Birding at Kaludiya PokunaBack
Hidden deep in the forest close to Kandalama, the ancient ruins of Kaludiya Pokuna are all that is left of a Buddhist Monastery built more than 1200 years ago. Shrouded in secrecy by the thick surrounding jungle, the ruins host a biodiverse range of wildlife. Totally off the usual tourist map and near enough forgotten, at this unique site you are unlikely to hear anything other than birdsong and the occasional rustle of animals moving through the thicket. Being largely neglected and in a much greater stage of decay than many of the more famous sites in the area, the allure of Kaludiya Pokuna is in its wild untamed beauty. These are ruins that seem to have been re-claimed by the jungle, and within their thick foliage lives a much wider variety of birds than you are likely to see in the surrounding areas, making this the ideal spot for birding.
Take a jeep ride up to the border of Kaludiya Pokuna and then explore on foot from there on. Entering the area, you’ll trek on a footpath surrounded by wild grass and filled with birds, both endemic and migrant. Your naturalist will help you to identify the birds you see as you trek deeper into the jungle, finally reaching the crumbling ruins of the main site. Take a look at the old dagoba, the mysterious Stonehenge-like rocks jutting out of the forest floor and the medieval text inscribed on the edge of a cave, thought to mark the presence of treasure in the area. It might not be much today, but this ancient site still seems to retain the energy and imprint of thousands of years of prayer and it is not hard to see why ancient kings escaped to this site to meditate. The peacefulness of the jungle sucks you right in. Kaludiya Pokuna is the perfect early morning excursion to really get away from it all and revel in the unerring beauty of Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle; diverse, awe-inspiring, and endlessly impressive.