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|Year and Month||July 2012|
|Number of Days||Two Days|
|Crew||3 (between 25-31 years of age)|
|Accommodation||Mahaweli Authority Circuit Bungalow, Kala Wewa|
|Transport||Double Cab (Hilux VIGO)|
|Weather||Excellent (Dry as we expected )|
|Route||Colombo -> Kurunegala -> Dambulla -> Kekirawa -> Kala Wewa and return on Kala Wewa -> Galewela -> Kurunegala -> Colombo
|Tips, Notes and Special remarks||
|Comments||Discuss this trip report, provide feedback or make suggestions at Lakdasun Forum on the thread|
We started from Kadawatha at about 4.30 pm in the afternoon and drive towards kurunegala under heavy traffic congestion. Our plan was to pass kurunegala as soon as possible and then decide whether using Galewela road or Dambulla –Kekirawa road. But as we expected, it took almost 4 hours to pass kurunegala and then we decided to use Dambulla-Kekirawa main road since no one of us was familiar the Galewela road.
We were able to pass Dambulla at about 10.30pm after having dinner, Dambulla- Kekirawa road was under construction and met with humps in every 200 meters. From Kekirawa we took left turn towards Thalawa and then again took left turn from the Ihalagama junction, that’s the road runs directly to the Galewela via Kala Wewa. Finally we managed to reach Mahaweli authority circuit bungalow at about 11.30pm.
We were warmly welcome by Bungalow care takers and they arranged two rooms facing Kala Wewa in newly built wing. To reserve rooms on new wing required permission from the minister but on this particular day we were the only guests at the bungalow and able make a deal with them. So it was a bit a bonus for us.
We had little chat on our schedule on next day and went to sleep with keeping the hope of seeing legendary Kala Wewa tuskers on next day.
Next day morning was fascinating, Sun rising at Kala Wewa was a wonderful sight to watch. In the morning Kala Wewa and suburb area was bit busy with fishermen, they were taking the advantage of severe drought. Anyway it is good that at least those people have a someway of earning money, but the bad thing was some of the people using nets which were beyond the regulated sizes declared by the Inland Fisheries Authority.
We saw plenty of fish eagles loitering around the area.
After a two hours of photography session we decided to visit Avukana Shrine after the breakfast. Since it was a middle of the week, there were no any other visitors and the place was calm and quit and that added extra prestige and pride to the statue.
After the lunch we waited few more hours at the circuit bungalow hoping that the herd will get into the lake just opposite the circuit as told by the bungalow caretaker. But soon we realized we don’t have such luck. So we thought it is better to search the herd rather than waiting them to appear in front of us. We waited there for another one hour because we were accepting the company of one our friends who is living in Kekirawa and also having few contacts with local people and as well as wild life enthusiasts.
Our primary plan was to drive back to Kekirawa and then drive towards Madathugama and enter the Kala Wewa forest reserve via Galkiriyagama side, but later we changed our plan since we got information from our friend’s contact that villagers have seen the herd near the fishery village in Vijithapura. So we turn back towards Kala Wewa and turn left from a small junction just passed the Vijithapura temple. It was a gravel road which runs straight to the Kala Wewa bank through the fishery village. Gradually the gravel road turns in to a typical four wheel drive track and we moved slowly towards the lake. Suddenly we heard a few villagers shouting us to stop and at the same time I saw a big elephant standing right middle the road. Then we spotted few more elephants crossing the road and entering the small forest stretch near the lake. Then we drive further and entered to the dried lake bank and at that time the whole herd were moved in to the forest stretch and we couldn’t see any of them, but as per villagers, they must coming out surely for quench their thirst. So we had to wait. We waited almost for half an hour but no clue of the herd. Only good news we had was that few villagers have seen two tuskers and they crossed the road and entered to the jungle minutes before we came.
Then our friend gave us good suggestion, he showed us an abandoned four story building complex in right middle of the forest stretch and asked us to climb the top of that. So we moved our double cab towards that and it was bit of challenging task since there was no actual road and we just drove through the bushes and no turn back in case of elephant charge. We couldn’t believe our own eyes when we reached there, it was clearly a destruction of the Kala Wewa forest reserve and as well as wasting of money, because concrete pillars were cracked and iron bars were decaying. Later we got to know that there is some political influence behind this. Any way we managed to climb up to 4th floor, but still no sign of the herd. Occasionally we herd their sound but no visibility at all. Suddenly we saw one three wheeler traveling along the lake bank and it suddenly stopped. So we guess that the time we were waiting this long and then another motor bicycle came ant it’s also stopped. Then we harried into the cab and turn back towards the lake. Our guess was right and we saw young bull (tusker) at the edge of the forest stretch and doing bit of reconnaissance.
Soon it was accompanied by another elephant and both them came out and wait almost 20 minutes before others to come out. It was a fascinating view, dried up Kala Wewa at one side and thick forest stretch in other side, tusker at the middle.
When we saw the herd first time, there were only few people around but later plenty of villagers came to see this tusker. Soon we realized how irresponsible human activities hurt these fascinating animals. One man moved unwontedly closer to the tusker to take a photograph from his mobile phone, Then the bull got excited and charged into the jungle and that stupid act destroyed the fascinating view of all elephant lovers and as well as villagers. Luckily the tusker didn’t charged into us or into that person. If that happened this story will be bit different.
After another half an hour or so we saw them coming out again. But that time the herd was guided by another tusker (Elder brother) and he seems to be more aggressive.
It was getting darker and darker then the whole herd came out to the lake bank and there were about 30 odd elephants, and two young tusker so cold Kala wewa brothers but unfortunately we couldn’t see the legendary “Deegadanthu” and “Walagamba” which were the leaders of this herd few months back. So that’s end of one of the unforgettable evening of my life.