District Boundaries and Geographical  Background

                   Matale District is considered as the central region of the island & the total area is 1993.3Km². It deputes Northern part of the Central Province Spreads from 80. 28˚ to 80.59˚ Easton altitudes & from 7.24˚ to 8.01˚Nothern latitudes.  It is an area content with natural resources and bounded North by Anuradapura, East by Polonnaruwa, Badulla & Ampara   , and West by Kurunagala & South by Kandy Districts. 

                There are folklores receipt of the name “Matale” .One of it is the area called MaThula Colony   has been assigned to his uncle by King Pandukabhaya, later become as Matale.  As The King Gajaba invaded “Soli Rata” and brought & settled 12000 peoples in here this become as Matale. It is mentioned that “Mahatala” become as Mat ale because it is placed in a valley and surrounded by many mountains & this view can be accepted today also.

                Matale District consists of 11 Divisional Secretary’s Divisions & 1373 villages.  The current population is more than 400.000 & Sigiriya which is a wonderful creation in the world   & Knuckles Mountain which is a natural heritage, increase beauty of Matale District. 

Matale District Map


Geographical Background.

     The situation of Matale District portrays the northern part of Central Province in Sri Lanka and the geographically matters portray the maps of Dambulla, Nalanda, Kurunegala Polonnaruwa, Elahera and Rangala (scale 1:325000) of  Matale District land use planning office.  

     Matale district enriches with Kotcite, Nice, Granite, Calcimine Lime stones, Dolomite, Kindlier kind Gannet, Silimanite, Zest and Graphite stones. The mountain ranges basically contain with Chan kite. This basic stone makes Anticlines and Synclines complex structures with the effect of time and inner earth. For this the best example is Knuckles mountain range. The mountain range contains eroding stones. This situation leads to severe lands slides in that particular area.

     According to the Geological category the valley of Mahaweli situates in the Matale district eastern boundary falls to Vijayan grade. This area is a Mahaweli river’s one of flooded area. Therefore the area especially contains with very rich soil varieties making many fertile lands for paddy cultivation.

     There are three major geographical divisions of the district.

1 Northern   Flat Lands

2 Matale Valley and   Knuckles Mountain Ranges

3 Laggala Parallel Mountain Ranges

     Northern flat lands contain with Dambulla, Galewela and Pallepola divisional secretary divisions. This land normally is a flat land, but there are several mountain peaks. Also this land is a rough land and Sigiriya Dambulla and Beliyakanda are historically most valuable places of the District. Normally this land altitude is 500-1000 feet. There are several tanks locate in this rough land since the ancient times. The major tanks are Kandalama and Dewahuwa, while Inamaluwa, Talkote and Sigiriya become minor tanks. Many tanks of Rajarata are fed by Sub Rivers of this valley. Kalawewa and Minneriya tanks are among them.

     Matale area is nicely placed in a valley and surrounded by many mountains and hills. Knuckles, Guruluhela, Pansaltenna, Ovilikanda and Hunnasgiriya are lying among huge mountains. The natural beauty of the district is being added more values by the river of Sudu Ganga, flowing through the city. The many streams and water channels falling from these mountain ranges are constantly feeding the river and making the prosperous lives of dwellers around the area.  When traveling from Matale to Wilgamuwa via Rattota, it is very possible to have nice view of beautiful Knuckles which seems as a fist of a human-being. The mountain is 4000 feet in height. This is the one of highly protected area in the island. Lakegala and Kalupahana are also some of popular peaks of the area due to many reasons.

     Laggala parallel mountain ranges are the special feature in eastern bound of the Knuckles Mountain. This region contains with three parallel mountain ranges. These are spreading from south to the north bound. One spreads from Telambugala to Wasgamuwa. Second one spreads from Wamarapugala to Amban Ganga via Ranamure. The third one is not seen clearly but it is spreading from Rambukoluwa to Laggala Udasiya Pattu. The water streams start from these mountains and join Amban Ganga at the northern limits.

     The district forest extension is also complex. Its center, southwest and west parts contain up-country rain forests. Northern and Laggala-Wilgamuwa parts contain low country dry forests. The district is experienced both monsoons. But the north-east monsoon is heavier than the south-west monsoon. The knuckles mountain range is extremely high in bio-diversity and which is known as a national heritage of the country.  A small plains situated near Pitawala village in this area is also important the  place is mostly relate to the Hortain plains and one end of the plains is having a deep drop of the land, known as “Punchi Lokanthaya” among the community.

     The district has possessed a variety of mineral resources since ancient time. Laggala, Kaluganga and Hattota Amuna have been   famous for gems over many years. Wariyapola and Kaikawala are famous for mica. Talagoda and Owala- Rattota are famous for ceramics and also lime and granite industry have functioned as a major scale industry in this district, creating more benefits the residents. 

A Glimpse of History

     In the pre-ancient era, the many witnesses say that “Yaksha Gothra” had been living in the Matale area over considerable period of time. According to the written witnesses found, they had lived mainly in northern and eastern bounds of  the district. The isolated mountain peaks which situated in the area had been more supportive to their life styles. A 3000 years old dead body, found near Ibbankotuwa, Dambulla is obviously bringing the proof the above saying.

     During the sway of The Great King Rawana, 4000 years ago his capital city has been Lankapura which locates close to Lakegala Laggala. Still there are many memories being left to be seen which belong to The Great King Ravana in Lakegala.

     According to the history Kuweny’s native place has been Bambawa, Galewe. Her farther’s name was Bamba, and he was the ruler in that area. After the destruction of “Yaksha Gothra” that area had been left as ruins.

     Early settlers were built the first civilization in the 1st century BC the settlements were spread all over the island, because of insufficient water supply for paddy cultivation. The historical implications noted that King Gajaba (I) invaded “Solie Rata” and brought 12000 peoples here and settled them mostly in Matale District. There are 17 settlement places situated in Matale District, many are in Galewela and Pallepola areas.

    During The sway King Walagamba era (BC 89-77) is known as the renowned and renaissance period of Matale District. The king Kashyapa period is the next golden era of Matale District (AD 470-497). After the assassination of his father, the king Kashyapa selected Sigiriya as his kingdom later Sigiriya “Alakamadawa” became a world heritage and its attractive frescoes populated all over the world which brings thousand and thousand tourists annually

Todays’ Matale

     The current population of Matale is more than 400,000, and majority is Sinhalese Buddhists. There are some Muslims and Tamils occupation in the district too. The main cities of the district are Matale, Dambulla, Galewela and Rattota. Main income source is agriculture while paddy becomes the main crop of the district. In addition to that the minor export crops and vegetables are also being cultivated in the district. There are several major scale tea factories in the district too. The Paddy is mostly being cultivated with irrigated water in Dambulla and Wilgamuwa.

     Vegetable crops are also cultivated successfully in the district. Mostly the big onions and tomatoes are growing well in the area. Dambulla and Yatawatta are the bulk producing areas of the district.  

     Several numbers of historically important places are located in Matale district. One is most impressive place called Sigiriya which is now making new addition to the world history as the eight wonder of the world. There are many religiously important places like Aluvihare, Sri Muttumari Amma Kovil, Wahakotte Church, Nalanda Gedi Gee, and Menikdena Temple, while Lakegala, Knuckles Mountain and Wasgamuwa National Park are making more aesthetic values. There are some star range hotels located at Dambulla, Elkaduwa, Matale and Rattota areas. Rangiri Dambulla International Cricket Stadium situated in Matale District is enhancing the reputation of the district.

     The Exipeldspor, Zircon and Gems are mostly economically valuable natural mines which bring  wealthy and prosperity to the  people living in the district.  Especially, Laggala and Wilgamuwa areas are considered as very remote areas in the island

District Natural Resources

     Matale district enriches with Kotcite, Nice, Granite, Calcimine Lime stones, Dolomite, Kindlier kind Gannet, Silimanite, Zest and Graphite stones. The mountain ranges basically contain with Chan kite. The Exipeldspor, Zircon and Gems are mostly economically valuable natural mines which bring wealthy and prosperity to the people living in the district.

Main Livelihood of the District

     Matale District contents various climate varieties including wet and dry zones. Various agricultural crops have been cultivated within the district based on this climate pattern. Accordingly the agriculture sector concern is the main livelihood division.   The main cultivation is paddy. Further big onion, additional crops, vegetables are also take major part. Paddy is cultivated in Wilgamuwa division under Minipe Scheme as well as big onion and vegetables are cultivated in Dambulla division.

     In addition minor exporting crops take major part in the district. large number of people engaged in this sector & living in Matale, Yatawatta, Ukuwela, Ambanganga Korale, Rattota, Laggala, Naula, and Pallepola divisions. Pepper, Coffee, Cocoa and Clove take major part among the other crops.

     Moreover Laksha, Coir, Confectionery, Clay, Bricks, Gems and Bakery industries are other major manufactures in the district. Considerable number of people engaged in these sectors.

 (Last update 24/06/2016)