Through the Iron wood Forest to the Rose Quartz Mountain
The Jathika Namal Uyana is the largest iron wood forest and largest pink quartz mountain in Asia. It is situated near the villages of Ulpathagama and Galkiriyagama in the Dambulla area just 7 kilometres away from Madatugama junction of Colombo-Anuradhapura highway. The Iron wood forest and the Rose Quartz mountain range has historical, geographical and archeological significance. It is a place blessed with abundant natural resources. Therefore, during recent times there had been people from many parts of the country as well as around the world coming to witness this marvelous site.
The row of seven pink hued mountains is situated between 180 to 300 meters above the sea level. The view of the clouds touching the pink quartz mountain tops offer a magical sight you can never get enough of. Archeological research reveal that the pink quartz mountain range has a history of more than 550 million years and exploring its diversity is one unique experience.
Namal Uyana had been a sanctuary for Buddhist monks during King Devanampiyatissa’s reign in the 8th century. According to legendary tales during King Dappula’s reign he had declared Namal Uyana as a human sanctuary and also used as a prison camp where the punishment was to plant Iron wood trees. Ironwood is called “Na” tree in Sinhala and it is the national tree of Sri Lanka. The forest extents over 260 acres. The present Na trees of Jathika Namal Uyana are several hundred years old. The finest quality of ironwood is found in Sri Lanka and the Na tree is considered sacred in Sri Lanka as Buddhists believe that the next Buddha will find enlightenment under a Na tree.
According to the biologists Namal Uyana has 102 species of tropical plants of which 82 are herbal plants. All parts of the Na tree are used in Sri Lanka’s ayurvedic medicine. Namal Uyana is also home to around 18 species of birds and mammals including elephant, leopard, monkey and deer. As you enter this natural wonderland you will see a waterfall deriving from pink quartz which flows down in the shape of a type of water drinking cup used by ancient Buddhist monks which is called “Paathra” in Sinhala. The water overflows and diverts into three directions inside the forest.
According to legend, Emperor Shah Jehan had used pink quartz from this mountain for the Taj Mahal.
The Department of Wildlife Conservation declared the Jathika Namal uyana as a National Heritage site. in 2001. The rose quartz mountain was declared as a National Forest Reserve on the 8th of May 2005.
I have been to this place 10 years ago. You need to take a nature trail to reach the pink quartz mountain. During the trek I remember coming across ancient ruins. When you reach the mountain I remember meeting a monk who explained the details about this location.
Its worth the trip.