Most often laden with thick and dreamy mist, Hanthana Mountain Range is a spectacular location that surrounds the hill country. Hence, this episode will cover everything you should know about this beautiful sierra.
Hanthana Mountain Range is located in Kandy, Central Province of Sri Lanka. It consists of seven peaks and rises up to a height of about 3800 feet. This is considered the hikers’ utopia and the main trekking hub in Kandy. You’ll find many water bodies, hillside flora, fauna, and wildlife. At the same time, it is also an ideal location for birdwatching and night camping.
So, keep reading as we will be taking you on a journey through the peaks of the enchanting Hanthana Mountain Range!
What Is Hanthana Mountain Range?
Hanthana Mountain Range is situated southwest of Kandy and extends up to Galaha, which is another area in the Central Province of Sri Lanka. It is located about 1240 meters above sea level, and this is one of the most popular hiking and trekking destinations for local and foreign travelers. The mountain is also pseudonymized as “Adara Kanda”.
Batches of university students have made it a habit to hike the mountain each year. So, there’s a higher probability that you could also meet them on the way to your journey! This mountain reaches about 3800 feet in height with seven peaks, and you’ll find luscious vegetation dispersed all over this beautiful elevation.
Why Do You Think Hanthana Is So Significant?
This magical mountain range is significant for so many reasons. In fact, the Hanthana mountain range was specified as an environmental protection area under the National Environment Act in 2010 due to its rich biodiversity. Thick mist is not unfamiliar to this mountain range, and you might find at least a delicate layer of fog even on a very bright day.
It is very windy on top of the mountain, and it often gets frosty and cloudy. Hanthana is a hidden heaven for butterfly enthusiasts and serious bird watchers! In the meantime, you could find many different types of flowers, plants, creepers and vines, and trees, along with vibrant butterflies, insects, and some endemic mammals.
The freshwater springs on the western edge of Hanthana nourish the waters of the Mahaweli River, and the river’s tributaries split the range’s individual hills. While “Uura Kanda” is the highest peak of the range, “Katusu Konda” is a popular traveling attraction located in Hanthana, with its rocky surface and narrow footpath.
A Quick Flashback At The History Of Hanthana Mountain Range
We actually couldn’t find any historically-related records associated with this mountain range. However, some sources have some evidence regarding this site in near history. According to them, during the 18th and 19th centuries, some parts of this forest had been cleared to set up plantations of tea and rubber.
These plantations were recorded to be an economic failure by the mid-20th century and hence deserted.
However, in the 1960s and 70s, Pinus trees were planted in the vacated parts of the mountain range to set a perennial tree cover to control soil erosion and enable the restrained development of a natural forest ecosystem.
During the early 1990s, some pinus plants had been partially drawn to introduce several designated indigenous plant species into the ecosystem. You’ll still see this lush Pinus plantation when visiting the mountain range.
What Kind Of Experience Can You Get At The Hanthana Mountain Range?
We would rather ask you what kind of experience you “cannot” get at Hanthana! This is literally one of the few places in Sri Lanka that will offer you exhilaration, pleasure, amusement, and you name it- from the start till the end.
In fact, you’ll be able to enjoy your journey even while you reach the starting point of the hike since you get to relish in scenic views all the way through. You might also find little stalls that sell fresh local fruits or steamed corn kernels, depending on the route you take. So you can indulge in a delicious treat before heading to the mountains!
The Real Adventure…
The genuine adventure you get at Hanthana is the hike. The best thing about this spot is that there are many paths and routes to choose from depending on your adventure and exploration levels. You’ll encounter all sorts of tall grass, bushes, creepers, vines, and even meet gorgeous exotic hillside flowers and plants.
Make sure to pack up all your filming and photography devices, as we can promise you that you’ll be immersed in the beauty of the majestic peaks of the Hanthana mountain range while enjoying the calm, serene atmosphere.
Once You Reach The Top…
You’ll be able to catch some of the best views of Kandy town and other neighboring areas like Gampola and Pilimathalawa extending the view towards Nuwara Eliya. And in front of you will be the breathtaking scenery of misty Hunnasgiriya and the Knuckles Mountain Range, including bordering mountains such as:
- Peacock Hills
- Alagalla mountain
- Bathalegala (bible rock)
You will also find some natural freshwater springs and a few other water bodies gleaming in the sunlight.
More Things To Enjoy!
Do not miss out on trekking up to the “Katusu Konda,” which is one of the major attractions you find on this mountain range. As mentioned earlier, it is a rocky surface that resembles the back of the lizard with a narrow footpath on the rim of a huge rock.
Usually, you could experience a huge wind blowing through this spot, which is more suitable for serious adventure lovers since strolling along this place could be risky. Moreover, you can also pack up a picnic for a unique experience. You must have picnicked in parks and gardens before, but a picnic on top of a tranquil mountain- just imagine!
Night Camping At The Hanthana Mountain Range
How would you like to enjoy a magical night under a starry night? Hanthana mountain is not only famous for trekking or hiking. But recently, many travelers have also tended to find this place an amazing night camping spot.
Since you are not well-acquainted with the location, we suggest you seek the help of an experienced tour guide to have your camping night planned. You will not have to get permission from the authorities. But it would be best if you could inform the Explorers’ Club of the University of Peradeniya that you plan to arrange a camping night there.
Since Hanthana is a heritage site of Sri Lanka, you may have to follow several restrictions. You can get the relevant information on this from your tour guide, or you can even contact them directly.
Essential Tips And Things You Need To Know About The Safety And Security When Hiking The Hanthana Mountain Range
First things first, it is important to remember that you are about to explore a place where you will find no residents but just the peaks and nature. Therefore, taking an experienced tour guide with you would be your best bet if you are hiking Hanthana for the first time; especially if you plan to go night camping.
In addition, Hanthana would not be the best place if you have health issues or are pregnant. It is also necessary to remember to wear high socks or boots as you’ll be attacked by leeches, and do not forget to apply insect repellent and sunblock as required. And it is better to wear long sleeves and something that covers your legs completely as the tall grass might irritate your skin.
Additional Safety Notes…
There are reported cases where local and foreign hikers got lost on top of the Hanthana mountain when it was dark. Therefore, it is advisable to start your hike early in the morning and climb down before it gets too dark. Moreover, it is also important that you must be aware of wild animals and avoid heading towards places on top that are too dense.
Moreover, once you reach the top, you will come to many rims and edges, so you need to be very careful as the rocks can be slippery. You should also handle your devices carefully if you are filming or capturing photographs, as they could topple down the hill, and you’ll never find them again!
More Things To Consider…
Hanthana is a place where you should expect rain even at the most unexpected times. So make sure to pack up a raincoat and anything that will help you sustain the showers as needed. Hiking Hanthana with your infants and kids is not really encouraged since the trek can be quite adventurous.
However, you will not get any restrooms on top of the hill, and you will find no drinking water. Thus, pack enough water, as it will take almost half your day to complete the hike, so you won’t let yourself be dehydrated.
And it is crucial to remember that if you are packing up any food/ drinks or a picnic, make sure to carry them in recyclable containers and bring them back with you. Your duty as a responsible traveler is to protect the beauty and intactness of this nature preserve. So, mainly, refrain from taking polythene with you.
How Can You Reach Hanthana Mountain Range?
You can reach the Hanthana mountain range through several routes. You first need to be in Kandy for the convenience of getting to the location. You can use private or public transport to reach Kandy.
From Kandy, it would be easy for you to take a tuk-tuk or hire a private taxi to reach Hanthana. You can pick any of the routes below, which are the most convenient ways to reach the destination:
- Route Hanthana-Uduwela
Attractions Close To Hanthana Mountain Range That Might Interest You
After visiting the mountain, the Ceylon Tea Museum is the closest attraction that you can see. In addition, you could also explore places like:
- The Royal Botanical Garden of Peradeniya
- The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic
- Udawatta Kele Sanctuary
- Kandy View Point
- Bahirawakanda Temple
You can also visit Ambuluwawa Tower, which is towards the Nuwara Eliya side or directly make your way up to Nuwara Eliya. No matter wherever you wish to go, take advantage of your opportunity to indulge in the cultural shopping experience and savor the delicious food in Kandy!
Hanthana Mountain Range Will Give You A Mixed Experience Of Thrill And Serenity!
Hanthana Mountain Range is a virtue to Kandy as it enhances the uniqueness and the charm of the captivating hill city. It is a place that SHOULD BE added to your bucket list if you visit Sri Lanka, as it will give you a lifelong adventurous, blissful, and tranquil experience.
So, we hope we helped you with planning out your trek to Hanthana, and we hope you will share your experiences with this mesmerizing mountain range!