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Magnificent ‘Madu Ganga’

A breezy boat ride on the Madu Ganga will not only take your breath away but will invigorate your senses and uplift your soul. The Madu River, situated in the Galle District is a fitting example of the intricate river channels which decorate our country’s south west coast.

In the global context, the ecological importance of this site has garnered it the ‘Ramsar Wetland’ status in 2003 being the second largest wetland in Sri Lanka with a colossal 915 hectares with 23 islands inhabited by nearly 300 families. The Madu Ganga Sanctuary is now a Tourist Development Area and a Special Area Managed (SAM) by the Coast Conservation Department. Balapitiya is where the ‘Madu Ganga’ makes its home.

Along with the smaller Randombe Lake, to which it is connected by two narrow channels, it forms the Madu Ganga wetland. Its estuary and the many mangrove islets on it form a complex coastal wetland ecosystem. It has a high value in ecological, biological and aesthetic significance, home to 303 species of plants belonging to 95 families and to 248 species of vertebrates. Madu Ganga is possibly one of the last remaining tracts of pristine mangrove forests in Sri Lanka. Prawn farming stations also exist along the Madu Ganga.

During the pre-colonization period, Madu Ganga was a pivotal point where one of the main water ways connected cities and ancient Sinhala kingdoms together. It is claimed that the main secret of the Madu Ganga is its subtle tide. On any occasion during the low tide, the sea water comes inland and blends with the fresh water and in the evening, the opposite happens creating an exciting natural formation.

The Amarapura Nikaya had its first Upasampada (higher ordination ceremony) on a fleet of boats anchored upon it in 1803. The Madu Ganga santuary is also home to a wealth of flora and fauna. At Diga-duwa (Long Island), bear witness to several plants which are used in ayurvedha having stood the test of time.

Streaming and meandering along the way, the peace and solitutude at Madu Ganga inspires you to be concerned about Mother Nature.

Further along the way, another small islet described as Satha Pahe Dupatha has a nearly 800 years old Dewalaya but without a holy statue. Koth Duwa has a temple which is called Kothduwa Raja Maha Viharaya. The main treasure of Madu Ganga is its mangroves that act as a bio-lock to the area by giving protection to the variety of aquatic plants and animal life.

They provide a home for different kinds of aquatic plants, crabs, shrimps, fish, various invertebrates and other animal life including crocodiles. In earlier years, Madu Ganga and its islets were renowned for their mangroves, but these are now increasingly under threat.

Courtesy: SundayObserver



Posted on Sunday, February 28, 2010 @ 14:26:20 LKT by

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