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|Year and Month||7th March 2016|
|Number of Days||One day trip|
|Crew||4 (aged 19, 19, 18 and 53) and Guide|
|Transport||Train (Podi Menike)|
|Activities||Hiking, Photography, Adventure, Rock Climbing|
|Weather||Excellent – No rain at all (February, March the weather is favorable)|
|Route|| Colombo Fort -> Ihalakotte -> Alagalla -> Gangoda
->Ihalakotte -> Colombo Fort
|Tips, Notes and Special remark||
|Comments||Discuss this trip report, provide feedback or make suggestions at Lakdasun Forum on the thread|
We started our journey to Alagalla from the Colombo Fort railway station and got on the “Podi Menike” train which left Colombo Fort at 5:55 and we were able to reach the Ihalakotte station by 7:55.
We started the hike from Ihalakotte station and one of the railway officers who was going to his home in Ihalakotte village after finishing a shift was kind enough to set us up with a guide who then lead us to the top.
There was an initial part of climbing to reach the Ihalakotte village and from there on up until some distance the road did not have that much of a gradient. After strolling through the Ihalakotte village we came across a tea estate which we had to climb through. The tea was planted in terraces and and each one was at least 2 – 3 feet tall along which we climbed, after going through the tea estates for some time we came across a forest patch through which the climb was pretty steep, but the roots of the trees embedded in the soil provided good footing. After the climbing through the forest patch we came to the penultimate part of the climb, the “Mana” (Cymbopogan nardus) patch along which also the climb was steep the footing was not as good in the part before but the climb was fairly easy.
After climbing the “Mana” patch we came to the very foot of the rocky part of the Alagalla peak. From there we had to climb through the “Sinha Kata” to reach the peak. Ajith got our heavy backpacks to the top by himself so we were able to climb this part with much ease. However climbing the “Sinha Kata” was a very risky task where we had to basically climb a rock wall one by one with great care. Looking down from the middle of the “Sinha Kata” I can remember all I could see was blue sky and no ground below which would have meant that a single misstep could have been fatal. However, the climb there is short so we were able to do it without much difficulty thanks to Sisira, our guide. The risk and adventure is what makes this climb so joyous and exhilarating, having reached the peak we felt like we were on top of the world.
After taking a few quick snaps on the peak we decided to move on to Poojagala but first we had to descend the dangerous “Katusu Kondha”, fortunately for us a rope was already in place and we descended safely with the help of this rope and Sisira helped too. We basically slid down this rock face with our buttocks 😛
After that we moved through the forest on top of the Alagalla range to reach Poojagala which was on the other side of the range. On our way we had lunch in the middle of the forest. We could see many places where people had camped in the forest and we were very sad to see that many had left behind polythene bags, food wrappers etc.. thus harming the beauty and serenity of this magnificent range. So, I urge anyone and everyone who intends to travel to Alagalla to be a responsible traveler and as they say “Leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but photographs”. PLEASE HELP SAVE THE BEAUTY OF OUR MOTHERLAND FOR MANY GENERATIONS TO COME.
After a short while we were able to reach Poojagala and after spending some time there and taking a few quick snaps we decided to descend towards Gangoda station. Concrete steps were laid for most part of this descend and the descend was quite easy except in some areas where there were no steps and no proper foothold so we had slide on our buttocks to get down safely.
On our way down we came across a very small shop which offered free water and since we had run out of water already we were glad to accept this gift. We also bought a few bottles of soft drinks from there and continued to descend and reached the Gangoda station at about 16:30 and then we walked along the railway line towards the Ihalakotte station and along our way we had to move through the second longest railway tunnel in Sri Lanka. We got to the Ihalakotte station just in time to catch the “Podi Menike” train returning from Badulla which got there by 16:55 and we reached Colombo Fort station by 18:55.
This was my first hike and without a hint of doubt I can honestly say that the journey has made me fall in love with the mountains, the trees, the wind and the views. This journey therefore, I hope will be the first of many more to come.
PLEASE IF YOU VISIT THIS AREA OR ANYWHERE FOR THAT MATTER DO NOT LITTER AND DESTROY THE PRICELESS BEAUTY THAT THESE MOUNTAINS HOLD. YOU WENT THERE BECAUSE OF ITS BEAUTY, SO MAKE SURE THAT THE FUTURE GENERATIONS WILL ALSO HAVE A REASON TO GO THERE, DON’T RUIN IT FOR THEM.
Thank you very much for reading.