Few years ago, when we thought about “hang out spots” in Colombo, there were only few to be named. It might sound funny, but in reality, the only well known, and able-to-spend-some-time without paying money places were Galle Face Stretch, Majestic City or Liberty Plaza 😛 Let’s be real! Where else did you have other than these? Ok, Marine Drive can also be one, but was it really a Time-Pass spot?
Understanding this pain, the government gifts us with a little more options during the last couple of years. Diyatha Uyana, Independance Square (Arcade), The Dutch Hospital, Urban Wetland park in Nawala, are a few to be named. When we were about to complain that we need more parks, here we are gifted with one again! The Beddagana Urban Wetland Park.
This park holds more value towards nature, than just a let’s-hold-hands-and-walk park. It is home for many endemic birds and other types of species such as dragonflies, butterflies and a few mammals. The sanctuary, serves as a “Transit” location for the migrant birds during their migrating season, August to April.
Spanning throughout 18 hectare in extend, the park is located in Sri Lanka’s administrative capital, Sri Jayawardenapura, Kotte. It is very close to the parliament complex and few other government institutes situated in Battaramulla.
To get there, you have to drive through Etul Kotte from Rajagiriya, and you get a turn towards Beddagana Road. From there, the drive is easy, as you find a unmissable sign, indicating the park, which is found to your left side. After few meters, you find a large parking area, but we were a bit lazy to walk early morning. So we drove until the park entrance (or the ticket counter) and parked right in front of it 😛 We excused ourselves for doing so, as it was early morning, and it was less crowded.
Best time to arrive
This park can serve for many purposes. If you are visiting for Bird watching, you might as well think like a bird and wake up early. By early, I mean to be at the park by 6am. Right when it opens. Or, you can think like a bird again and go in the evening, which I believe would be a crowded time. There were only two more people in the park when we visited, so it gave us an undisturbed view of birds. We were at our own phase to photograph and enjoy, so I suggest you visit it in the morning.
As I mentioned earlier, the actual entrance to the bird sanctuary is a bit further in from the entrance. You see a thatched-like hut, which is the ticket counter. While I’m not sure if it is a different charge for foreigners, the charge for the locals is Rs. 50/= .
Must say, the park is beautifully done! Those wooden paths put upon the marshy lands reminds me of Jetwing Kurulubedda. Directions are given along the paths, such as ‘Butterfly Walk’, ‘Duck Pond’ etc. At some places, you get a display of information, with the species/ butterflies/ birds you can see at that particular point. This is an ideal place to visit for education, as well as for photography projects. You also get viewing decks in different places towards the Diyawannawa lake. This is probably to get a better view of the sunset or sunrise. Also, you get an elevated viewing deck right in middle of the park, at where the duck pond is.
So, did we see any Birds?
YES! we did. Mostly the asian Koel (Koha, as we know). Interesting birds are the different types of ducks you get around the marshy lands. There are plenty of fancy looking bluish green birds from the entrance, till the end. You can comment if you identify who this bird is, as I have little knowledge on the names. Not only Birds, we saw some beautiful butterfly types too. And Dragonflies! There was about 6 types of them too. I fancied a blue colored, and a black and white uber chic one.
While we walked in the path closer to the lake, we saw a monitor ahead of us running (poor fellow had a pathetic speed). So you get them too. If you are lucky enough, you can see Fishing cats also, according to information guide we saw at the ticket counter.
While walking out, we were amazed that there is such a scenic, green area with a high level of biodiversity, in middle of Colombo. In one side, it is the bustling city Battaramulla and on the other, lies one of the most popular residential area, Etul Kotte. In middle, lies this beautiful Green entity, which is a responsibility of every visitor to protect and preserve while they enjoy.