With Pidurutalagala topping them all, Sri Lanka's high peaks are concentrated in the south-central areas of the island. The Central Highlands give a unique arrangement of ridges, plateaus, escarpments, river valleys, and intermontane basins. These mountains and the highlands have a series of cliffs defining them. Pidurutalagala is closed to the public mainly due to the military base and the country’s central communication array located at the summit. However, other mountains like Kirigalpotta, Thotupola Kanda, and Sri Pada are open to the general public.
Tallest Mountains In Sri Lanka
Pidurutalagala stands at 8,281 feet making it the tallest mountain in the country. It is located near Nuwara Eliya city. The mountain’s summit serves as the central communication lineup of both the Sri Lankan Government and the armed force. It also functions as the central radar system for the country. Currently, the peak is an “Ultra-high security zone” protected by a military base and is strictly off limits to civilians. On March 1, 2010, the mountain’s forests suffered a small wildfire that destroyed almost 3 acres of forest before it was put out by the Air Force and some 300 residents. Mount Pidurutalagala stands on the Nuwara Eliya plateau in a mountain valley which stands at an elevation of about 2000 feet, and hence making this mountain the highest in Sri Lanka. During the dry season, the mountain grass dries up.
Mount Kirigalpotta is Sri Lanka’s second tallest mountains with an elevation of about 7,858 feet. The summit of the mountain is open to the public. The mountain is located near Nuwara Eliya city. There is the only one trail up the peak through the Horton Plains National Park. Kirigalpotta is home to many endemic birds, indigenous plants and animals. Native floras include the Binara flower and Maharathmal flowers. Animals living in this mountain include deers, jungle fowl, and horn chameleon. The leopards in the forests provide a natural balance to the ecosystem.
Thotupola Kanda in Nuwara Eliya District is the third tallest mountain in Sri Lanka with a height of about 7,733 feet. The mountain served as the landing ground of King Rawana when he returned from India, thus earning the word Thotupola which means a landing place in Sinhala. This mountain just like other mountains in Sri Lanka is found in Horton Plains National Park. The original vegetation growing on the mountain are shrubs like Rhodomyrtus, Strobilanthes, and Osbeckia adapted to the windy but cool climate of the region.
Also called Adam’s Peak, Sri Pada situated in Central Sri Lanka stands at about 7,359 feet above sea level. The name Sri Pada means “sacred footprint,” which is a 1.8-meter rock formation near the peak. In Buddhist tradition, Sri Pada is the footprint of Buddha and according to Hindu tradition, Sri Pada is the footprint of Shiva, and Christians and Islamic religions it is Adam’s footprint. The mountain is in the Central Highlands of Nuwara Eliya District and Ratnapura District in the Central Province and Sabaragamuwa Province.. The mountain has a dense forest cover with giant trees that have moss and rhododendrons putting forth conspicuous red blossoms in addition to rare orchids such as Chandraraja and Regal. Most of the surrounding area serves as a mountain reserve with many leopards and elephants. Besides, many butterflies frequent the peak during their yearly migration to the area. Sri Pada also functions as a critical watershed for the country. Stones like rubies, sapphires, and emeralds are mined in the towns East and South of the peak. Adam’s Peak has many ancient monuments and there is also a Peace Pagoda situated half way up, made in 1978 by Nipponzan Myohoji. Sri Pada also serves as an important pilgrimage site for more than a millennium years.
Significance of Mountains
Sri Lank is full of beautiful sceneries and endemic varieties. Walkers, those on pilgrimage, mountain climbers, and hikers can climb the mountains.