Powered by Blogger.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Environment In Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is shaped like a giant teardrop falling from the vast Indian subcontinent. It is separated from India by the 50km wide Park Strait. The island is just 350km long and only 180km wide.

The southern half of the island is dominated by beautiful hill country. The entire northern half comprises a large plain extending from the edge of the hill country to the Jaffna peninsula.

The highest mountain is the 2524m Mt Pidurutalagala near Nuwara Eliya and the longest river is the Mahaweli which courses from the centre and empties into the Indian Ocean at Trincomalee. The best beaches are on the south-western, southern and south-eastern coasts.

Ebony, teak, silk wood and spectacular orchids are found in the dense South-western tropical rainforests. Hardy grasslands, rhododendrons and stunted forests predominate in the cool, damp highlands, and shrubs and grasslands survive in arid zones in the north. Animal life is profuse and includes the ubiquitous elephant, as well as leopards, deer, monkeys, sloth bears, wild boar, cobras, crocodiles, dugong and turtles. The island is an important seasonal home to migrating birds, including flamingoes, who flock to the lagoons, wetlands and bird sanctuaries for respite from the northern winter. The best time to see birds is between January and April.

Sri Lanka is a typically tropical country with distinct dry and wet seasons with two monsoons: the Yala season (May to August), when the south-west monsoon brings rain to the southern, western and central regions; and the Maha season (October to January), when the north-east monsoon brings rain to the north and east of the island. Temperatures in the low-lying coastal regions are high year round but they rapidly fall with altitude and in the hill country, where it feels like perpetual spring. The highest temperatures are from March through June while November to January is usually the coolest time of the year. Rainfall is heaviest in the south, south west and central highlands; the northern and north-central regions are very dry. The best time to visit the west, south coast and hill country is between December and March. May to September is best on the east coast.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Orchid in Sri lanka

The year-round hot and humid climate
of southwestern Sri Lanka, makes the ideal climate for growing some varieties of orchids, while the dry and cool climates of the central highlands make other varieties thrive, thus making the whole island, except perhaps the dry north eastern sector, one large nursery for many varieties of this exotic bloom.

Originally started as a hobby by the "idle rich," growing orchids, now is a money making hobby for anybody with a green thumb. As the world demand for exotic flowers gets more intense, Sri Lanka seems to be in an enviable position to supply that demand, and earn foreign exchange too. Shown here are some of the more common varieties of orchid.
Since many orchid varieties lack alluring scents to attract life-giving bees and other insects to aid in pollination, they depend on their profusion of colors to lure these insects. Thus, in good nursery one can find orchids of just about any color of the rainbow.

Zoo in Sri lanka

The Zoological Garden Dehiwala -Colombo

Wow! they are big, was the single most frequent comment to come out of my mouth, as I followed the arrows at the Dehiwela Zoological Gardens on a bright Sunday morning.

As my chosen day for a visit was a Sunday, so was it the choice of thousands of others. Do you wonder why the roads are empty on Sundays? Of course, other than the fact that there is no work, well they're all here. The weekday "traffic jam" converted in to the weekend "people jam" is just what it is. I also found out that the average gate (ticket) income is Rs 33,000 per day.

Though the ticket for an adult is Rs 20 and Rs 10 for a child, the zoo does make that much. But it was well worth it. To my eyes all the animals from the fish to the snakes, were all in the big range, which is what brought about the "big" story.

When was the last time you went to the zoo or maybe took your kids? I'm sure "wow! they are big!" definitely wasn't on your list of comments but rather comments like, "Ooh the smell, the animals are so dirty" or "they look so sick," would be better bets.Well on my most recent trip to the zoo, what I found was quite the contrary. The smelly old zoo had been turned into a "new and improved" zoo. The animals and cages were clean, and they were well fed. Actually they are so well fed that the animals are bulging with fur and it's beautiful to see them like that. Specially the leopards and the panthers, they are so big and furry they look so impressive with their well marked coats that glisten as they gently pace up and down inside their cages. And the tigers, they look so healthy and strong with their massive paws and teeth. The lions, who are about ten to twelve in all, were also looking pretty good, although some seemed to be loosing a little hair, I guess it's the tropical sun.

What's the picture that comes to mind when you hear of a hyena? Maybe an ugly small dog-size animal that walks around like it dropped something. Well, it is more like a "big" Alsatian dog-size animal with an ugly face and walks around like it dropped something. I mean these guys are big almost as big as the lions and tigers. It wasn't only the tigers, lions and hyenas that were big, but also some of the birds. Specially the macaws in the new cage at arrow No 5. You can see four different types of macaws in this cage. And I must say their colours are brilliantly beautiful. It's no surprise they catch the eye of many a painter and photographer. Among the new additions are the three seals who have their own performance at 4 p.m. on Sundays. They have been at the zoo since June 1995. The first two who were males were joined recently by a female who came in December 1996 to make it a "threesome", and to describe their show, "packed", would be an understatement. Also the Nocturnal House, that was opened in October 1992, is also an interesting new section at the zoo that houses the animals that live right under our noses but we never get to see and, who usually bring out a broomstick or a scream when seen, like the polecat for instance. Also three squirrel monkeys, two ostriches and two wild horses were imported recently.

Gardens in Sri laknka

Peradeniya Botanical Gardens
Situated in the Hill capital Kandy. This visit to this garden will provide spectacles at extraordinary beauty and absorbing interest for any nature lover and casual visitor. 68 miles off-Colombo, 4 miles off Kandy this garden dates from 14th century reign of king Vikrama Bahu III.

Peradeniya is well know for it's large variety of plants ornaments, useful machine and other creepers that produce the special spices at Sri Lanka. The great lawns highlight huge tropical trees and variety at bamboo can be found in one place.

The best know attraction of the garden is the orchid House, which houses more than 300 varieties of exquisite orchids. A spice garden gives you a first hand introduction to the trees and plants used for the traditional Ayurvedic medicine.
Mahaweli river, Sri Lanka's longest river surrounding this garden gives an added beauty to this garden. It wont be wrong to say that this garden is one of it's best kind in the world and the best in Asia.

Hakgala Botanical Gardens

Where plants and trees from around the world seen at home
Hakgala Botanical Gardens, just 10km away from Nuwara Eliya City. Hakgala is one of the places one visits as an essential part of a pleasant journey in the famous hill resort of Nuwara Eliya. The site is legendary. It was once the pleasure garden of Ravana of the Ramayana epic and according to many, it was one of the places where the beautiful Sitha was hidden by the demon king. The present botanic gardens were founded in 1860 by the eminent British botanist Dr. G.H.K. Thwaites who was superintendent of the more famous gardens at Peradeniya, near Kandy.

It was the site initially for experiments with cinchona whose bark yielded quinine, esteemed as a tonic and febrifuge. Quinine at that time was widely used as a specific for malaria. This was perhaps the reason for the popularity of and tonic in these parts - quinine being the principle ingredient of tonic water.

The cool, equable climate of the hakgala area, whose mean temperature is around 60 degrees Fahrenheit, encouraged the introduction of suitable temperate zone plants, both ornamental and useful. These included conifers and cedars from Australia, Bermuda and Japan, and cypresses from the Himalayas, china and as far a field as Persia, Mexico and California. New Caledonia gave Hakgala a special variety of pines and there are specimens of this genus from the canary Island as well.

An English oak, introduced around 1890, commemorates the "hearts of oak" of Britain's vaunted sea power, and there is a good-looking specimen of the camphor tree, whose habitat is usually in regions above 12,000m.If you have left your heart in an English garden, you will surely find it again in Hakgala's Rose garden. where the sights and scents of these glorious blooms can be experienced in their infinite variety. From there it is a quiet stroll from the sublime to the exotic sophistication of the orchid House. A special attraction here is the verity of montane orchids, many of them endemic to Sri Lanka.

It would be in the worst possible taste to describe the Fernery as a collection of "vascular cryptograms" But that is how the dictionary describes the plant whose delicate fronds conjure up visions of misty grottoes, lichen-covered stones and meandering streams. The Fernery at Hakgala is a shady harbour of many quiet walks, in the shad of the Hakgala Rock, shaped like the jawbone of an elephant, from which the place gets its name. Sri Lanka's ferns are well represented here, as are those of Australia and New Zealand.

Hakgala is a temperate hill-country garden where also the languid low-country lotus and water lily floats in their serene loveliness. Pinks and blues emerging from a flat- floating background of lush leaves, recall the calm of yellow-robed monks, white-clad, devotees and flickering oil lamps.In time, the highlands bracing breezes dispel the languor of lotus land and even cause a shiver as a temperature lowers. The Hakgala Botanical Gardens is one of the lovely contrasts of Sri Lanka, a home to plants and trees from around the world, making them seem to be part of the scenic beauty.
How to get to Hakgala: The nearest railway station is at Nanu Oya, from where there are buses or taxis on the Nuwara Eliya to Badulla road to Hakgala.