National Ironwood Garden
Jathika Namal Uyana
National Ironwood Garden is a gigantic 60 acre size Ironwood treeforest which was replanted when King Ditugamunu (307-267 B.C) ruled the country. The planting process lasted till the era of King Dappula (IV). Currently this area hosts to the largest forest of Ironwood trees in Asia and there are about 72 rare herbs and endemic plants among these ancient woods.
Archeological site in this forest has ruins of an ancient monastery complex and a palace. Also this area is famous for a massive Pink Quartz Mountain which is estimated to be about 550 million years old. These rocks are believed to be having special healing properties. An ancient inscription named Andiyagala which was placed by king Dappula revealed the past of this priceless forest. According to that, at the beginning of the 8th Century, King Dappula had declared this area as a human sanctuary.It may also be the world’s oldest recorded human sanctuary. According to that any human running away from enemies including king should have been forgiven in this forest.
Ironwood tree is the national tree of Sri Lanka and it is native to Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Papua New Guinea. It is called Jathika Namal Uyana in Sinhalese and recently declared as a National Heritage site by the Department of Wildlife Conservation in Sri Lanka.This is located about 7kms from Madatugama junction of Colombo-Anuradhapura road. This beautiful place was hidden to the modern world until it was brought to attention by Wanawasi Rahula Thero who is the chief incumbent of Jathika Namal Uyana at present about some 15 years ago. He settled in and built a tree house 40 feet high in a Mora tree and meditated there. Later he settled in a hermitage and currently safe guards the ironwood forest continuing the duty carried out by Buddhist monks in the past two millennia.