Knuckles Range protected by UNESCO

The Knuckles Mountain Range lies in central Sri Lanka, northeast of the city of Kandy.

The range takes its name from a series of recumbent folds and peaks in the west of the massif, which resemble the knuckles of clenched fist when viewed from certain locations in the Kandy district. While this name was assigned by early British surveyors, the Sinhalese residents have traditionally referred to the area as Dumbara Kanduvetiya meaning mist-laden mountain range (Cooray, 1984). The entire area is characterized by its striking landscapes often robed in thick layers of cloud but in addition to its aesthetic value the range is of great scientific interest. It is a climatic microcosm of the rest of Sri Lanka. The conditions of all the climatic zones in the country are exhibited in the massif. At higher elevations, there is a series of isolated cloud s, harboring a variety of flora and fauna, some of which could not be found anywhere else in the world. Although the range constitutes approximately 0.03% of the island’s total area, it is home to a significantly higher proportion of the country’s biodiversity.

The importance of the Knuckles Mountain Range is obtained from several factors. It has a parasitical quality to it because of the mountain peaks, the clear and perennial waterways, cloud s and exquisite fauna and flora. Pregnant with history running into several millennia and a veritable treasure house of cultural heritage, the Knuckles Mountain Range can be considered a as a mirror to the past.

Knuckles Mountain Range is unique when comparing with other mountain ranges. Knuckles range is spread from wet zone to dry zone. Because of that dry zone and wet zone climate, structures, flora and fauna can be found in this mountain range. Knuckle Range is one of most important water resource in Sri Lanka.

Knuckles Mountain Range is also important due to the historical value it carries and therefore it can be categorized as one of the valuable heritages in Sri Lanka. The story of Knuckles (Dumbara Hill) goes back into prehistoric periods. It is said that in ancient times, it was referred to as ‘Giri Divaina’ and as ‘Malaya Rata’ and there is archaeological evidence that speaks of ancient Yaksha settlement in the area. People believe that the name ‘Lanka’ is derived which much folklore has gathered over the centuries. The Knuckles Mountain Range is an invariable referent in any salutary appreciation of the last kingdom of the Sinhala Kanda Udarata.


Since the main risen in opposition to both the Southwest and Northwest Monsoons, the area enjoys bountiful rainfalls. For this and other reasons, the Knuckles Mountain Range is counted among the richer of the upper watersheds in the country. In fact from these hills flow the richer of the tributaries to the Mahaweli River. There are three main rivers called the Hulu Ganga, the Heen Ganga, the Kalu Ganga and the Thelgamu oya, which begin from Knuckles Mountain Range. Moreover, there are a number of breathtaking waterfalls and small rivers, which can be found in this area.


Knuckles Range has a high biodiversity in flora and fauna. Most of them are endemic not only to Sri Lanka but also to Knuckles Range. There are more than five vegetation types in Knuckles Range. They are semi evergreen, sub mountain, mountain, grass lands, riverine and pigmy . Semi evergreens can be seen in the lower elevation (below 700m) in the Knuckles Mountain Range. These contain large trees. Sub mountains is in between lowlands and highlands. In knuckles Range, some of some of sub mountain areas are covered from bamboos. That is the reason for name knuckles range as Batadadu Kanda also. Mountain s can be found in high mountain peaks such as Kalupahana and Gomaniyagala. Grasslands can be found in many areas where open to wind. Pitawala Pathana is unique grassland with high bio diversity. Pigmy s can be found in Selevakanda area.