Chariot Path

sattelite-imageCrew : 11

Transportation : Bus (Kandy – Pussellawa), Hired Van (Pussellawa – Perettazi (Frotoft) Division), Hiking (Frotoft – Chariot Path – Mooloya Estate) , Bus ( Hewaheta – Kandy)

Duration : Two Days

(Please note that the path marked on the map is not a GPS track but only a graphical representation, Red triangle is the place we put our tents but i recommend camping on the place marked by a green triangle)

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Day 1day-1

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Day 2day-2-1

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Me and my friends wanted to go on a bit simpler camping trip with less hiking and less adventures. After considering many locations a place called “Chariot Path” on the Piduruthalagala Mountain Range was decided as the final destination. This year the monsoon patterns were bit odd, so it wasn’t raining on December 2016 to “Chariot Path”.

“Chariot Path” is believed to be the path that King “Rawana” took Princess “Seetha” from the Capital “Lankapura” to “Ashoka Vatika” (now Nuwara Eliya). Some say they traveled by “Dandu Monaraya” (The wooden airplane) but the common belief is that they traveled by a “Chariot” and for some reason the path remains “treeless” while all surrounding is covered with  montane rain forests. It is said that there is a pond created by fallen tears of Princess “Seetha” on top of the hill.

Many of my friends confirmed their participation as it was a long weekend and we decided to start the trip from Kandy around 8 am as few of them had to travel long distances. It was about 8.20 am when all arrived, but NuwaraEliya Bus at the stand was full. As we had many bags to carry and had a hike ahead, we got in to a “Pudaluoya” bus which travels via Pussellawa. But then another NuwaraEliya bus came and it departed well before the bus we were sitting in. But as we already took tickets, we stayed and the bus left Kandy around 9.10 am. Most of us were meeting after a long time, so had many to catch up while traveling. The main bottle neck of our journey was the part from “Pussellawa” to Frotoft Division in Delta Estate as the road conditions were bad and buses were less. As our contact said we had to be there before 9.30 am to get a seat in the 10 am bus to Frotoft from Pussellawa. Therefore we decided to hire a van from Pussellawa to make the traveling times more flexible. We reached Pussellawa around 11am and had some short eats and tea as the brunch and brought some more short eats for the hike. We were able to hire a van for 3500 LKR and realized it was very reasonable price considering the road conditions and the distance.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

dscf2233

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15385376_10206524124855542_5115927853510107480_o15385528_10154563042215412_4991068779257120697_o

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15578280_10154563054270412_255887961647420639_o15391370_10154563058985412_5427485688890088632_o………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15540803_10154562994260412_7695592329365219194_o………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

The road was surrounded by a lush green tea plantation of Delta Estate, Pussellwa and the views were amazing. We saw Kothmale reservoir from Frotoft, way up on the bendy gravel road. We contacted a person (Christoper Nimal 0767189381) in Frotoft well before the trip by a number obtained by a previous group of travelers and asked his help to find the way to Chariot Path. As we reached the Frotoft Old Hospital, he came there and guided us with another friend of his.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15540829_10206524224738039_8701796078418380667_o15419739_10211043007419171_2019282995394611522_o………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15443041_10154563047000412_272860043048957997_o15493505_10206524076654337_8411459346224430125_o

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15493831_10154563044995412_8324668132046854330_o………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

The first few kilometers of the path was on the dirt roads of delta estate and was comparatively easy to walk. Most of us had ordinary backpacks (for laptops) and had difficulties carrying heavy loads with back pain. The guides took us in to a small foot path towards a misty wall of mountains. It was a “one man” path along the montane forest for most of the hike and the climb was steep. As it was covered with thick forest, the steepness kept hidden to eyes but was feeling on our knees and legs. We took many water and Chocolate breaks to catch our breath. After about 2.5 hours of hiking we reached the top and was mesmerized by the scenery.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15540742_10154563008095412_6384170988135530900_o15418455_10211043017219416_6228597587335857180_o………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15440377_1578260165524183_1391199777759804478_o15493630_10154563029705412_8588243793196902565_o………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15578304_10154563024300412_3103792330030152759_o

15391450_10154562974660412_5278687397943917408_o

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

It was over our expectations and we spent hours looking far in to the horizon and taking photographs. Our guides helped us to collect some firewood and showed “Seetha Pokuna” (Believed to be the tear pond of Princess Seetha). Water in “Seetha Pond” doesn’t flow, so it is said to have a certain saltiness. There is a spring nearby for drinkable water. The wind was strong and we had to put on our jackets and monkey caps. Then our guides went back home, leaving the whole mountain to us. Many of us took our next Facebook Profile pictures with this amazing background!

😀

Just after we finished collecting firewood, we saw some other group of hikers arriving the location via the steeper side of the mountain and later got to know that they were lost on the way but reached the destination after many kilometers of tiring climb.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15493266_10154563035330412_1834532671759162481_o

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15385383_1635748426438724_831416949878223175_o15403814_10154563018270412_4080080640248843416_o………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15385449_10154563066955412_8253825085535898985_o………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15493347_10154563064015412_2556079603001063864_o15419690_1635747449772155_8181761677228313703_o………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15443159_10154563024135412_6213803174216309792_o………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15419556_10154563058070412_2062184644552672672_o15419724_10154563032670412_701240514748441704_o………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15403727_10154563037390412_2446656649998834035_o………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15578123_10154563029415412_5586818504145527301_o15578212_10154563055580412_833915728827695155_o………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15540628_10154563057865412_7887384599379225454_o………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15540815_10154563012540412_3795369054613074700_o

15578291_1635748893105344_556458180547158877_o

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15540873_10154563049235412_1461478653904841690_o15577888_10154563155205412_9100032430063339125_o………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15578078_10154563044570412_3306800590186197521_o15578262_1635747266438840_6940569007563583089_o………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15493743_10154562999165412_2781679725437927815_o

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

We decided to set up our tents before dusk and it was very difficult to find a suitable place due of heavy winds. Four of us had to always hang on to the corners of each tent to stop them from flying before pegging and then put our backpacks inside to make sure the tents wont fly. I have bought a tent for our Knuckles – Thunhisgala Hike but couldn’t use it as we stayed in KMP wadiya, so this was the first time it was being used. It was easy to setup and had ample space, only concern was the rain as it didn’t had a separate rain cover, which every other tent had. As we finished setting all four of our tents, another group of 12 hikers reached the Chariot path. 😛 (We thought this location was unpopular, but seemed it is not as another two groups camped there on the same day). Both other groups were enthusiastic hikers too and was friendly. We planned Instant noodles for our dinner, bread for next day breakfast and cream corn (canned) for lunch. One of my friends brought a Kerosene Cooker so we thought it will be easy to prepare our meals. But mist and heavy winds turned it around. When we looked, the lighting part of the lamp was missing and we had to tear apart a handkerchief and make one. Even then the gushing misty wind didn’t allowed us to lit the cooker so we decided to interchange the Breakfast and Dinner hoping we would be able to lit it in the morning.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15440317_10154563127895412_2276379886462762755_o15418444_10206524203377505_6060037070461920273_o

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………15443187_10154563069595412_1434106472806961466_o15540831_1635750116438555_2948073924027488679_o

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15540697_10206524202097473_6591688519556577262_o

15493590_10154563090645412_8167578870612565346_o

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15578363_10154563052485412_3163187010769612308_o

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15540690_10154563136515412_8731652554313458461_o

15440510_10154563126520412_2723082973037101071_o

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15578332_10154563096930412_8729397847970480030_o

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

One of the tents were big enough for all eleven of us to get and sit in. We have brought Jam and Seeni Sambol, so bread was tasty and then we had chocolates for dessert. We talked for a while and went to our respective tents to sleep. Luckily few friends remained in the large tent had tried and lit the cooker after a while. We only got to know that when they invited us to have a cup of coffee in the ice cold night. Any of us didn’t thought that it would be this cold and was great to have something hot to drink. We came back to the tents after the coffee and prepared to take a nap. The grassy mountain floor made the tent floor a bit comfortable and we laid a blanket over it. No one had sleeping bags but blankets saved us from freezing. I slept for a while and woke up hearing a sound. Wind was stronger than it was and the noise it made was loud. The  sound came again and I was relieved when I realized it were my friends in the other two tents talking to each other at 3 am!!!

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15418434_10154563086850412_4889361789102987843_o………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15578086_10154563095385412_7628840287403470377_o15578237_10206524020052922_6224723367028831604_o………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15493505_10154563125510412_2332933197892165309_o15440398_1578257092191157_3796716219361097002_o………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

After many roll overs to avoid freezing and find the perfect sleeping spot, I fall asleep and woke up around 8 am. Almost all others were then awake and preparing breakfast. We had instant noodles, Eggs, Sausages and Meatballs. It really energized us after a freezing night. One of the groups camped there, went back while we were having breakfast and the other group had trouble making a fire using firewood so we lend them our cooker for preparing breakfast. That group was planning to camp there for two days, so we gave them the firewood we collected and remaining “ready to eat” food. Then we had to take a vote for the route back home. Few said (including me) to use the same route we came up but most others wanted to try the longer route via “Mooloya Estate”. We came out of that tent and found out some feces of an animal! Someone must have visited the place in night but we didn’t hear anything. :O

We refilled our water bottles from the spring nearby and packed our bags. It was kind of a nice thing to see that all other campers were concerned about the environment and took back everything they disposed. We too took many garbage bags and dumped everything to them so we had extra bags to bring down.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15578142_10154563087140412_3451324792545723097_o15392987_10154563121215412_7333302847015466369_o………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15577910_10154563121535412_7469819752852787560_o15403879_1578257095524490_5584983244934715601_o………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15403887_10154563120480412_21776578754736266_o………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15391355_10206524049573660_2236072131232961246_o15541082_10154563096025412_1009250341288112256_o………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15443116_10154563111515412_9208123857195424930_o

15418382_10154563132580412_155959206164113270_o

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

The path from “Chariot path”to “Mool Oya” Estate lies via a thick montane forest but the foot path was clearly visible guaranteeing us a safe passage. There were many loose stones and slippery edges, but all managed to climb down safely. We crossed two small waterfalls on the way. Few kilometers after, we reached to a point where the foot path became an abandoned gravel road, with signs that those parts of the estate must have used for tea plantation a long time ago. With wide road, walking was easy and we came to an old concrete bridge with an overlooking hut. The hut was in good condition and we thought of having a break there. Many of us jumped into the shallow pond before the small waterfall and freshened up by cold crystal clear water. Then we had Cheese and Cream Cracker Biscuits as our brunch and started the walk again.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15123368_10154563157910412_4939454406700809083_o

15392978_10154563088975412_1767063473484265767_o

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15540764_10211042989618726_1112527420101767949_o15403639_1578262138857319_1546457505697419227_o………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

day-215493605_10154563150130412_4605090504300957442_o

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15391402_10154563172925412_461970190555035984_o………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15392794_10154563183160412_3492769139005096945_o

15392978_10154563088975412_1767063473484265767_o

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15419585_1578260162190850_2901884535058457533_o

15440451_10154563160645412_276189017409177269_o

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15578307_10206524030653187_4773345401410174658_o………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15443053_10154563161155412_9143164400636824081_o15443073_10211042986898658_8783396784142654788_o………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

We reached to the tea plantation just few minutes from the waterfall and asked the ladies working there for directions. The views were amazing with the sun hidden behind mist over the mountains. After around 4 Kilometer walk from the top of the tea plantation, we reached to a carpet road and continued the descend. Next there was the Mool Oya Tea Factory and we luckily found a Van (Operating as a replacement to buses) to travel rest of the distance to Hewaheta. All 11 of us managed to get in to the already filled van and reached Hewaheta within half an hour. There was an empty bus parked in the halt which goes directly up to Kandy, so we happily settled in. It was around 5 pm when we reached back to Kandy.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15385288_10154563189995412_7935345695786023157_o15385335_10154563193420412_1873924198654727616_o………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15403825_1578263718857161_3232288456645566456_o

15385514_10154563169605412_1732110739721402093_o………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15492459_10206524099094898_3922095560971821436_n15391108_10206524180096923_2673506006147540580_n………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15391260_10206524205737564_3056869998746190474_o15391296_10206524206577585_3143501194852201436_o………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15392781_10206524189177150_6376197091559678746_o15403872_10206524174896793_6833749632012097854_o………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15384365_10154563221305412_1730262033766155502_o15385509_10154563205855412_5896303680451345321_o

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15380477_10206524180016921_5315461839903277500_n15390699_10206524169216651_1538392514297613689_n………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15418309_10206524190497183_91255652757086834_o15440362_1578263978857135_1099002538069470822_o………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15578183_1578263362190530_4939986831401182479_o15440348_1578258892190977_3645576649985710338_o………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15392944_10154563207310412_2571779518555174415_o15418536_10154563210985412_3160885738644424159_o………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15541009_10154563202035412_6527900457155017528_o

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15493319_10154563188670412_4165317828562488224_o15578242_10154563168860412_4280469677546228589_o………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15384494_10211043029219716_8771847723466134636_o15384631_10154563182260412_7483688179128329462_o………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15443267_10154563193480412_8600804001055248266_o15578327_10154563220220412_3653621777503690770_o………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15440412_10211043013819331_7941074837549583240_o

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15443122_10154563211610412_6973901505079999458_o

15443099_10154563221300412_2340567627027971754_o

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

15418595_10154563215955412_7373556569906074844_o………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Advertisements

Uthuwankanda

map1Crew: 7

Transportation: Two Cars

Duration: Half day (May need one day if you are visiting Saradiel Village too)

 

There was a sudden suggestion to climb Uthuwankanda, which is famous for being the hideout for a local bandit, Saradiel. Since it is a few kilometer drive from Kandy Uthuwankanda was perfect for a mini hike and i too decided to join. But before the hike i thought of refreshing my memories about the stories of Saradiel.

Dekirikewage Saradiel AKA “Uthuwankande Sura Saradiel” is a bandit who later became a gang leader. People refer him as the “Robin Hood of Sri Lanka” as he used to rob from the rich and distributed them among the poor. He was born in 25th of March, 1932 as the eldest of a family where father was a tobacco merchant. His father was from “Haldanduwana” (in Dankotuwa area) and mother was from Uthuwnkanda (Mawanella Area). It is said that he studied in Illukgoda temple which was ended by Saradiel assaulting a boy from a rich family who was related to the Vidane (A hereditary leader post in colonial system who usually is from a wealthy, influential family) and being arrested. Young Saradiel had formed a gang to kidnap a wealthy merchant in Kandy, called “Bawa” and robbed him after cutting half of his mustache. Saradiel managed to escape to Colombo after distributing the things he robbed among villagers.

He then joined the Ceylon Rifle Regiment cantonment in Slave Island as a Barrack Boy and learned to used weaponry from soldiers. Later he was dismissed after caught in act of theft from the Barracks. Even then he managed to come back to Uthuwankanda with some stolen weapons from the barracks and continued his work of crime as a highway robber. It is said that Saradiel killed a Man called “Natakoti Chettiyar” during his robberies and arrested but then released due to lack of evidence. Then a warrant was issued for the arrest of Saradiel after a robbery in Molligoda Walawwa (Walawwa is a word used to refer the house of wealthy, which means mansion).  He thought to seek protection of his father and went to Chillaw. But his father was disappointed about Saradiel and refused to provide protection. So he came back but police arrested him near Pillawatte in Negombo after a tip off. Saradiel managed to stab the police informant during the arrest, critically wounding him to die after few days. Police produced him before the Justice of the Peace – Negombo on 3rd of July, 1962, who committed him to fiscal custody in Hulftsdorp Jail to be tried for murder. On dawn of 29th of November 1862, Saradiel climbed to the roof and jumped off the prison roof with help from a friend called Magiris Appu, who worked as a peon in the prison and later sentenced to six months for helping to a prison break.

Saradeil then returned to Uthuwankanda, but rearrested by the village police constable called “Baba Sara”. With past experiences with Saradiel it is decided to keep him pinioned & handcuffed at all times, to be escorted in the custody of a police constable and few fiscal peons and not to travel after dusk and only to stop at Police Stations. But the officials have underestimated him and un-pinioned at Balapane and also let Saradiel’s Step father join the escort party from Ambepussa Police Station onward. It is believed that his step father had supplied liquor to the escort party so that Saradiel could escape. Saradiel escaped again even with his handcuffs on this time, challenging the authority of English governors among the natives. Government then decided to put a five pound reward for his arrest.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………
**Government Gazette Extraordinary of 10th January 1863 :

Birth place: Uttoowankandy.
Residence: Uttoowankandy.
Trade: Boutique keeper.
Caste: Wellala.
Religion: Buddhist.
Age: 31 years.
Height: 5ft 3ins.
Hair : Long.
Eyes: Hazel.
Complexion: Brown.
Make [Build]: Well.
Read and Write: Both.
School: Private school.
Family: None.
Former convictions: None.
Distinguishing marks: mark of a mole on the right cheek.
Escaped: 29-Nov., 1862, from Hulftsdorp Jail.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………
Saradiel came back to Uthuwankanda and used it as the hideout for his gang consisting Hawadiya, Bawa, Sirimale, Kirihonda, Suwanda and Mammalay Marikkar who is considered Saradiels best friend. This gang robbed 500 rupees (A big amount at that time) from an Arab horses seller at knife point in Galagedara area and killed another two vendors in the vicinity out of suspicion they could have been police informants. This incident again made a huge impact on the rulers which made them to send soldiers and police officers under the supervision of Chief Superintendent McCartney and assisted by villagers to raid Uthuwankanda. When Saradiel saw that there was no other way to escape, he rushed a herd of buffaloes through the thick human wall while hanging on to the neck of a buffalo hiding under its belly, avoiding the arrest. Due to this constant raids of Uthuwankanda, Saradiel moved towards Aranayake giving a severe headache to the European planters of that area. Government had to setup a new police Station in Aranayake due to their requests and strengthen adjacent Police Stations. They also increased the price on Saradiel’s arrest to 100 pounds and 25 pounds each for his gang members.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………utuwankande_sura_saradielarrest_warrant_reward_notice_ceylon_gazette_13th_jan_1864…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………
In February of 1964, a police party headed by Head Constable Amat who was from Utuwankanda raided a house out of suspicion, but they could only find some stolen money and weapons. Again on 17th of March 1864, two police troops headed by Head Constable Amat and Special Constable George Van Haght raided Saradiel’s mother’s house after receiving information that Saradiel and his best friend Mammala Marikkar were hiding. At this time Special Constable George Van Haght was under suspension for not effectively assisting the arrest of Saradiel. This made him want to prove otherwise and suddenly ordered his team to storm the house. Saradiel’s mother saw them and had enough time to warn her son and his friend. Saradiel and Malmmala stormed out of the house shooting George Van Haght dead and mortally wounding Sergeant Christian Appu (Van Haght’s father in law) and injuring Sergeant Muttusamy and two others who were in the George Van Haght’s team. This made Chief Superintendent McCartney to raise the price of Saradiel’s arrest to 150 pounds but rumors said Saradiel fled to Mathale area and hiding in a jungle.

Sirimale, a member of Saradiel’s gang then became a police informant and arranged a two storied safe house on the Colombo Kandy Road owned by a person named Abdul Cader in Mawanella. Then he tipped off Sergeant Ahamath Mahat and Constable Tuan Saban about the hideout. Two policemen entered the house from the back door and Sergeant Mahat took a shot at Saradiel at the first sight, injuring him. That made Constable Tuan Saban to celebrate the victory too early and Mammale Marikkar fired, killing him on the spot. Sergeant Ahamath Mahat then hide near the stair case making it hard for Marikkar and injured Saradiel to escape without being a target to his revolver. Then Assistant Government Agent of Kegalle, F.R. Saunders arrived the location with forces from Ceylon Rifle Regiment and surrounded the house. Both Saradiel and his friend then surrendered realizing there was no way to escape. Saunders hit Saradiel hard with his cane during the arrest, causing a fracture in his right arm. Saradiel and Mammala Marikkar were escorted to Kandy on the same night.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………saradiyelfea7

…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………
Both of them were charged for the murder of Constable Tuan Saban and were tried by an English speaking Jury before Justice Thompson. Considering the history of Saradiel, Advocate Dunuwila who was initially assigned, refused to appear for the accused and government assigned attorneys Purcell and J. Van Langen. Both of them were found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging and were hanged at Gallows Hill in Kandy on 7th of May 1864. Thousands gathered expecting to see a well built man but were surprised to see a slim man with a pleasant face. Mammalay Marikkar was out of his words before execution but Saradiel addressed the crowd and advised the gathering to take a lesson from his life and avoid such acts.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………** The Colombo Overland Observer describes the event as quoted by AC Dep, retired DIG of Police, in his book, A History of the Ceylon Police Vol: I (1795-1866) (Colombo: Author, 1982):

“All the available Policemen in Kandy formed part of the procession. The Roman Catholic minister, Rev. Duffo, went with Saradiel from the jail and the Mohammedan Priest attended on the Moorman. It was quite clear that the prospect of death had completely unnerved the two unfortunate men. They were both pale and the Moorman in particular appeared to be greatly affected. Saradiel walked pretty steadily, reading out of a book, which he held in hand, but the Moorman was quite knocked down, and scarcely once lifted up his head during the walk. The procession passed through the town at a funeral pace until it reached the Hill on which the gallows had been erected.”
…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………utuwankande_sura_saradiel_lakrivikirana_paper_06th_may_1864…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………
Saradiel and Mammala Marikkar were buried at the Mahaiyawa cemetery in Kandy and a  Police guard was maintained since there was a demand for the bodies. Queens Advocate Richard F. Morgan who conducted the case, commanded the zeal and bravery of Constable Saban and Sergeant Mahat for taking part in the arrest of these two defied law and order, in his report to the Colonial Secretary. Constable Tuan Saban of the Kandy Police Station was the first ever regular Police Officer of the Ceylon Police to sacrifice his life in the course of duty. Later March 21st was declared to commemorate Police heroes in in Sri Lanka every year.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………sara-15the_prison_cell_of_utuwankande_sura_saradiel

…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………
It is said that Sergeant Mahat was promoted to Head Constable and received a price of 35 pounds. Sergeant Muttusamy received a price of 20 pounds and the son of late Constable Tuan Saban received 30 pound for his father’s bravery. Also Saban’s wife was awarded with a monthly pension of 2 pounds and 6 shillings for life. Christian Appu’s family also received a pension. It is said that Special Constable George Van Haght’s family never received a pension, considering he was on suspension at that time and did not even considered his heroic death as a death of a police officer in the course of duty. Though Saradiel caused terror among the rich, he was a provider for the poor. There is a story of Saradiel once stole from a person who was collecting money for his daughter’s dowry and came to know that later. Then he asked the man to meet him at a certain place and returned the stolen money and another amount as a gift from. There is also a story which says Saradiel was sentenced to death after receiving a letter from the Queen saying ‘kill him, not let him go’, when it was supposed to be ‘kill him not, let him go’.

All that being said, i was interested to see the place which sheltered Saradiel during many raids. I was thinking there must be a special reason for Saradiel to always come back to Uthuwankanda despite it was constantly being raided. Our initial plan was to take a Kegalle bus from Kandy and get down from Uthuwankanda and climb to the peak and follow the same route back home. But then we decided to use two cars considering the flexibility of traveling time and locations. Two cars left Kandy around 7.30 am and it was about 8.00 am when we reached Pilimathalawa to pick another friend. The crew consisted of four males and three females of the same age. We stopped somewhere before Kadugannawa for breakfast and leisurely enjoyed it as there was plenty of time. But the roads bacame busy with travelers realizing us that it is a long weekend and the place can get crowded as we getting delayed.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………dscf146814079831_10154250365855412_5282322985360371620_n
…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………14141505_10154250389170412_7779326844464549353_n14141590_10154250385735412_3055562668016582453_n

…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………dscf1470…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………

We reached Uthuwankanda and turned to “Uthuwana” road. The road was under construction but was manageable to travel by cars. There were many people and we were wondering what might attract such a big crowd for a hike. Seeing many old people in the crowd made us rethink of the idea about the “hike” but then realized all that crowd were visiting the new attraction “Saradiel Village”, a private owned resort with live size statues resembling the life story of Saradiel. We wanted to visit there but we decided to postpone it considering the crowd. Uthuwankanda is a small mountain with a rocky peak and the access road was even concreted for most of the length. Considering the crowd going to Saradiel village, the hiking part was deserted. It was not hard to climb and half way through we met another team climbing down. They directed us towards the caves which is believed to shelter Saradiel.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………dscf1447dscf1462

…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………14102191_10154250371705412_4546592963934683409_ndscf1451

…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………14064247_10154250369430412_1816727543501405849_n14067520_10154250368770412_8874080417484338246_n
…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………dscf145514102753_10154250372755412_2068463233639966599_n
…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………
Climb towards the caves is not hard and we had to go through a small passage between two rock to enter the caves. (Nothing much to worry about, but thinner you are it will be better 😀 ). We entered the caves with our mobile phone flash lights on, as we were not prepared for a cave expedition. For couple of meters we had to crawl but then the passage got taller enabling us to stand up. Then we came to a small room like place and didn’t went further as the cave got smaller and we were not prepared. (Total length of the passage we travel didn’t exceeded 50m). Then we came out and had a small rest there. The caves were hot and it was hard to breath as there is no proper ventilation inside. Almost every inch of the outer cave walls were scribbled by travelers and  polythene and plastic/glass bottles were dumped everywhere. It was a very disturbing and sad scene to see, what people do to harm nature without considering the effects on their own lives.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………14191969_10154250416750412_5769417366419768784_ndscf1478
…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………dscf1473
…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………14079507_10154250391675412_2332125505488740896_n14079480_10154250433160412_4719798674277573484_n
…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………dscf1487dscf1492
…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………14192746_10154250397720412_7211958668994266185_ndscf1490
…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………dscf1493dscf1511
…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………14191975_10154250411970412_2717744997963131190_n14192034_10154250400760412_1245265114776384530_n
…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………14102602_10154250403700412_3819207675578247464_n14095840_10154250412060412_4589154543154401714_n
…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………14141649_10154250418440412_993191146152901578_n14102715_10154250423520412_2500867342219583553_n
…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………14183670_10154250433905412_8245144337666142044_n14102753_10154250429170412_6036379105504603372_n
…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………dscf149514183762_10154250389925412_3788707427863047939_n

…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………
We couldn’t identify the exact path on the way up, but reached the rocky part without much trouble as the mountain was small. Then we started to climb the rocky peak. Me and two others decided no to climb the peak and helped other four to climb. The first part was almost 90 degrees climb and then the middle became easy. There is a kind of square shaped rock on the top and my friends even climbed it. After many photographs and eyes full of scenic view from the top we came back down around 11 am. The crowd towards Saradiel village was then doubled and we decided to have lunch before planning the evening stroll.

We had our lunch in a place near Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage and decided to visit “Asupini Ella” (Read my last hike to Asupini Ella) in the evening. It took us some time to reach Asupini Ella via B172 route. The road was good and even the final bit towards Asupini ella is concreted. We stopped our cars near to the top pool of asupini ella and waked towards the observation point. The waterfall was on its full blow making a very beautiful scene. Old memories were recalled seeing the path we climbed few years back and  realized how much a risk we took in that hike. It was dusk when we took our eyes out from the waterfall and came back to Kandy around 7.30 pm.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………14183838_10154250443675412_9041190984900588322_n14079903_10154250444820412_4021490920639528328_n
…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………dscf1584dscf1543
…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………dscf1551dscf1540
…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………dscf1547dscf1556
…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………dscf1563dscf1581

…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………

Photo courtesy
Chamitha Rathnayake

Reference
* Saradiel – The Robin Hood of Sri Lanka by W.T.A Leslie Fernando

** Uthuwankande Sura Saradiel – The Robin Hood of Sri Lanka – උතුවන්කන්දේ සූර සරදියෙල්
by M.D. (Tony) Saldin

*** Uthuwankande Sura Saradiel – wikipedia

Off Season Sri Pada

MapCrew : 7

Tranportation : Train (From Kandy to Hatton)
Van  (From Palabaddara to Rathnapura)
Bus (From Rathnapura to Kandy)

Duration : Two Days

One of my friends suggested that we should climb the Adam’s Peak (Mostly known as Sri Paada even among foreigners). There were stories of few locals who climbed Sri pada during off peak and had met elephants, wild boar and even leopards. Keeping all that in mind, I too agreed for the adventure. I was bit busy with exams just before the trip, so that i didn’t even knew who else are coming and what are the routes we are planning to go on.

Sri pada means the “sacred foot print” in sinhala. Buddhists believe that it is of Lord Buddha. It is said that also Hindus believe the foot print belong to Shiva, Muslims and Christians believe it belongs to Adam, but have noted only Buddhists visits Sri pada to worship the sacred foot print. Others do visit, but not with the religious aspects. This 2243 meter high mountain is located in central hills and it is said that all four of the major rivers (Mahaweli, Kelani, Kalu, Walawe) of Sri Lanka starts from this mountain (But actually only one starts from here). It is said that the area was ruled by Saman,who later became a god, hence the mountain was refered “Samanthakuta” earlier. Then “Saman Deviyan (god)” invited Lord Buddha to set the sacred foot print during the second visit to Sri Lanka. There are three famous routes to Sri pada peak.

1.Nallathanni in Hatton (6 km)
2.Palabaddara(Sri Palabaddara) in Rathnapura (8 km)
3.Erathna in Kuruwita (14 km)

Other than that it is said that there are another infamous hikes from Murraywatte, Mookuwatte and Malimboda (which i haven’t traveled in). Normally the season for Sri pada pilgrimage starts from January (Duruthu Full moon Poya) and ends in May (Esala full moon Poya). Usually the routes get flooded with pilgrims during the season. Most of them visits Sri Pada to Worship the sacred foot print and get blessings while hoping to see the Sunrise from top of this mountain.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………
DSC_5744…………………………………………………………………………………………………..……………

On the day we planned the trip, I went to the Peradeniya Railway Station to catch the Colombo – Badulla Train. As it was during the Kandy Perahera, there were many tourists waiting for that train to continue their trips after watching the perahera the day before. Few of my friends were already on the train, who got in from Colombo and another three waiting in the Kandy railway statiion. The train arrived and i couldn’t believe my eyes, it was flooded with people which i guessed might be coming to Kandy to see the Perahera. The train goes to Kandy from Peradeniya and come back to Peradeniya to continue the journey to Badulla. So i thought of waiting until it comes back, hoping most of the crowd will get down from there. Few minutes later my friends who were at Kandy called and said they were coming back but still it will be difficult to get in with the crowd. I rushed to a carriage and got in with few German tourists and hold on to a spot near the door as it was difficult to go in over the stacked baggage of the tourists and also there were no space for me inside the cabin. There were few phone calls from me to my friends and from them to me before finding out that they were in the same carriage as me and near to the window next to the door i was in. So i gave my backpack to them and sat on the train floor facing the misty mountains next to the railway. After passing few Railway stations, the human shield got thinner so that i went to my friends. Then only i realized that i actually know four of them. There was another three who were friends of friends.
😀

We all reached Hatton around 11.30 am (which is bit late than expected) and did some shopping for gloves, water bottles and Lunch. The friends who came from Kandy have brought  many loaves of bread for the rest of our journey. We hired a van from Hatton to Nallathanni for about 2000 rupees. It was after our normal lunch time when we reached to Hatton through the bendy roads surrounded by misty mountains with tea estates and glamorous waterfalls. All of us were been there to Sri pada during the season previously, so we were surprised by the calmness of Nallahtanni during the off season. Almost every boutique was closed but Nallathanni Police station is in operation as usual. We just went in talked to them and they offered one of their huts (which are being used in the season for people to rest) to have our lunch. They warned us that now it is not allowed for visitors to spend the night near the Sri pada maluwa (peak where the sacred foot print is), and offered us to stay in their police posts located bit downward in the Nallathanni Route. The lunch didn’t taste much, so we started our climb soon with half filled tummies and with an uncertainty about a place to spend the night.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………
DSC_5747DSCF1318…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………
DSCF1320DSCF1321…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………

DSCF1331DSCF1332…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………

DSCF1333DSCF1334…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………

DSCF1343DSCF1340…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………

DSCF1346DSCF1338…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………

Initially there are not much steps in Nallathanni Road, so the walk was easy and we had many breaks to capture the beauty without any human distractions. All huts which were functioning as gift shops and cafes during the season were deserted. After a queue of those huts there is this giant “Makara Thorana” which was an offering from the “Ceylon Electricity Board” during the days of constructing Laxapana Hydro Power Station and a statue of lord Buddha. The actual climb started from the Peace pagoda and it took us a while to warmup. The environment was calm and quiet other than the voices of us. It made me realize that large portion of the Sri Pada experience is ruined by the massive crowds climbing it during the season.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………
DSC_5749

…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………

DSC_5748

…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………
DSCF1352DSCF1359…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………

DSCF1365DSCF1368…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………
DSCF1369DSCF1377

…………………………………………………………………………………………………..……………………………… 14021508_10154227194625412_881091194923593446_nDSCF1373…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………

We found one hut cafe was operating and a Russian couple resting there on the way down from the peak. We ordered us hot cups of plain tea and started to talk with the Russians. They were planning to visit Sri Lanka for few days and then explore India without knowing that they need separate visa to enter India. It was too late for them, so they were hoping to make the best out of the remaining days of their stay in Sri Lanka. They were very friendly and took few tips from us to decide their next destination in Sri Lanka. Then the owner of the hut cafe started share his experience with us. His home was nearby so he decided to keep his shop open even during the off season, but selections are limited only to Plain tea, Tea or Coffee. According to him there are more number of foreigners climbing Sri Pada than local during the off season. When we were leaving the place he advised us to never let any dogs join the climb with us, we were wondering why he said that until he gave an explanation which we never thought of. Leopards are very frequent in Sri Pada forest reserve, but comparatively there are not enough other animals for them to use as their pray. Therefore Leopards tend to hunt the dogs. Though Leopards try to avoid and normally don’t attack  humans, there are few instances where Leopards attacked the stray dogs who were climbing Sri Pada with human. There is no such danger during the season as the path get crowded with people bu as this is the off season we had to take precautions. So whenever we met a dog we gave it something to eat, but stopped them following us (for safety of the dog as well as ours).

…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………
DSCF1410DSCF1411…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………
13719641_10208491530659271_1395904685124659071_o14045639_10154227226130412_7648148271863442106_n…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………
13995529_10208491560100007_1017156209066176360_o13873111_10154227182210412_2447201791190621625_n…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………
DSCF1415DSCF1380…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………

13935151_10208491569940253_1088471816326548663_n14045728_10154227255060412_400102470182715619_n…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………

14054016_10154227251385412_4470685941518443286_nDSCF1387…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………

DSCF1390DSCF1392…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………

14055011_10154227255220412_3092801052712469547_n
…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………

Towards half of the climb I and one another friend slowed our phase as we realized our stamina was less than we expected. Sooner the misty clouds surrounded the path and we barely could see something 5 feet away. We turned our torches on and kept walking closely. Temperature quickly dropped from few degrees that we had to put on our jackets and gloves to keep warm. The closer we got to the peak, steps became high and slippery forcing us to take more breaks to catch our breath. One from the other five called me and and said they almost reached the peak, so they will meet the Buddhist monk and ask permission to stay over the night there. We had to jump over few fallen tree branches on the stairs but could reach the peak around 8.00 pm, 30 minutes later than the other five.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………
DSCF1399DSCF1400…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………

DSC_5754DSCF1395…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………
13962747_10154227257085412_1614244672246694356_nDSC_5758…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………
We searched the peak but couldn’t find any trace of a human other than the weak light through a closed door nearby. We guessed that must be the place where Buddhist monk is residing but wondering where were the rest of the team. I tried to call them few times (I was glad to find that i had mobile signal on such location, but my friend didn’t as he was using another service provider) but no one answered. Few minutes later, the door opened and a head of my friend appeared. We went in to meet Three Buddhist monks and three boys who were helping them. My friend directed us toward a stair and a passage after greeting the monks. Other teammates were their unpacking the bread we  we brought. They were lucky enough to convince the Buddhist monk to give permission to stay the night on the peak, but even luckier as we found a roof and walls to cover us from the freezing mist and dew. It was a separate part from the “Awasa geya” (name used for the place where Buddhist Monks reside) and was using to prepare “Daane” (name used for the meals offered to Buddhist Monks). As it was a full moon poya day the kitchen was fully functioning and the pilgrims washed and cleaned the floor (which obviously hadn’t enough time to dry). We put some old polythene over the wet floor and few cardboard provided by the boys who were there to help the monks. Then we put another  polythene over and made our beds for that night. There were two (brave) girls and five boys in our crew. While five of us boys tried to wipe the water droplets collected on the ceiling to prevent out sleeping area getting wet, the girls started prepare the bread (as sandwitches) with “seeni sambol” whitch we brought. As Buddhist monks are not having a dinner we offered the first portion to the boys who were there to help. Then we prepared our dinner and tried to sleep.

We all tried to be closer to one another to avoid the freezing air (but also the polythene was so small that we had to avoid touching the wet floor) but still it was cold. We realized that why it is not allowed to stay the night on the peak. Outside must been closer to 5º C that we would have been frozen. After spending many long hours trying to sleep i finally fell in to sleep. Suddenly i woke up with a cold sting on my foot and realized it was my food touching the floor. I looked at my phone and found out i slept for 10 minutes!!! After many cold  stings and looking at phone it was my phone alarm going off at 5.45am to watch the sun rise. We all rushed to the door but it was locked from outside (as the Buddhist monk told us in the night). We waited until it was unlocked and ran to the view point with our cameras. Unexpectedly the peak was crowded (there were around 50) with foreigners but Sun was hidden behind the thick mist curtain.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………

14034906_10154227262170412_2145738494626908252_n14079558_10154227265775412_680922514589375269_n…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………
13996128_10208491577940453_4193182954498518478_o…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………
Then the Buddhist monks came out for the Sri pada “Maluwa” and started “Buddha pooja”. We too participated in that while cold mist making water droplets on our hair and face. It took around 30-40 minutes and then we came back to where we spent the night and prepared offerings for the Monks as “heel daane” (Breakfast) and then we had ours. We started our day two on Rathnapura (Road divide to  Palabaddara and Erathna after few thousands of steps) route around 9.30 am. Still there was no sign of the sun and mist made sure that we don’t see more than few feet away. We decided that it is better to go down from the Palabaddara route as it is 6 km shoter than Erathna route. As we went down the mist got thicker and it made water droplets that we could literally see the origin of some small water flows which was added to bigger streams later. Again me and my friend who was lagging behind the previous day, started to go down the steps slowly as our knees and all leg muscles were aching. It was a great experience with no other humans to interfere and all we could hear was the birds chirping through the whistle of the wind. There were few trees fallen here and there and streams of water flowing on the steps making them even slippery.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………..……………………………

14079723_10154227269285412_8521033441299145592_n14089323_10154227269235412_213788918428304498_n…………………………………………………………………………………………………..……………………………

DSC_5784DSC_5776…………………………………………………………………………………………………..……………………………

DSC_577914088639_10154227274985412_4582038244413890556_n…………………………………………………………………………………………………..……………………………

14100511_10154227274095412_1602339016778834388_n…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………

DSC_5807DSC_5799…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………

DSC_5793DSC_5788…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………

14088432_10154227273340412_4461013742950995232_n…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………

14066457_10208491582220560_2454050388513818550_o14064231_10154227272780412_631836335673792449_n…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………

Around half way down me and my friend got a bit hungry but all biscuits and the rest of the bread were with others. So we increased our phase  and was able to catch three of them resting to get a packet of chocolate biscuits before they started going down again. We (the lagging two)  took frequent breaks and met two sets of villagers climbing up from that route. Around half way down we met that three friends again to find out two of them were really exhausted. We called the leading two and found that they were almost at the end of the trail. So we five decided to stick together and count the steps as we went down. Though we didn’t came across any leeches on our day one (Nallathanni route) day two wasn’t that lucky. We got attacked by leeches even less than 1cm of length every where we weren’t moving. At that stage our legs were kind of out of control so that we had to take breaks after every 100-200 steps. The steps are high on that route which made the walk more difficult.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………

14045827_10154227271915412_5066839044998393454_n

…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………

There was an “Ambalama” (place built for people to rest on the way) near the 3000th step (those steps were numbered once in 100 from the bottom and there more than 11000 steps from Palabaddara route). There we met two old people and talked with them while we were resting. They asked us whether we saw a Buddhist Monk Traveling up on the step and we said yes as we saw one even without slippers calmly walking upward few hundred steps before. They said that Monk is residing in a cave inside the forest reserve among elephants and leopards. I have heard few stories about that earlier but didn’t realized until the villagers explained. We stayed there for around 15 minutes and started to go down again. We realized that we are not able to reach Palabaddara before 3.30 pm to catch the last bus to Rathnapura at the phase we were going and weren’t in a position to go any faster. Then our friends (the two who were leading) called that they reached Palabaddara around 2.30pm and now going to Rathnapura for Lunch. We agreed to call them before reaching Palabaddara to discuss a method of travel for us to Rathnapura.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………
14040132_10154227255880412_7205988521774406898_n…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………
DSCF1405…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………
14040135_10154227275185412_7015071778675241627_n14045827_10154227271915412_5066839044998393454_n…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………

After many breaks we passed 1000th step (so there was steps less than 1000 remaining to Palabaddara!) and decided to hire a vehicle to Rathnapura as it was already around 4pm. We talked with one three wheeler (tuk tuk) driver nearby and realized the price was bit higher. So one of friends who already reached to Rathnapura called to his contact and arranged a van for 3000 LKR. We waited near the place called “pavana ella” around 700th step where there was a dirt road near the steps for the van to reach us. Only then, we had a proper break after two days of adventure and time to think about soaked shoes & socks with blood patches from the leech attacks and the Clothes smelling of dirt and our own sweat.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………

DSCF1433DSCF1432…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………

DSC_5817…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………

It was around 7pm when we reached Rathnapura and one friend just hopped in to a leaving bus to Panadura as his home is there. Other four and the two who reached there early had a meal (both  lunch and dinner) in a nearby cafe. Three of us were going to Kandy and other three to Colombo. So we had to take separate buses and we went to the Long distance bus halt which is a bit far away from the Main bus stand. Colombo bus arrived early so they went early. As we heard, there is a Trincomalee bus from Hambantota which we can travel from Rathnapura up to Kandy-Colombo road and then had to take another bus to Kandy. Then the Trincomalle bus arrived but stopped few yards passing the bus halt. We collected all the energy left and ran to it as it was our last chance. Gladly we made it before the bus left there and even found empty seats to sit on. We talked with the bus conductor about the route and found out that this bus goes through Kandy.
🙂

PS: It was around 1 am on the Day three when i reached home and needed support from another to go from ground floor to the first floor. It took me a week to fully recover from the muscle pains.

Watch highlights of our Off Season Sri Pada Hike :

 

Photo Courtesy : Chamitha Rathnayake, Akhila Rangana

Galoya National Park

MapCrew : 5

Tranportation : Double Cab (Up to Inginiyagala Dam), Boat

Duration : Half day

Gal Oya National Park is located in  the boundary of Uva and Eastern Provinces surrounding Inginiyagala reservoir AKA Senanayaka Samudraya, the largest reservoir in Sri Lanka. Senanayaka Samudraya is created by constructing a dam across the water stream called “Gala Oya” which later became “Gal oya” under Galoya project to distribute water to Uva and eastern provinces for irrigation purposes. The Dam, which power up the 11.25 MW Hydro electric generators in Inginiyagala Power Station was started in 1949 and completed in 1953.

This was the area which King Saddhatissa, Brother and successor of King Dutugemunu used as his hiding place during the war between his brother. After he throned, King Saddhatissa has build many temples in this area which later covered by dense forest with the establishment of the Kingdoms in Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa areas. Later the villagers in Uva – Wellassa, in the times of the famous “Wellasse satana” had been fled to Digamadulla (Now Ampara-Inginiyagala-Hingurana-Damana area) which was a dense jungle at that time and established villages. After few centuries of isolation from the rest of the country, Galoya project made people from all over the country to settle down in Digamadulla.

The Galoya National park was established in 1954 as the main catchment area of the senanayaka samudraya and controlled under the Galoya development board until 1965, when the department of wildlife conservation took over. 63000 ha land of this national park is the home for 32 species of terrestrial mammals including Sri Lankan Elephant, Deer, Water Buffalo, Leopard, Wild Boar and Monkeys. It is rare to see mammals in this park other than elephants, buffaloes and monkeys through the untouched, thick walls of gigantic tress. Therefore this national park still remains unpopular, keeping its residents safe and sound.

I had an idea of visiting the park someday as i heard it is the only national park in Sri Lanka, where visitors can go on a boat safari. One fine day of July in 2016 me and another four of my friends went to the Gal oya National Park. As I have been contacted Galoya wild life department office few weeks earlier and reserved the afternoon (3.00 PM) boat session, we only had to pay the fees and jump in to the boat. There are two boats which you can reserve, one with 10 and another with 7 passenger capacity. You only have to make a call to Department of Wildlife Office in Galoya (0632242002 / +94632242002) to make a reservation, which they will be confirming your participation by contacting you in the morning of your date of reservation and payments can be made just before the boat safari.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………DSCF0466DSCF0463……………………………………………………………………..………………………..…………………………………..

DSCF0469

DSCF0465

…………………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….
I was already in Ampara, so i went from a personal vehicle to the Inginiyagala dam. One who is travelling from Kandy to Galoya national park have three routes as options.

Option 1: Kandy to Andaulpotha – B492 (Randenigala Road) & B36 > Andaulpotha to Inginiyagala Via Bibile (178 km) : Haven’t used this route in a while, heard B492 (Randenigala) road in not in perfect condition as rest of the road. But can’t say the road condition is bad.

Option 2: Kandy to Mahiyanganaya – A26 (18 Hair pin road) > Mahiyanganaya to Inginiyagala Via Andaulpotha  and Bibile (178 km) : A26 (18 Hair pin) Road is one of the most scenic routes in Sri Lanka and the road lies through Galoya national park during the Bibile – Inginiyagala part

Option 3: Kandy to Mahaoya (69 junction) – A26 (18 Hair pin road) & Mahaoya (69 junction to Ampara – A5 > Ampara to Inginiyagala – AB1 (209 km) : A26 (18 Hair pin) Road is one of the most scenic routes in Sri Lanka but there is around 60km length after Padiyathalawa in  route

My favorite is Option 2, But you have to always keep an eye on the road as there is a high chance of wild animals crossing the road in the Bibile – Inginiyagala part. Also i have observed that dogs love sleeping on the road just after a drizzle which is rare to this area in latter part of the year.

We went to the Galoya national park, wild life department office around 2.30 pm and then paid for the boat ride. You have to pay for 5 people to reserve the boat and if there are more poeple, it is 650LKR per head, small amount as the boat operator cost and Taxes. For five of us, it was around 840 LKR per head alltogether. (*Please note that these charges are for local visitors, Charges for Foreigners may be different). Then we went to the far end of Inginiyagala dam, where the Wildlife department holiday bungalow is located. The boat operator gave us life jackets and prepared the boat while we were struggling to put on them.

Then the ride began. It was too sunny so that we all wore hats and i was wondering will there be any animal sightings with this hot climate.  Initially we saw many birds who has been residing the small islands emerged from water. There were only few species of birds though the count was numerous. As we got to know afterwards it is better to go morning boat safari to see birds and afternoon session for elephants. Then we saw one elephant on a island far away and traveled there, the operator shut the boat engine as we came nearby and let it float without any sound. The giant was searching for food and was too busy not to notice us (or may be he knew there is no treat to them inside their home).
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..DSCF0478
DSCF0488
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..DSCF0511DSCF0522

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..DSCF0502DSCF0510

…………………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….
DSCF0526……………………………………………………………………………..……………………………………………………DSCF0536DSCF0538

……………………………………………………………………..……………………………………………………………DSCF0551DSCF0545

………………………………………………………………………………………………….………………………………..DSCF0567DSCF0564

………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………….DSCF0498
DSCF0579
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………DSCF0575………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..…………………DSCF0605DSCF0602

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..…………………DSCF0615
DSCF0613
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..DSCF0616DSCF0630

………………………………………………………………………………………….………………………………………..DSCF0652DSCF0648

……………………………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………..DSCF0656DSCF0657
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..DSCF0659………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..…………………DSCF0661
DSCF0636……………………………………………………………………………………..…………………………………………….
We started the ride once again as the elephant disappeared behind the rocky center of the island. As it is an island the elephant must have swam to it, but it is a rare to witness  that event. Then we saw few deer, Monkeys, alligator and another elephant in the mainland. All the mammals were there for water, while the alligator was spying on them. Then we saw the event we were looking forward, one of my friends pointed out an elephant walking towards the reservoir from the mainland far away. It was nearly 4.30pm where the sun was on the background making it hard for us to watch the elephant. So the operator took the boat around an island . When we were looking there was no sign of the elephant. Then the wild life department boat operator shut the engine and pointed out a small rock like thing around 8 inches over the water surface, that turned out to be the one we were looking for. It was a majestic scene to witness. The elephant was swimming!!! the thing we saw was the top of her head and she gently rise her eyes above the water once in a while to see the direction. As she could breath through her trunk, which was slightly over the water surface the swim seemed pretty easy even though the body is large.
……………………………………………………………………………………………..…………………………………….DSCF0676…………………………………………………………………………………………….……………………………………..DSCF0677
DSCF0680
………………………………………………………………………………………………….………………………………..DSCF0684

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..DSCF0685-001DSCF0685

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
Suddenly our boat, which was floating with the engines turned off hit a decayed tree trunk under the water. That made a large noise and got the swimmers’ attention. She quickly swam the rest of the distance and challenged us as soon as she could feel the ground underwater. But as we kept clam and she realized it is safe, she gently walked out of the water and had a snack before disappearing in to the tree curtain of that island. On the way we saw another couple of elephants having their wet bodies covering with dust and enjoying the sunset. Finally we headed back to the dam to realize that we were on the boat for around 3 hours and 30 minutes.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………..……………………………DSCF0717……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….…………………..DSCF0716
DSCF0712
…………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………………….DSCF0711DSCF0700

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….……….DSCF0701……………………………………………………………………………………………..…………………………….………DSCF0722DSCF0724

…………………………………………………………………………………….……………………….……………………DSCF0723…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..………DSCF0728DSCF0732

……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………….……………………DSCF0746
………………………………………………………………………………………………………….……….……………….

Kadadora Temple

MapCrew : 10

Transportation : Cars

Duration : Half a day (another half day may be needed to visit the “Mahaweli Maha Seya”, ruins of “Kadadora” entarnce and ambalama)

One weekend, one of my friends told me that he and his relatives are visiting a pirivena (School for monks) in Kothmale area to offer Thripitaka (The Buddhist Holy Book which consist of three sub sections;”Sutra pitaka”, “Vinaya pitaka”, “Abhidarma pitaka”). I wanted to join to the journey as I hadn’t been there to Kothmale before.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..DSC_4389…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
Name of the shrine is “Gunarathana Piriwena” and it is located in Harangala area. We used Kandy – Nawalapitiya Road (AB13) and turned to Nawalapitiya – Harangala Road (B506) from Nawalapitiya Town and traveled 13 kms to reach there. The road conditions from Nawalapitiya to the location was not good and it took around 30 mins to travel that 13 kms. But later we heard the road from Ulapane to Harangala (B431) through kothmale Dam is in better conditions, so we used it to travel back home (this is the route shown in the map above). We though of having our lunch on the way, but we were already in Nawalapitiya – Harangala Road before realizing that there are no place to buy lunch there. So we bought a packet of biscuits and “Gnana Katha” (A bun shaped hard cake decorated with sugar) and had it on the way.

The road was along Kothmale reservoir which gave us a stunning ,a movie like view though the water level of the reservoir was very low with the delayed monsoon rains. we arrived to the Pirivena around 2pm and offered the Tripitaka to the Chief incumbent and several other monks after observing pansil. The shrine looked old but the environment was very calm and relaxing. The locals had arranged us some tea along with Dodol , Rulang , Cashews and Bananas.
😀
It was the best Dodol I have ever had!

As the planned activity was over, we thought of visiting the ruins of a submerged temple in Kothmale reservoir which are now surfaced due to the low water levels. We traveled through the Kothmale Dam and reached Kothmale reservoir observation point, parked our vehicles there and started walking downward. Though the banks of the reservoir is named as a forest reserve and normally do not allow public to travel, the authorities have allowed people to go down there and visit the ruins as this is a very rare incident. We had to walk through a jungle for about one kilometer and a steep river bank.

I had seen few photographs of previous travelers who were the few days back, but the environment was totally different that day. A local travel show had telecast a documentary filmed on this location, which increased the number of visitors so someone built a fence using sticks and used red flags to mark the boundaries which the visitors can enter without damaging the ruins. In the point of preserving the ruins, it is a good idea but it was very hard to capture the ruins without disturbance from the red flags.

We spent a good half an hour admiring the quality of building which still standing up even after spending around 30 years submerged. It was sad to see the marks which seemed to have occurred in an attempt to dig the statues for treasures.

Here are some facts about this area and the temple which i found very interesting,

This area has a very important place in history books as the great king Dutugamunu’s (161BC – 131BC) life tale is based on Kothmale. Before that era, the King Panduwasadeva (504BC – 474BC) is said to held a dance by the Yak (devil) tribes in this area which was referred “Malaya Rata” at that time.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Tunsinhala1
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

King Kawanthissa ruled the “Ruhuna” kingdom while there were two other kingdoms named “Pihiti” and “Maya”. It is said that there were only four entrances from “Ruhunu” kingdom to “Maya” Kingdom; Kadadora, Watadora, Niyangandora and Galdora. Only remaining ruins of four entrances, “Kadadora” which is also known as “Dehadukadulla” is in Kothmale area, but unfortunately we couldn’t visit that in this journey. It is said that prince “Gamunu” hid his royal sward in a tree near “Kadadora” before entering Kothmale, where now only remains a stone staircase towards Kotagapitiya starting from a (stone) entrance which has been restored. Ruins of an “Ambalama” (a hut like structure  – resting place for travelers), which is beleived to be built by the prince “Gamunu” is also along the path to Kotagapitiya.

The house of “Uru pelesse Gama Mahage” of the village Kotagapitiya in Kothmale is believed to be the place where the young prince Gamunu hide after sending female jewellery to his father, as a symbol of his weakness not to starting a war with the enemy King “Elara”. Then the prefix  “Dushta” (Wiked) is added upon his name “Gamunu” and shortened to be “Dutu Gamunu” afterwards. The folklore says that the prince was discovered by the Royal elephant “Kandula” after the death of king “Kawanthissa”, realizing the villagers that the boy who lived among them by the name “Guptha”, actually is the royal son. Tales say that the farmer and his family begged for their lives thinking the “King to be” may slaughter them as they used him as a helper, but instead the prince married “Ran Menika”, the daughter of the farmer who became the Queen mother of prince “Saliya” afterwards.

Folklore reveals that the Queen mother “Vihara maha Devi” arranged secret meetings in a Raja Maha Viharaya (Temple) in Kadadora area to update the Prince about war preparations with “Velusumana”, one of his ten giants. It is said that the Chief incumbent Thero of this viharaya knew the true identity of the prince. This temple is believed to be the “Kadadora Priya Bimbarama Raja Maha Viharaya” which was in Kothmale.

In 19th Century, SriLanka carried out a huge multi purpose development, 35 year – master plan called “Mahaweli project”, based on the river “Mahaweli” and allied 6 river basins. Main objectives were increasing Agricultural production with water utilization, Hydro power generation, Settlement of landless people, Flood control and providing employment opportunities. Some of the land owners in affected areas of Dam construction were resettled in near by places where some others and landless poor were resettled in identified places, called “Mahaweli Region  – A” to “H”. In 1977 a new prime minister (J.R. Jayawardena) was elected and decided to accelerate the project under a separate Ministry called “Mahaweli Development” Under Minister Gamini Dissanayake.

Priliminary studies for the Kothmale project was carried in 1961, again during 1964-1968 with foreign assistance and another feasibility study during 1973 – 1976 with Indian assistance, but the project never took off. Considering all proposals from previous studies the Kothmale project was started in 1979 under the “Accelerated Mahaweli Development Project” (AMDP) with the newly established “Mahaweli Authority of Sri Lanka”. Kothamale reservoir was created by constructing a Dam (2100 feet above Mean Sea Level) between “Thispane” and “Kadadora” hills; obstructing “Kothmala Oya”, one of the main tributaries of Mahaweli river. The Kothmale reservoir spreads across 2270 ha land with 174 million cubic meters of full capacity which powers the turbines of 206MW first ever Underground Hydro Electricity Plant in SriLanka from 1985 onward.

It is said that more than 14 tea estates and 50 villages of 3050 families (more than 15000 people) were affected by the increased water level due to Dam construction. Around 1750 families were agreed to resettle in “Mahaweli Region – H” while the other 1300 families, who requested lands near to their original habitats; were settled in the 2600 acre land acquired from Tispane and Rothscild estates.

It is said that many (Couldn’t find the exact number) ancient Temples (including Kadadora Priya Bimbaramaya, Morape Bodhimalakaramaya, Morape Subhadraramaya, Hadunuwewa Medagoda Gangaramaya, Othalawe Bodhirukaramaya, Nawangama Abhinawaramaya, Tispane Sri Subhadraramaya) and Devala  (including Morape Devalaya, Hadunuwewa Medagoda Paththini Devalaya) has been identified will be below the reservoir water level. The authorities decided to build a bubble shaped pagoda with 289 feet height, named “Mahaweli Maha Seya” in the right bank of the reservoir to compensate to the submerged temples which now overlook the Kothmale valley from 4150 feet above Mean Sea Level.

I have heard that this Pagoda has an inner chamber which feature some of the ruins of submerged temples where people can visit but the increasing darkness in the surrounding urged us to go back home before the giants(elephants) start their routine walks. So we headed back to our cars from the ruins of Kadadora Viharaya and came back to Kandy around 8.30 pm.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..DSC_4392…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
DSC_4400…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
DSC_4401…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
DSCF0308…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
DSCF0309…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

References:
Mahavanshaya
Sunday observer 2011, march, 13
http://mahaweli.gov.lk/en/complete.html
The Accelerated Mahaweli Development Programme By Ratna S. Cooke, 1982

 

 

 

Kurundu Oya Falls

MapCrew : 8

Transportation : Hired Van (Use a vehicle with good ground clearance, preferably a 4 wheel drive)

Duration : One Day

 

Kurundu Oya Ella is the second highest waterfall in Sri Lanka. “Kurundu Oya” is a feeder of “Mahaweli Ganga” and connects directly to the Randenigala reservoir. This Majestic waterfall is in the upstream of the Kurundu oya surrounded by a dense Sub-Montane Forest. Top of the waterfall can be reached through “Ragala” side but we took walapane route to reach the bottom of the waterfall.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSCF9499DSCF9490

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSCF9500DSCF9498

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
It was a long weekend in January 2016. Though many had planned to participate to this hike, all of them couldn’t make it except one friend and he is a member of a Traveling gang called “Wanagatha Kollo” (Boys in Wild). So he came with them and it was more like I joined with them in this Hike. You can visit their web page through below link.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

FB_IMG_1453779626394

Wanagatha Kollo – Excluding Me…

http://www.wanagathakollo.com/
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
We started our journey from Kandy around 7 am by a hired Van. There are two routes from Kandy to Walapane and we choose the Road via Randenigala as it is shorter and the road condition is good. We had to stop for 30 minutes near Adhikarigama for breakfast and to buy some food to eat on the way. The roadside view of the Randenigala Reservoir is fantastic and we couldn’t resist stopping in few places for better camera angles.

It was around 11am when we reached Walapane, and wasn’t much hard to find the way to Japanese peace pagoda (which is the road to Kurundu Oya Ella). The initial bit of the road is concreted and then there are few stretches with stone paving and gravel. We came to a Three way junction and took the road towards right (up hill) after asking the neighboring villagers. The road to left is towards the Japanese Peace Pagoda which we thought of visiting when returning from the waterfall.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSCF9504DSCF9501……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSCF9523……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSC_3837DSC_3844

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
It was a dirt road from there most of the time and had extreme elbow bends, where the driver just reversed the vehicle uphill until the next elbow bend as it was easier than taking that turn. Again we came to a three way junction and the driver of the hired van refused to go further as the road conditions were bad. We took our backpacks and thought of hiking from there just before a lorry coming uphill appeared from a bend. We asked the lorry driver for directions and he offered us a ride further towards the waterfall. 😀 We gladly accepted it and jumped into the lorry. There is a mini hydro power plant construction going on, which will be fed from the water of Kurundu oya waterfall and that lorry was carrying construction material for that project. The Driver gave his mobile phone number in case we need help about directions. The lorry ride was fun as the climb is steep and the view was great. He stopped in a cleared area where construction material was unloading and we went from there by foot.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSCF9560DSCF9540……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSCF9563……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSC_3860DSCF9676……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Few hundred meters of walk brought us to the Construction area of the inlet valve for the water tunnel and we used the concrete canal (which was under construction) to go forward as the lorry driver instructed. The start was good but there was mud and some rain water (1~2 inches high) accumulated in the canal and the muddy water inside our shoes slowed our walk. Only one from our gang was wearing a pair of safety shoes and he survived from that problem. If you can walk on the side walls of the concrete canal, it also a good solution for that matter, but as one side is a steep cliff it doesn’t worth the risk. End of that canal was a steel gate to prevent the water coming in and we climbed on to the concrete structure to have a good look at this massive water flow. The mist made of its own water vapor was trying to cover the waterfall.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

DSC_3853

At the water inlet gate

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSCF9657DSCF9650……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSC_3858……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSCF9673DSCF9658……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

DSCF9666

First Cascade is hidden…

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Kurundu Oya Ella has three cascades and was in its full flow as the upstream area had rain past few weeks. We were at the bottom of the waterfall facing the third cascade and the first one was hidden behind the Second. We went through the journals available on the internet about Kurundu Oya Ella and thought of climbing to the second cascade through the thick cover of vegetation. So we went back on the same path until the place where we get out from the lorry and found that another lorry is about to leave back to walapane. So we waited until the unloading is over and jumped back in the lorry and arrived to a small path along the way towards the second cascade.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

DSCF9578

Three Cascades…

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
We started the walk along that and came to a fountain where we refilled our water bottles and had a rest. After crossing few barriers over the path we came to a dead end facing a thick Sub-Montane Forest. A call to a friend who traveled along this path confirmed that we had to go through the vegetation. So we put on our long sleeve t-shirts, packed our cameras and put them in the backpacks and went in. Few steps inside the vegetation lead us to a small cave like path through the bushes and we followed it. Leaches were every where and the earth was covered with wet decaying leaves making it hard for us to set foot firmly. The rocks were sliding down as we stepped on them and had to keep a few feet distance to avoid rocks hitting our heads unexpectedly. The path became more unclear towards the jungle and we came to a point we had to decide whether are we going to go further or turn back. Considering the time and thickness of the jungle we turned back and rushed towards the fountain. Even then it was hard to find the way back.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSCF9691……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
As soon as we reached the fountain first thing we did was removing shoes and socks to remove the leaches trying to find a way in through the socks. I removed 4 leaches and one was able to bit me through a sock. After that we put our shoes back, washed our faces and had a snack before starting the walk back. We was bit disappointed with unsuccessful trail towards the second cascade and thought of climbing the mountain over the path at least to have a good look at the first and second cascades of the waterfall. The mountain was shorter and easy climb as we saw from the path. So we started climbing.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSC_3888DSC_3887……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

DSCF9694

First Cascade – On the way to the mountain…

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
It took a while for us to realize that what we saw from the path was not the actual case. There were few carrot nurseries which were hidden to the path and then was a steep climb full of loosen rocks. The view from the mountain top was great and we spent almost an hour there zooming our cameras to capture the best.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSCF9677DSCF9689……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSCF9699……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

DSCF9713

Top pool of Kurundu Oya Ella…

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSC_3913DSC_3835……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

DSC_3895

Randenigala reservoir from the view point…

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSC_3866

 

DSC_3890

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

DSC_3892

The path we walked – Little hut is where the material unloading site…

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

DSC_3870

DSC_3838

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Our expectation was an easy path downwards when starting the climb and as what we saw from the path was not the actual case it was hard to go back from the same path. We peeked to the other side of the mountain and saw the van we came as a dot. That meant if we could go down from that side the distance will be shorter.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSC_3925……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Two of us lead the way downwards as all others (including me) had doubts about going down from that steep endless cliff. We had no other choice than following them and it was harder than we thought. The arms and legs were bruised and all had a big brown patch of mud in the back of the trousers after the most steep part of the way back. Then there was a head high, thick (But, Damn that was heavenly) growth of “Maana” bushes where a shades of a foot path was available.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSC_3928……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
We took that path and finally came back to the point where we got out from the lorry second time an walked back to the Van. We couldn’t visit the Japanese peace pagoda as it was around 4 pm then and we rushed back to Walapane town to have something to eat. We couldn’t find a place in the town and decided to head toward the “Belihuloya” (Not the famous “Belihuloya” in Badulla District) at least we could then have a bath.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

DSC_3938

The view point covered in mist…

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

DSC_3955

The friend we met in the Roti Kade…

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
There was a boutique where we had “roti” and “plain tea” before jumping in to the water. We spent about half an hour in the water and got into the Van with tired but satisfied faces. It was around 9pm when we arrived Kandy.

Lankapatuna

Map

Crew : 4

Transportation : Van

Duration : Few Hours (Around one hour spent on the location)

 

 

We were on Trincomalee and was Traveling towards Seruwawila when we remembered that the Historical Place, Lankapatuna is nearby. The “Samudragiri Viharaya” is said was built on the exact place where prince “Dhantha” and princess “Hemamala” landed with the Sacred “Tooth Relic”, the left canine tooth of lord Buddha.

Legends say that Indian princess Hemamali hid the relic in her hair and the royal couple landed in Lankapatuna, Sri Lanka after disguising themselves as Brahmins. Ruins of historical importance are said to be scattered in the Land around The Samudragiri Viharaya.

Unfortunately most of the ruins were destroyed by the LTTE during war time and they have  used the Lankapatuna area as their (sea tiger) Navel Base and the Rock which the pagoda is situated to build their communication tower. Reports say that there were many operations to remove the mines and other booby traps from the surrounding area after the war.

We were near Verugal when we decided to visit Lankapatuna, so wee took the Gravel road from Verugal to western point of the Ullakalie Lagoon. The bridge linking two points of the Lagoon has been destroyed during the war, Now there is a boat service by a local as well as Sri Lanka Navy. We used a boat and it cost us only 200 rupees (Saw that the boat rider didn’t even charged from the school children who were going back to their homes after school by the boat) for both.  The boat ride was up and down trips short but fascinating as the golden rays reflected on calm lagoon water. The temple premises is maintained by the Sri Lankan Navy. There are some stone stairs towards the pagoda. The view from the bottom of the pagoda was amazing and we spent some time there enjoying the view, before we came back to the dock for our boat ride back to the van.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..DSC_3455DSC_3453

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..DSC_3461DSC_3458

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..DSC_3462…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..DSC_3465…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..DSC_3470…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..DSC_3480DSC_3478

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..DSC_3473…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..DSC_3482…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..