Kaudulla National Park (කවුඩුල්ල ජාතික වනෝද්‍යානය)

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Size6,900 hectares
Main attractionLarge herds of Elephants, Deer, Sambur, Wild boar, Leopard, Bear, Birds and Fish

Situated about 190 km from Colombo, Kaudulla National Park is dominated by the Kaudulla Tank built by the sister of the famous King Mahasena who was the creator of the Minneriya Tank. The folklore of the creation of this tank is very interesting.

After the sister of King Mahasena married a person disapproved by the king, she was banned from the palace and the newly married couple went off and established a small farming village around Kaudulla. Meanwhile, King Mahasena while building and developing the irrigation systems around the country planned a massive tank at Minneriya to support the agriculture of the area.

To carry this enormous amount of water, he had to build an extra-long dam. To protect this dam from breaking up by the force of the water the king was asked to make a human sacrifice to the demons/gods who protected the dam. The king hearing that his sister had given birth to a son, ordered the chief minister to sacrifice this infant to the gods. But the minister sacrificed a goat instead of the baby and informed the king that the sacrifice was complete. The king satisfied, built and completed one of the largest man-made tanks of that time.

On the day he was to ceremonially open the floodgates, he started regretting his decision to sacrifice his nephew. The chief minister then informed the king that indeed infant prince is still alive. The king thrilled at the news ordered his ministers to bring his sister to the tank to show his marvellous creation and to share the joy. The sister was then escorted and was shown this gigantic tank by his brother. Then sister laughed and told the king that she too had been busy and requested the king to follow her to show what she had been up to. The princess took her brother to a new tank, which she had built with the villagers, which was even larger than the Minneriya. This tank is what we now know as the Kaudulla Tank.

Kaudulla was declared a National park on April 1, 2002, by the Sri Lankan government. This is a unique national park in the sense that two-thirds of the Kaudulla National Park is underwater during several months of the year. In addition to the Kaudulla Tank, which dominates the landscape, Kaudulla National Park includes Relapanawa Tank, Olumadu Wewa, Puliyan Kalla Wewa, Mineriya-Kanthale Yoda Ela, Aluth Oya and Hatharas Kotuwa Oya.

The park is also situated on an elephant migratory path (an Elephant corridor) , which makes this park even more interesting. The park sits in between the Somawathi National Park and the Minneriya National Park. The road network of the park is about 16 km but lacks basic visitor facilities. Trackers have to be obtained from either Girithale or Habarana.

Kaudulla National Park can be reached from either Habarana – Trinco Road or Habarana – Minneriya Road. The best time to see Elephants in the park is the early morning and late evening. Herds of elephants become a common sight on the dried lakebed during this time of the day. You can hire a safari jeep from Habarana or Polonnaruwa. They cost around Rs 3000/- per half day and Rs 5000/- for a full day. Vans are also allowed into the park. They can travel on almost all the tracks.

There are no bungalows inside the Kaudulla National Park. You will have to stay either in Habarana, Girithale or in Polonnaruwa. Some good star-class hotels can be found in all of these locations

You can also see elephants on the Habarana Road (the Road connecting Habarana and Polonnaruwa) if you travel along this road after 6.30. Herds of elephants often come to the road after dark. They are quite used to vehicles but sometimes get annoyed by the headlights. Once my vehicle was chased for some good meters by a herd probably because we stopped to vehicle (with headlights on) too close to them.

Kaudulla National Park Ticket Prices

Description (Fees Applicable for Category 1 Park)Price
Local – AdultsLKR 150
Local – Children (6-12 years)LKR 100
Local – StudentLKR 20
Local – Children (below 6 years)FOC
Local – Group Fee (per vehicle)LKR 400
Foreign – AdultsUSD 25
Foreign – Children (6-12 years)USD 15
Foreign SAARC Countries – AdultsUSD 20
Foreign SAARC Countries – Children (6-12 years)USD 10
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 6-12 will have the cost of

DescriptionCost
2 adultsUSD 50.00
1 childUSD 15.00
Group FeeUSD 10.00
Total USD 75.00
Tax (15%)USD 11.25
TotalUSD 86.25

The above costs are for entry tickets for persons as gazetted in 2022. 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 hire a private safari Jeep, the prices vary from LKR 11,000 to LKR 15,000 for a half day (4 hours) based on the park. For a full day, it’s double the cost of a half day.

Also See

Map of  Kaudulla National Park

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 Kaudulla National Park

Route from Colombo to Kaudulla National Park
Through : Minuwangoda – Giriulla – Kurunegala – Dambulla – Habarana
Distance : 210 km
Travel time : 5 hours.
Driving directions : see on google map

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