Horton's Plains and World's End
Horton plains is a popular national park among locals as well as foreign tourists in Central_Province_(Sri_Lanka) of Sri Lanka. It is a plateau of 2,100–2,300 metres (6,900–7,500 ft) in height. The Horton Plains are the headwaters of three major Sri Lankan rivers, the Mahaweli, Kelani, and Walawe so it was named a national park protecting the area in 1988. Main attractions are the Worlds' end cliff drop and the bakers fall.
The original name of the area was Maha Eliya Thenna (මහ එළිය තැන්න - "great open plain") gieven by the locals. But in the British period the plains were renamed after Sir Robert Wilmot-Horton, the British governor of Ceylon from 1831 to 1837, who travelled to the area to meet the Ratemahatmaya of Sabaragamuwa in 1836, in 1834 by Lt William Fisher of the 78th Regiment and Lt. Albert Watson of the 58th Regiment, who 'discovered' the plateau.
Horton Plains was designated as a wildlife sanctuary on 5 December 1969 and because of its biodiversity value, was elevated to a national park on 18 March 1988. On July 2010, the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka which incorporates Horton Plains National Park, Peak Wilderness Sanctuary and Knuckles Mountain Range was inscribed on the World Heritage List.
Horton plains is a plateau surrounded by some of the highest peaks in Sri Lanka along with the cloud rain forest and windy grasslands makes for a surreal experience. The general landscape is rolling hill country with grassy plains in the midst. The low lying grasslands on the plains are swampy areas with many natural springs, lakes and streams that are scattered throughout the area. Waterfalls can also be found with "Bakers fall" being the most famous. There are several sheer cliff drops the most popular being the Worlds End.
Flora and fauna
Vegetation in the plateau is dominantly montane grasslands scattered in between dense subtropical cloud forests. The trees in the cloud forests are generally short and stunted with many of them covered in lichen, ferns and orchids. Old mans beard can be seen growing nearly everywhere. There is a thick undergrowth in the forests with many shrubs and bamboo types growing. A large number of Sri Lankan sambar deer inhabit the park along with many bird and lizard species. Along with these other large animals include leopards, wild boar, langur(type of monkeys) and giant squirrels.
Climate is highly unpredictable. The area can be engulfed in mist within minutes even in high noon and then be clear and sunny a few moments later. Generally it is cool and moist with small showers common. Specifically Worlds End, on the southern edge, often gets mist from around 8.30-9 AM; this is due to the sun warming up the air in the southern plains forming clouds, which drift towards the central mountains and become fog there.
By rail. Horton plains is near the Ohiya and Pattipola railway stations. Trains from Colombo to Badulla pass this station. Once there you can hire a tuk-tuk/vehicle or choose to walk to the entrance of the park. Beware though there is a significant walking distance so make sure have plenty of time. But timewise, due to having to be at the entrance at 7 AM to avoid mist at Worlds End, it is better to stay overnight and visit the park next morning early.
By Road. You can reach horton plains in three different ways by vehicle.
No public bus routes reach to the park.
Tour Operators Almost all the major tour operators will arrange a tour this place since it is a hot spot for locals as well as foreign tourist. Also there are adventure traveling organizers who go there.
USD 15 which converts to around Rs 2,000
There is no accomodation near the entrance anymore. Ohiya, Nuwara Eliya and Haputale are the closest options.