Top on the list is the Ruhuna (Yala) National Park. It is the country's best known and the oldest national park, which constitutes Kataragama, Katagamuwa and Nimalawa sanctuaries and Block 1 to 5 strict natural reserve. The Yala Protected Area Complex (YPC) located in the southeastern region, extends over Uva and the Southern Provinces. The YPC plays a very significant role in conserving the country's fauna and flora. Lying within the Hambantota and Moneragala districts, it is the largest agglomeration of protected areas in the country.
All five species of sea turtles - Leatherback, Loggerhead, Olive ridly, Hawksbill and Green Turtle are known to be present in the Yala beaches. Among the other animals _ in addition to various bird species - are elephants, wild buffaloes, spotted deer, wild boar and the black-napped hare. The Asian elephant being Sri Lanka's only mega herbivore, is the most important mammal in Yala. Around 450 elephants are currently roaming in Yala.
Historical and religious sites such as Kataragama, Situlpauwwa and Magul Mahal vihara and many important archaeological sites add greater significance to the area. Located in the YPC's Nimalawa Sanctuary is the Nimalawa Aranya - a Buddhist hermitage - where meditating monks co-exist peacefully with wild beasts.
Block 1 of the park is the most popular area for viewing wildlife in Yala. Elephants are its main attraction, and they are easy to observe and relatively non-aggressive. Seven bungalows are available for visitors located at Paranangala, Mahaseelawa, Butuwa, Yala, Thalgasmankada, Heenwewa and Ondaatchi.
Gateway to Yala is Tissamaharama ton which can be reached from Colombo either through Hambantota or Thanamalwila.


Hundreds of people experiencing problems invoke the help of God Kataragama
One of the great and frequent businesses the Lankans have with their gods is the recovery of health.." wrote Robert Konx in his historical journal many years ago. Ancient chronicles as well as alien adventurers of yore too have recorded their observations about the average Lankan's faith in gods. They were not wrong. Throughout the years, Lankans have sought supernatural help not only to cure their illnesses, but also to solve day to day problems as well as help their businesses flourish. There have been remarkable successes that could perhaps pass off as miracles.
The little hamlet of Kataragama is a place where many Lankans converge to seek favours from the warrior God Skanda, son of Siva, also called Subramaniya. Hundreds of people experiencing problems invoke the help of God Kataragama.
There seems to be a mysterious power that manifests it self in this temple. It was hallowed by the visit of The Buddha more than 2,500 years ago. According to Buddhist annals, King Mahasen was at Kataragama when The Buddha visited the place. Somewhere in 307 BC, King Devanampiyatissa planted a sapling of a Bo tree brought to Sri Lanka by Sangamitta, daughter of the Indian emperor Dharmasoka.