Extended wildlife

Located about 16km inland to the west of Potuvil is the 1554 hectare Lahugala Kitulana National Park. The Pottuvil-Monaragala trunk road runs through the south-eastern sector of the park. It is 2 km off the main Monaragala – Pottuvil road some 5 km from Potuvil. The park lies between larger wildlife reserves of Gal Oya National Park to the north and Ruhuna Yala National Park to the south. The Lahugala park is part of the protected 'Elephant Corridor' for the elephant population to move freely across the south-eastern part of the island initiated by the Government as a part of its nature and wild life conservation project.

The Lahugala Park was primarily declared as a sanctuary on 1st July 1966 which was later upgraded as a National park on 1st October 1980. Although considered as the smallest national parks in the country, the Lahugala Park is a popular location for elephant enthusiasts and bird watchers. The main reason for the large attraction of elephant herds in this park is contributed to the presence of the beru grass, which grows in the pastures around the main three tanks in the park. With the arrival of rain in October, most of the herds of elephants drift back to their regular haunts.

The tanks are Lahugala, Kitulana and Sengamuwa. The water from these tanks flow in to the Heda Oya. These lakes also support a large variety of birds, local as well as migratory. Being in the dry zone, the land is generally flat with occasional boulder formations. In addition to the elephants, the park is home to the endemic toque macaque, common languor, sloth bear, jackal, rusty spotted cat, fishing cat, leopard, wild bear, Indian muntjac, spotted deer, sambar, pangolin and black napped hare. The tanks and the surround area has become nestling places for wetland birds like pelican, purple heron, painted stork, lesser adjutant stork, white bellied sea eagle, grey headed fishing eagle, common kingfisher, stork billed kingfisher and white breasted kingfisher. Endemic comb duck, rare red-faced malkoha and Sri Lankan Spur fowl too can be seen the park.

On the north to the edge of the park is the Magula Maha Viharaya, an ancient temple built by king Devanmpiyathissa in the second century BC which also attracts tourists.

This temple has a historic Vihara, is said to be the location the king married Princess Vihara Maha Devi. The foundations of the “Magul maduwa” where the wedding ceremony took place can still be seen in the vihara premises. The entire Vihara complex had covered an extent of around 10,000 acres where ruins of a palace, moonstone, monastery, bo-maluwa, stupas, ponds etc. are found scattered all over. The moonstone here is said to be unique in the country as this is the only location where elephants are carved with their mahouts in the moonstone.