|Copyright Notice: Please obtain permission from the author before duplicating, re-publishing or adapting content of a trip report|
|Be a responsible traveler! Watch this video before you hit the road! Download Video: MP4|3gp|
|Do you like to contribute a Trip Report? learn how to or download template and start straight away!|
|Year and Month||2016 August 20th and 21st|
|Number of Days||Two|
|Crew||9-Chamara, Prabath, Kaweesha, Nuwan, Keshan, Kasun, Eshan, Sithija and my self|
|Accommodation||Haramitipana (හැරමිටිපාන) Ambalama at Palabathgala-Sripada trail|
|Transport||By bus and Hiking|
|Activities||Hiking, Photography, Waterfalls seeing|
|Weather||Gloomy and drizzling|
|Route||Colombo->Rathnapura->Malwala->Palabaddala (පලාබත්ගල)->Haramitipana Ambalama->Back to Seetha Gangula->Bana Samanala plain->Back to Seetha Gangula (සීත ගගුල)->Palabaddala->Rathnapura->Colombo|
|Tips, Notes and Special remark||
|Comments||Discuss this trip report, provide feedback or make suggestions at Lakdasun Forum on the thread|
This is kind of a trip I didn’t want to document early because we couldn’t achieve our target. But later I changed my mind as requested by other companions of the journey and I thought this note would be useful for someone who attempts this in future. Though we were not able to reach the peak it was a nice memorable trip for the life.
Bana Samanala are two peaks situated at closer to each other at Peak Wilderness. British called it as twin peaks to due to it’s similar view from top of Adam’s peak. They mentioned it as false peak due to similarity to Adam’s peak/Sri Pada.
But locals name one peak (tallest one) as Bana Samanala and other one as Darmaraja Gala (ධර්මරාජගල). 1:50 000 map shows it’s height as 2010m but must be lower than this.
Bana Samanala peak has been conquered by few members of Explora club- University of Peradeniya recently. It stimulated my mind to do this expedition (Called expedition as there is no proper path to the peak). I gathered information from one of the member from that group and planned the journey in off season of Sri Pada.
Eventually I got a big number of friends for this journey, all together 9! It was a bit challenge for me as I have never been a part of such a big group and indirectly I have to look after requirements of everyone.
I selected August month for this expedition as it is fairly dry season. The pathway we got to Bana Samanola is following the Palabaddala-Sri Pada trail up to Seetha Gangula and then goes up along Seetha Gangula. We imagined it would be easy to go up along Seetha Gangula in dry season. Our initial plan was to reach the peak in first day and camp over there. Second day we reserved for second peak and Adam’s peak. But plans would not work always.
Five of us got Rathnapura bus from Colombo and reached Rathnapura bus stand around 7’o clock. Others joined with us there and we got Palabathgala bus following our breakfast. We just informed to Palabaddala police post and the priest of the temple that we are going Sri Pada in off season. (We didn’t mention about Bana Samanala hike).
Day 01-Off season Sri Pada hike up to Seetha Gangula
Weather was fairly good at our beginning and we were informed a Buddhist monk stays at a cave situated at the base of Darmarajagala. Few villagers have gone there for alms giving on that day morning. First we crossed Pahala Pawanella and Ihala Pawanella (පවනැල්ල) villages and then passed Dorala Kade (දොරල කඩේ), Kokatiya Kanda (කොකටිය කද) and Lihini Hela. Though this is my 10th visit to Sri Pada, I have been at once in Palabathgala trail for climbing. It happened in my childhood with parents and it was my first visit to Sri Pada. We had two amateurs (Kodu Karayo) in this visit and we didn’t forget to keep a “Panduru”-පඩුරු for them. After passing Lihini Hela (ලිහිණි හෙල) the steepness was more and gradually we reached the place where Kalu Ganga origins at 1.30pm. We had number of rest stations and passed Katu Kithula Wanguwa (කටු කිතුල), Gonathalla Hela (ගොනතල්ල හෙල) and Gatanethula (ගැටනෙතුල) before arrive there. We decided to have our lunch at Kalu Ganga where we met the villagers who brought alms to meditating sermon. They explained how to reach the cave to meet Buddhist sermon and we thought it is important to meet him to get directions to Bana Samanala.
Next mile stones we passed were Diyabethma (දියබෙත්ම), Indikatupana (ඉදිකටුපාන), Darmarajagala and Galpoththa (ගල්පොත්ත). We passed 6500th steps and identified the foot pathway in right hand side towards the cave. Weather has been changed to misty and gloomy. It was about 30 minutes walk to the cave and we met Buddhist sermon. He explained the route along Seetha Gangula and mentioned he has been at Bana Samanola Mountain in 2004. It was around 3.30pm and we decided to camp somewhere along the trail. We had a dip in cold weather at Seetha Gangula. The Ambalama at Seethagangula was demolished and we climbed further to reach Haramitipana where the largest flat area comes across in Palabaddala trail.
It was around 5.00pm when we reached Haramitipana. We had three Ambalama to be chosen to stay overnight. First we collected firewood and set a fire at outside of Ambalama to have refreshing tea. There was a watcher who stayed at Haramitipana and his initial respond was not good but later he was ok with us. As it started to drizzle we shifted the fire into Ambalama. It was a challenge to maintain the fire with damped firewood. After having a dinner we had few songs and fell into sleep. Though we carry two tents we put tent sheets only and slept on that. With freezing cold some guys were battling with sleep but I had a nice sleep till 1am. Around 1am I woke up with the scream of girls initially thought a nightmare.
Two Russian girls were climbing Sri Pada in Palabaddala road alone with dark. The dog was at Haramitipana barked at them and it made them to scream. We resettle the fire back and invited them also to be around it. It was a strange experience to all of us to have two Russian girls at our Ambalama in middle of night. We were friendly with them well and they appreciated the hospitality of Sri Lankans. We invited these two tourists to wait till 3.30/4.00 am and climb rest of the trail with us to Sri Pada.
Day 02- Along Kuru Ganga /කුරු ගග (Seethagangula) to reach Bana Samanala
We have changed our mind in middle of the night to first visit Sri Pada in early morning. Because we noticed surrounding peaks in clearly with moon light. It started to rain around 3am and it delayed our journey till dawn. As surrounding was covered with mist even at dawn we decided to not to go Sri Pada and concentrate on our main target. Russians said good bye and invited us to visit Moscow.
Our new plan was to climb Bana Samanala peak along Seetha Gangula and come back as early as possible because the bus from Palabaddala is scheduled at 5.30pm. Nuwan decided to not to go and we kept our all stuff at Ambalama under the care of Nuwan.
After having some Samaposha we carried only little necessary stuff and climbed down till Seethagangula.
The route description given by Explora club member and Buddhist monk was like this:
Seethagangula gets branch soon and follow the right hand side one. Then follow the left hand side branch in second division and walk up along the stream till it ends. Then go through the bushes till you reach the peak. I have done map reading and had an idea of the direction of Bana Samanala peak.
Water level of Seetha Gangula was not that much high compared to yesterday but it was dam slippery to walk on rock surface. After few meters I gave up the idea to not to make my shoes wet. Once we entered right hand side branch it started to rain a little. We came across three prominent waterfalls in this journey and I would like to name them as Kuru Ganga falls-1, 2 and 3 respectively. Kuru Ganga branched into two again. We selected the left branch but it was divided into two in twice. This made us confuse as we were advised to walk till the end of the water stream. Due to thick mist the peak or even nearby higher places couldn’t be viewed. Eventually we decided to follow most left branches and at the end entered to the forest.
There was no foot pathway in the forest and we had to separate bushes to move up. It was not that much difficult with Nelu bushes. We climbed up for about an hour imaging of the peak with flat rocky surface and a cave (According to them the peak has flat rocky surface and a cave). At the end we realized that we are in a flat area and time was around 12 noon. It made us to go back without getting on the top.
1. We have planned to get last bus from Palabaddala-5.30pm. If we didn’t turn back at that time we would have to stay at Palabaddala over night.
2. Surrounding was extremely gloomy and only recent objects were seen with mist. We couldn’t see the peak.
3. If we reach the peak we wouldn’t have a surrounding view.
4. We were shortage of food: We had few loaves of breads for breakfast with two packets of biscuits.
Return journey was quick and we spent about 2 hours to reach Sri Pada trail. Soon after packing things we left Haramitipana Ambalama and rushed to Palabaddala as there was only 3 hours for the last bus. Though we arrived Palabaddala at 5.30pm last bus didn’t operate that day. At the end we hired a van to reach Rathnapura.
Later our map review showed we have by passed both Bana Samanala and Darmarajagala peaks and reached the plain between Sri Pada and Bana Samanala. (About 1900m-2000m height).
Thanks for reading
සුමන සමන් දෙවි පිහිටයි.