The Yala Park is about 20 minutes (8 km) drive from Arana and the main execursion that attracts adventurers from all around the world. In Yala you will find 44 varieties of mammal and 215 species of bird, with the Sri Lankan Leopard being the star attraction as Yala happens to be the world’s biggest concentration of leopards. Among it’s majestic ensemble of animals are elephants, sloth bears, sambars, jackals, spotted deer, peacocks and crocodiles. The best season to visit Yala is during the dry season from February to July when the water level is low and the animals roam out in search of water.
This park is for the birdwatchers among you as it is a wintering ground for migratory water birds and is a resting place for 197 species of birds, the highlight being the greater flamingo. This park is located 30 minutes (25 km) away from Anana Yala and is another great park to observe and be with nature.
This gorgeous beach park features bright red cliffs and plains that are boarded by an uncharted beach that begs you to dip yourself in it. This park is located an hours drive (54 km) away from Arana and is a breathtaking place to enjoy a peaceful beach that isn’t populated by tourists. A combination of mountains and beaches make up this beautiful setting and you can spend hours on the beach there.
Kirinda temple marks a place with a lot of historical significance. It is believed that Queen Viharamahadevi who had been cast off into the ocean as a sacrifice had been washed ashore here. The shore leading away from the temple gets secluded as you go and you can enjoy a quiet strip of beach to yourself too. Be mindful to dress modestly when you enter the temple grounds.
Located 40 minutes (26 km) away from Arana is the sacred pilgrimage town of Kataragama which is visited by Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims alike. Ruhunu Maha Kataragama Devalaya is a shrine dedicated to Skanda Kumara also known as the deity of Kataragama while Kiri Vehera is a Buddhist Stupa that was built by King Mahasena.
Usually held in July or August this perahera or procession is celebrated in the name of God Skanda and is a mesmerising spectacle. The procession runs every night for about two weeks and ends with the water cutting ceremony on the last day.
Sri Lanka is famous for its intricate irrigation systems that were built as far back as Tissa Wewa (22 km) and Yoda Wewa (8.7 km) are both notable irrigation systems built during 3rd Century BC. To this day, these giant water bodies provide water to cultivation systems in the area and sustain the livelihood of the people.