich in natural beauty but also the historical importance. History of Anawilundawa is going back to 1.140 AD. This wetland is fed by an ancient irrigation tank that was built more than thousand years ago. The builder of the irrigation network was the King Parakramabahu the great, the monarch famed for his irrigation schemes. There are seven tanks that are of varying sizes between 12-50 hectares can be found in the area and Anawilundawa takes the centre point. Tanks are interconnected through the Deduru oya and Rathambala oya that take water from higher elevated tanks to the lower elevated tanks. Ultimately the excess water leads to the Dutch Canal which is located towards the west of the wetland.
There are three ecosystems are identified in the Anawilundawa wetland complex namely freshwater wetland system (tanks, canals, marsh, reed, beds and seasonally flooded grasslands), brackish water wetland system (mangroves, salt marshland, brackish water gardens), and terrestrial and agriculture systems (tank bund vegetation, agricultural lands, home gardens, beaches, sand dunes). Anawilundawa shows high biodiversity with a large number of fauna species such as birds, mammals, reptiles, fish and butterflies. The wetland is inhabited by a number of endemic fauna species and a large number of flora species as well. According to the naturalists, there are 264 species of plants in the protected area. The forest serves the villagers in the area by providing valuable medicinal plants such as Pubulu (used for fractures and eczema). The number of aquatic plants found in the reserve is 22, lilies and lotus flower are dominating the tanks.
Birding in Aanawilundawa
Anawilundawa is one of the best places for bird watching in Sri Lanka. Wetland habitat in Anawilundawa provided one of the best living habitats for birds. One can see a large number of migrant birds as well as native bird species. The recorded number of vertebrates in Anawilundawa is 237 and 39% of it considered being native to the island.
Anawilundawa is inhabited by a large number of fresh water as well as brackish water fish species. About half of the fish species in the island can be observed here while four species are endemic to the island. A large number of reptiles and amphibian species also can be observed here. Anawilundawa is inhabited by some of the endemic amphibians such as Sri Lanka wood frog (Rana gracilis).
Some of the other noteworthy fauna in the reserve is endangered slender loris (tardigradus tardiggradus), endemic toquw monkey (Macaca sinica), Indian spotted chevrotain or mouse deer (Tragulus memeinna), rusty spotted cat (Prionailurus rubignosus),fishing cat (Prinailurus viverrinus) and the India otter (Lutra nair).