Maduru Oya National Park which is 58,849 hectares in content is located in the dry zone and 314 kms from Colombo. It is situated by Kuda Sigiriya, a great eco location yet to be explored. Maduru Oya is well known for its elephant habitat. Other than elephants, leopards, sloth bears, Sambhur, spotted and barking deer, wild boar and wild buffalo are also found here. Torque Macaque, Purple-faced leaf monkey and nocturnal slender Loris are also found in the park. Lesser Adjutant, Woolly necked stork, Openbill, painted stork, Racket tailed Drongo, Yellow-fronted barbet, Sri Lanka jungle fowl and spur fowl are among the over 100 species of birds found within the park.
Ruins at Henanigala, Kudawila, Gurukumbura, Uluketangoda, Werapokuna and several other places include ancient Buddhist shrines, Temples, Dagobas, Statues, Devales and Hermitages from different eras in Sri Lankan history. An ancient sluice dating prior to the 6th century BCE was discovered recently on the old breached earthen bund of the Maduru Oya. Early Brahminical inscriptions dating from the 3rd century BCE are found at Kandegamakanda. Maduru Oya can be reached through Matale and Hettipola or from Dehiattakandiya coming from Polonnaruwa or from Mahiyanganaya. Maduru Oya is closer to Wasgamuwa National Park. Another route from Colombo (165 miles/265 luns) Kurunegala, Dambulla, Habarana, Polonnaruwa and Manampitiya. Main access from the north is from Manampitiya (16 miles/25 kms) located on the Polonnaruwa–Batticaloa highway.
There are two circuit bungalows and one dormitory at the park office in front of Maduru Oya reservoir. Ulhitiya campsite is available for nature lovers. There is a well-arranged wildlife museum at the park entrance.
Text by Neil Kiriella