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|Year and Month||June, 2015 (2nd)|
|Number of Days||One Day Trip|
|Crew||5 – two adults & 3 kids (7-13 yrs)|
|Activities||Family trip – waterfall hunt|
|Weather||Somewhat gloomy – fortunately it didn’t rain|
|Tips, Notes and Special remark||
|Related Resources||Trail Guide: Trail to “Hariyawa Dola” waterfall complex – Sinharaja Rain Forest|
|Comments||Discuss this trip report, provide feedback or make suggestions at Lakdasun Forum on the thread|
We spent the self-declared 4-day-long Poson weekend at Matara enjoying a relaxing beach holiday. On the last day – 2nd June – we decided to leave Matara in the morning and visit the Lankagama waterfalls instead of taking the 1 ½ hour direct flight to Colombo via Expressway.
Lankagama Waterfalls was in my to-do list for a long time and last year we went all the way up to Kosmulla Duwili Ella at Neluwa but couldn’t proceed beyond due to lack of time. (My Trip Report : Scenic Rakwana Mountains and Kanneliya Forest)
We left Matara soon after breakfast around 9.30. The drive from Matara to Neluwa would have taken less than 2 hours but we took nearly 3 ½ hours as we enjoyed the Poson Dansal on the way. I should say down South dansals had variety – for the first time we enjoyed a kevili dansala.
The road from Matara to Morawaka via Akuressa was in great shape. Initially we had planned to reach Neluwa via Opatha, Thawalama as the distance seemed to be less. But upon inquiry at Pitabeddara we decided to take the Morawaka-Neluwa Road. It was in great shape and I remember when we took this road last year road widening work was in progress and now the road is a pleasure to drive. But the sky was getting dark and we had fears that it might rain soon.
Finally it was 1pm when we reached Neluwa. We passed the town and drove about 1km towards Pelwatha and turned right and crossed the bridge towards Neluwa-Kosmulla-Lankagama Road. You won’t miss the turn-off as there is a very colorful bill board with pictures of the ring of waterfalls.
We drove nearly 7km to Kosmulla Duvili Ella and I should say the road condition has deteriorated since last year. There were very bad sections even in this initial 7km. We did not stop at the falls but turned right towards Lankagama as we were already behind our schedule
It took us almost one hour to reach the ticket counter as we had to drive with extreme care but there were some good sections on an off. Though it was a difficult drive it was a very pleasant ride along the Gin River in the shady forest. There was a bath dansala close to the waterfalls but we did not stop as we wanted to cover the falls first.
There were no other vehicles parked, nor visitors to be seen when we reached the counter. The Field Officer, Mr. Gunarathna, himself joined us as there were three kids in the group. We wanted to put on our shoes but he advised us to go barefoot. So we started our walk through the jungle in rubber slippers and of course sprayed a thick layer of KIK citronella oil spray. I should say he was holding my youngest son’s hand throughout the entire journey and took extreme care when we had to cross waterways and had to climb slippery rocks. We were so fortunate to have him as our companion and benefited from his vast knowledge. As we reached each waterfall he related folklore associated with the fall and that made the journey more interesting.
We could see the Brahmana Ella even from the bridge on the road but Mr. Gunarathna said we’ll visit it last. After about 100m from the trail head we were standing pararrel to Brahmana Ella on our left and the trail splits into two at this point. The right trail goes uphill and Mr.Gunrathna said we’ll use that to come down quickly after seeing all four falls. We followed him along the path covered with wet, rotting leaves.
We walked uphill along the left branch of the stream passing the top of Brahmana Ella. The foot path ended at the point where we had to cross the stream along a small dam and we reached the second water fall -10m high Thattu Ella – which falls in tires.
We spent some time at the base of Thattu Ella enjoying the breathtaking view and to continue the journey we had to cross the base of the fall and walk upstream along the right bank. There wasn’t much water but the rocks were slippery and we had to be very careful. Mr. Gunarathna helped my little son cross first and came back to assist us.
The next attraction was Duvili Ella – the most beautiful and the most mysterious of the five falls. The path was going uphill along the stream and we could see Thattu Ella now on our right as we walked uphill. We could hear the roar of the fall from a long distance and the first glimpse of it was breathtaking.
Our tiredness was washed away by the cool droplets that sprayed from the fall. The view was mesmerizing and one could spend the whole day watching her and we really wished we had come early without wasting our time at numerous dansals. We spent nearly 15 minutes there and started our way downhill along the same path. We had to cross the same barriers again to get back to the other side of the stream.
We walked uphill along the other bank of the stream to see the other two waterfalls. Walking uphill was no easy task and at some points it was slippery. We had to spray citronella oil over and over to keep the leeches away. The next attraction was Gal-Oruwa Fall – a unique creation of nature. It is a large waterfall crashing into a narrow rock chasm. There is a small observation platform with a safety fence where one could have a good look at this unique waterfall. We were told that the depth of this chasm has not been measured up to date. The other mysterious feature is that you see a massive volume of water falling into the rock chasm making a roaring noise, but when you compare that with the small stream flowing down you wonder where all that water has gone!
We had to go further uphill to see the last one of the waterfalls. Since it is impossible to go along the edge of the chasm we walked into the forest and climbed uphill. At a point above the chasm there is an opening and we reached the last one of the ring of waterfalls – Uran Wetunu Ella.
You can walk half way on the rock slab and watch the fall falling down and you can also see it flowing down along the rock slab to create Gal Oruwa Falls right below. The legend is that when hunters fire, wild bores cross the stream at this point and some loose their balance and roll down from here.
We spend some time there enjoying the waterfall and taking a much needed rest after the uphill walk. But as the sky was gathering dark clouds we started our downhill journey without delay. Coming down was not as bad as going uphill, but we had to be very careful as some rocky sections were very slippery.
Finally after climbing down for nearly 15 minutes, we reached the first/last waterfall – Brahmana Ella – which we decided to visit last. It is the highest of the five waterfalls in the ring of waterfalls created by Hariyawa Dola. The waters of the four waterfalls on top – two on either side – create this magnificent waterfall.
We could spend some time at Brahmana Ell enjoying the breathtaking view as the rain coulds decided not to spoil our day. There were shallow pools at the base but it was still too risky bathing there. Mr. Gunarathna adviced us to bath near the bridge where it is very safe.
Finally we came back to the tickets counter tired but feeling very contented having seen five glorious waterfalls in one go. We thanked Mr.Gunarathna and bid farewell but he was kind enough to come down to show us a safe bathing place. We finished the waterfall hunt with a cool dip in the shallow waters of Hariyawa Dola that washed away all our tiredness.
It was past 5pm when we started our return journey and the Bath Dansala nearby was still open and we could not resist their invitation for the second time. It was a delicious meal after our long hike. It was past six when we reached Neluwa and our return journey was via Pelwatha, Horawala, Welipenna and along the Expressway to reach Colombo.
Thanks for reading!