The Knuckles Mountain Range covers parts of Kandy and Matale districts and is separated from the Central Hills by the Mahaveli Valley to the South and East and the Matale Valley to the West. Its name derived from its shape of a clenched fist, which forms a scenic wonderland. What makes the Knuckles Forest/Mountain Range unique is the geographical character of its location. Perpendicular to the mountain range that runs from Laggala to Urugala runs three distinct but lesser ranges while there are other minor ranges running parallel to it. There are a total of 34 clearly identified such ranges with in the 62 square miles that makes up 3000-6500feet in height.
Knuckles Mountain Range is 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.
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 crystal clear and perennial waterways, cloud forests 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.
A remarkable feature of this area is that most of the climatic conditions of Sri Lanka can be found with in the extent of a mountain range. All these hanging climatic conditions can be experienced within half and hour walk through this valley. The location of the hills, the particular effect of the monsoons and the wind factor generate a certain climatic diversity to the area. In fact in these hills one can find characteristics of all the key ecological zones found in the country.
Average annual rainfall lies between 3000-5000ml, and temperature of the region ranges between 5.5 degrees and 35 degrees Celsius. It is through a gap in the mountain that the winds of Southwest Monsoon enter to the Dry Zone. The average wind speed has been measured to be approximately 7.2km/hour and humidity in the range lies between 57%-90%.
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 and the Kalu Ganga, which begin from Knuckles Mountain Range. And there are a number of breathtaking waterfalls and small rivers, which can be found in this area. Even to day as was in the ancient days water from Knuckles Mountain Range feeds the ancient irrigation works such as Parakrama Samudraya
Mountains / Peaks
Nowhere else in Sri Lanka, in area of comparable size, does one find such a collection of magnificent peaks. The peaks over 3000 feet are listed below.