Kitulgala is a small town in the west of Sri Lanka. It is in the wet zone rain forest, which gets two monsoons each year, and is one of the wettest places in the country. Nevertheless, it comes alive in the first three months of the year, especially in February, the driest month. The Academy Award-winning The Bridge on the River Kwai was filmed on the Kelani River near Kitulgala, although nothing remains now except the concrete foundations for the bridge (and, supposedly, the submerged train cars that plunged into the river in the climactic scene). Kitulgala is also a base for white-water rafting, which starts a few kilometres upstream.
The Kelani river is wide at Kitulgala, but it is shallow apart from a deep channel near the opposite bank, so in the drier months it provides a safe and attractive place to swim, wash and play. The Academy Award-winning The Bridge on the River Kwai was filmed on the Kelani River near Kitulgala.
The Kelani Valley Forest Reserve in Kitulgala was established to protect the watershed of the Kelani River and is home to many of Sri Lanka’s endemic fauna & flora. This area is also famous for its adventure activities including rafting on Grade 3 and 4 rapids down the Kelani River and jungle trekks or mountain bike rides through jungle-clad hills and plantations growing low-country tea and rubber.
Stratification :- Lowland rain forest
Size :- 263ha
Status :- Forest Reserve
Altitude :- 100-820m
Temperature :- Average 27 (degree C)
Annual Rainfall :- Average 3,500mm to 5,250mm
Many of the lowland endemics can be seen in Kitulgala including the Green-bill Coucal, Chestnut-backed Owlet, Sri Lanka Brown-capped Babbler, Red-faced Malkoha, Sri Lanka Spot-winged Thrush, Grey Hornbill, Sri Lanka Spurfowl, Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot, Layard’s Parakeet, Sri Lanka Orange-billed Babbler, White-faced Starling, Legg’s Flowerpecker, Sri Lanka Blue Magpie, Sri Lanka Myna, Yellow-fronted Barbet and the Serendip Scops Owl. Other specialties include the elusive Dollar Bird, Ceylon Frogmouth, Hill Swallow, Black-throated Munia, Black Bulbul, Black-capped Bulbul.
Kitulgala is also excellent for many rare species of butterflies. Most of the endemic species can also be seen here. The Tawny Raja, Red Helen, Blue Mormon, Tree Nymph, Common Blue Bottles and Blue Oak Leaf can be seen here.
Amphibians And Reptiles
This rainforest is home to endemic amphibians and the elusive Earless Lizard, the Kangaroo Lizard and the Hump-nosed Lizard. Many species of frogs are also heard in the forest. The streams hold a vast number of fresh water fish that are mostly endemic and endangered.
Some of the smaller mammals found in the forest include the endemic and endangered Purple-faced Leaf Monkey, Grizzled Indian Squirrel, Layard’s Striped Squirrel, Wild boar, Mouse Deer and a few varieties of bats.
Rain Forrest In Kithulgala
Kelani Valley Forrest Reserve
Branch Of Kelani River
Green-billed Coucal - Centropus chlororhynchus - Endemic
White-throated Kingfisher - Halcyon smynensis
Black Drongo - Dicrurus macrocercus
Squirrel Eating Rice
Boat Service In kelani River
Sun Set In Kithulgala