Five Facets About Mahiyanganaya


22 September 2020

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Mahiyanganaya (මහියංගනය) or Mahiyangana is not a very popular ‘tourist’ destination unlike Kandy, Ella, Sigiriya, or Arugambay for example. Simply because not many travellers know about it. It is however of religious significance since Lord Buddha visited the Mahiyanganaya Raja Maha Viharaya (මහියංගනය රජ මහා විහාරය) on his visit to Sri Lanka over 5000 years ago. You may be surprised to learn of the many activities you can do as a traveller in Mahiyanganaya, much more than you may be able to do any other tourist destination in Sri Lanka. Here’s why!

1. Mahiyanganaya is filled with nature and natural beauty

Mahiyanganaya is strategically situated in the Badulla district with great views of the misty mountains of the central highlands and the Knuckles range. The city is also bestowed with large open spaces of land, lush grasslands, arable land, picturesque lakes and manmade reservoirs. Supporting the region’s agricultural economy, the longest river in Sri Lanka, the Mahaweli flows through this beautiful city, replenishing and nourishing its abundant plant, animal and human life.

• 18 bend road or දහඅට වංගුව

The drive up to Mahiyangana is a spectacular one. Situated approximately 5 hours (about 200km) from the capital city of Colombo, the drive to Mahiyanganaya is yet another spectacular experience. The popular Mahiyanganaya- Kandy road can be accessed through the historical city of Kandy. Commonly referred to as the ‘road that needs both your hands on the wheel all the time’ or the දහඅට වංගුව in Sinhala is a winding road with 18 arduous hairpin bends leading up to Mahiyanganaya. A 41km stretch through the 18 bends, is a challenging yet scenic drive with a couple of lookout points on top of the mountains gazing down to the beautiful valley of Mahiyanganaya. During a road redevelopment conducted in 2011, the number of hairpin bends was reduced to 16 from 18, yet it continues to be a very popular drive among tourists and local travellers alike.

• Rathna Ella (රත්න ඇල්ල)

The famous Rathna Ella (රත්න ඇල්ල) is within a short drive of 30mins from Mahiyangana town. It is a truly mind-blowing experience accompanied by a scenic hike of about 3km both ways. The hike is about 1.5hours in duration and takes one through lush paddy fields, villages, forests and streams leading up to the awe-inspiring waterfall that gushes in drapes of water, a truly serenely experience worth the effort. After the hike and a dip in the water, you are bound to be hungry! On the way back, you can enjoy a scrumptious Sri Lankan lunch at a nearby village home

2. Rich in Culture

Located about 19 km off Mahiyanganaya, in Dambana bordering the Maduru Oya sanctuary lies one of the world’s oldest aboriginal tribes, known as the ‘Vedda’ community. A minority population of about 1000 individuals at present reside enjoying the natural habitat, seclusion and protection of the forests. Peek into the unique culture and traditions of these indigenous people and observe how they hunt and gather, cook in open-air fires, collect bees-honey, engage in traditional song and dance – a few of the rare opportunities to be witnessed whilst in Mahiyanganaya

Learn how to make a traditional Sri Lankan dish and indulge in an authentic Sri Lankan lunch whilst on a village tour in Mahiyanganaya. Learn a simple village craft and immerse in the simplistic lifestyle as they thrive and coexist with nature.

3. Abundance of Wildlife

Moreover, the Wasgamuwa and the Maduru Oya National Parks are located within an hour’s drive from Mahiyanganaya. Both national parks are home to numerous wildlife species from over 100 species of birds to herds of elephants, the purple-faced langur monkeys, wild boar, sambar, spotted deer, buffalo including leopards and sloth bears on rare occasions.

Or you could take a boat safari over Sri Lanka’s largest lake, at the Gal Oya National Park and discover elephants swimming between islands and exceptional birdlife including migratory birds that swell their ranks from December to April. Even within Mahiyanganaya on the bank of the Mapakada Lake, one can observe sightings of herds of elephants and numerous birdlife whilst on a boat ride.

4. Steeped in religious and historical significance

Historic chronicles of ancient Sri Lanka in the Mahawansa reveal that Lord Buddha visited the Mahiyanganaya Raja Maha Viharaya on his first visit to the island on a Duruthu (January) full moon Poya day to resolve a dispute between pre-historic inhabitants belonging to the Yaksha, Naga and Deva tribes. Today, this temple is regarded as one of the 16 most sacred temples (සොලොස්මස්ථාන) in the country and is declared as an archaeological site.

5. Mahiyanganaya is a central hub to explore Sri Lanka

Another interesting aspect about Mahiyanganaya is that it is a central location that connects a traveller to many other tourist destinations of interest within a drive of 2-3hours from Mahiyanganaya, making it an ideal base for an adventurous road trip of Sri Lanka. Mahiyanganaya is situated within 1.5hours from Ella, 2hours from Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya and Dambulla and within 2-2.5 hours from Yala and Arugambay.

If you want to experience the best of Mahiyanganaya, book your stay at Mapakada Village. Situated just 15mins away from the Mahiyanganaya town lies the secluded getaway – Mapakada Village, a sprawling property overlooking the serene Mapakada Lake (මාපාකඩ වැව) with an abundance of natural beauty and wildlife. Mapakada Village is a four-star contemporary resort with tasteful elements that pay homage to its locale. The resort has a large garden with numerous flora and fauna including an infinity pool overlooking the lake. It comprises of 14 well-appointed rooms with views of the garden, infinity pool, wildlife and the lake. It is an ideal retreat for individuals, couples, families and friends seeking to have a memorable holiday away from the busy city life amidst the solitude of nature and an array of unique experiences.

Can you name another Sri Lankan destination with so much that can be experienced in close proximity? Whether you are interested in adventure, nature, wildlife, culture or even just a relaxing holiday, Mahiyanganaya has got something for you.

So, hurry up contact us to make your booking at Mapakada Village now.

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