Kumana National Park : Yala-East (කුමණ ජාතික වනෝද්‍යානය)

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Size18,148 hectares
Main attractionsBirds, Elephants and leopards

Kumana National Park, also known as Yala East National Park, is a wildlife sanctuary located in the southeastern part of Sri Lanka. It is situated in the Ampara District of the Eastern Province and covers an area of approximately 18,148 hectares. Earlier Kumana had a village, whose residents were shifted to the Mahaweli project area.

Kumana National Park is renowned for its diverse range of flora and fauna, particularly its avian population. The park is home to over 200 species of birds, making it a paradise for birdwatchers. During the migratory season, which typically falls between April and July, a large number of migratory birds from the northern hemisphere visit the park, including several rare species.

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Apart from its avian population, Kumana National Park also houses various other wildlife species. Some of the notable animals that can be found in the park include elephants, leopards, sloth bears, water buffaloes, and crocodiles. The park’s vegetation consists of dry zone tropical thorn forests, marshes, lagoons, and sandy beaches.

The park lies on the southeast coast in the Eastern province, 7 miles/12 km south of Arugam Bay, and is accessible from the Wellawaya – Pottuvil road. From Pottuvil, you need to travel across Panama, an ancient Sinhalese village amidst the elephant infested jungle. Close to the park entrance lies Okanda Devalaya, the main gathering point of Padayatra before entering the jungles of Yala.

Visitors to Kumana National Park can explore the park through guided jeep safaris, which allow them to observe and appreciate the diverse wildlife in their natural habitat. The park offers a unique opportunity to witness the interactions between different species and to experience the natural beauty of Sri Lanka’s eastern region.

At the base of most rock outcrops are caves, some with rock inscriptions of the 1st and 2nd centuries BC. A nine-meter statue of the reclining Buddha, now in ruins, was discovered in a large cave at Bambaragastalawa. Bowattagala is an ancient monastic site. Kudumbigala and Lenama, peripheral to the park, were once the hunting grounds of Nittawo, legendary pygmies (or dwarf ape men)  who were sworn enemies of the Veddhas, the abiogenies of Sri Lanka.

Kumana National Park Ticket Prices

Description (Fees Applicable for Category 2 Parks)Price
Local – AdultsLKR 60
Local – Children (6-12 years) LKR 30
Local – StudentLKR 20
Local – Children (below 6 years)FOC
Local – Group Fee (per vehicle)LKR 400
Foreign – AdultsUSD 12
Foreign – Children (6-12 years)USD 6
Foreign SAARC Countries – AdultsUSD 10
Foreign SAARC Countries – Children (6-12 years)USD 5
Foreign – Children (below 6 years)FOC
Foreign – Group Fee (per vehicle)USD 10
Taxes on total cost15%
Entrance Fee per vehicleLKR 300
Ticket Price Schedule as gazetted in 2022

For example, for 2 foreigners with 1 child between 6 and 12 will have the cost of

DescriptionCost
2 adultsUSD 24.00
1 childUSD 6.00
Group FeeUSD 10.00
Total USD 40.00
Tax (15%)USD 6.00
Total USD 46.00
The above costs are for entry tickets for persons. A ticket for the vehicle, as given above, has to be purchased separately

Payments can be made in USD or equivalent LKR by foreigners. You can call 1919 (government information center) for the latest ticket prices. If you are hiring a private safari Jeep, the prices vary from LKR 11,000 to LKR 15,000 for half a day (4 hours) based on the park. For a full day, it’s double the cost of a half day.

Accommodation

This park is at present rarely visited. It has two bungalows, one at Okanda, near the park entrance, and the other by the waterhole at Thunmulla. A campsite is situated on the banks of the Kumbbukkan Oya at Kumana. A boat is available for hire at Kumana Villu.

There is no places to stay outside the park. However, you could find decent places to stay in Arugam Bay. There are a few hideaways in the Panama area too.

Archaeological Ruins Inside Yala and Kumana National Parks

With the arrival of Buddhism to the country in 250 BC, the Rohana sub-kingdom too experienced a massive rise of large monastic complexes which could support thousands of bhikkhus. According to ancient text (Sammoha Vinodani AtuwawaSithulpawwa Rajamaha Viharaya is said to have had 12,000 Arhaths during the great famine of Beminitiyasaya in the 1st century BC.

The golden era of this region, however, came to an end due to wars among petty kings, drought, famine, disease and the destruction of irrigation infrastructure due to non-maintenance. The Jungles had crept over this once populous area by the time Europeans arrived in Sri Lanka. However, remnants of this forgotten kingdom are still found on almost every rock outcrop inside Yala and Kumana.

List of Archaeological Sites inside Yala and Kumana National Parks

  1. Akasa Chethiya
  2. Athurumithurugala (see map below)
  3. Athurumituruwewa
  4. Bambaragastalawa
  5. Bembawa
  6. Bowattegala
  7. Brahmanatota
  8. Dematagala
  9. Dikkandanegala
  10. Divulanagoda (Veheradivulana)
  11. Gonagala
  12. Goyankola Mayagala
  13. Handuneruwa
  14. Iriyapola 
  15. Kanabiso Galge
  16. Katupila (see map below)
  17. Katupila Mankada (see map below)
  18. Kiripokunahela
  19. Mahakiriwedumagala
  20. Kongala

Also See

Map of  Kumana National Park  (Yala-East) and Other Places of Interest

Please click on the button below to load the Dynamic Google Map (ගූගල් සිතියම් පහලින්)
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The map above also shows other places of interest within a approximately 20 km radius of the current site. Click on any of the markers and the info box to take you to information of these sites

Zoom out the map to see more surrounding locations using the mouse scroll wheel or map controls.

Travel Directions to Kumana National Park  (Yala-East)

Entrance to Kumana is from Okanda. Although the fastest route is through the Southern Expressway, The route through Balangoda – Beragala is very scenic.

Route I from Colombo to Kumana Park Entrance at Okanda Route II from Colombo to Kumana Park Entrance at Okanda
Through : Southern Highway – Mattala – Thanamalwila – Wellawaya – Monaragala – Potuvil – Panama – Okanda
Distance :420 km
Travel time : 7.30 hours.
Driving directions : see on google map
Through : Balangoda – Beragala – Wellawaya – Monaragala – Potuvil – Panama – Okanda
Distance :345 km
Travel time : 9.30 hours.
Driving directions : see on google map
Route from Potuvil to Kumana Park Entrance at Okanda
Through : Potuvil – Panama – Okanda
Distance :32 km
Travel time : 1 hours.
Driving directions : see on google map

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