Dhanigala – The Alien Mountain

MapCrew : 10

Transportation : Personal Vehicles

Duration : 1 Day

 

I frequently travel from Mahaoya to Dehiaththakandiya through Maduru Oya National Park for work. There is a weird looking Jurrasic park material mountain, which had a flat top on top of a wall like boulder. It is located in a small rural village called Kandegama (Meaning the village on the mountain) in Aralaganvila and named “Dhanigala” but famous as “The Alien mountain”. It is said that there are lights traveling to the mountain from the sky at night and sometimes come to the village too.
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One of my friends called me on a Saturday and suggested  to visit there on the next day, and I agreed without any hesitation as I always wanted to climb that weird mountain. Our plan was to start the journey around 6 am from Kandy but things got delayed and it was around 6.30 when we started from Peradeniya. I went picked a friend on my way and another four friends had already started the journey on another vehicle. We stopped before Hunnasgiriya and had Pol Roti and plain tea for breakfast. It was around 10.30 am when we reached Mahaoya Town. The road upto Kirawana (Mahiyanganaya – Padiyathalawa border) is carpeted and in a very good condition but the remaining stretch is narrow and was in a very bad condition. It took around another half an hour to reach the temple just below the alien rock, “Dhanigala”.

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We asked the direction from a villager who was in the temple at that time and started to climb. But only after few hundred meters of climb we realized we won’t make it to the top without someone to guide. So we took a break while two of my friends went back to the temple and found a person who is willing to guide us. He was friendly but silent, who knew the mountain very well. There were ruins of a temple half way up. Thick brick walls covered a inclining Buddha statue which was damaged by the relic hunters. It was a very heartbreaking to witness the devastation done to these heritage which we should be protecting for the generations to come.

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We took many water breaks as it was steaming hot even under the shades of giant tree umbrella. We reached the top without much hassle and took our time wandering around observing the unusual setting. View from the top of Dhanigala is Amazing. It was covered in tree up to the horizon other than the Aralaganvila – Mahaoya Carpet Road. We saw Maduru Oya reservoir surrounding many other small tanks which have started to dried out by the harsh weather. Few hours later, we were fed up facing the mighty sun alone and thought of descending to have the protection of tree shield.

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It was harder to descend than the climb. We were out of  water reserves and our legs were weak. Plus we didn’t pack any lunch thinking we will be able to finish the hike sooner. We climbed down to the temple around 3.00 PM and the Monks were kind enough to provide us with what is left from their “Dane” (Offerings from villagers for their lunch). It took only few minutes for us to finish it off and we started a chat with the head monk regarding the stories related to The Alien Rock. Even though we couldn’t see any proof, the villagers believe aliens are landing on top of dhanigala as they said to have seen strange lights descending from the sky and going back up. We thanked the head monk for the food and started our journey back with the mysteries of odd shaped giant rock in the wilderness.

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We went to see the Maduru oya dam on the way back to mahaoya. When the dam was designed under accelerated Mahaweli Project and the excavations were started, they discovered an ancient sluice with dual inlets at the exact same location where the sluice was designed by the modern engineers. Therefore, the new design was changed to preserve the old sluice gates and we were lucky to witness the irrigation engineering marvel estimated to be constructed in 600 BC. We reached Mahaoya around 5pm, where I bid farewell to the hiking pals and drove towards Ampara as the next day was a Monday.

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