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|Year and Month||January, 2015 (18th to 19th)|
|Number of Days||Two Day Trip|
|Crew||04 – Niroshan,Nirosh,Sadaruwan and Anuradha|
|Transport||Bus and walking|
|Activities||Mountain climbing, Sightseeing, Camping and Photography|
|Route||Colombo -> Peradeniya University -> Sarasawigama (සරසවිගම) -> Gal Oya Hadabima Janapadaya(ගල් ඔය හදබිම ජනපදය) -> Hanthana Range -> Hanthana Tea Estate West division -> Amaya Hills Hotel at Bowalawatta (බෝවලවත්ත) -> Peradeniya University -> Colombo|
|Tips, Notes and Special remark||
|Comments||Discuss this trip report, provide feedback or make suggestions at Lakdasun Forum on the thread|
Hanthana (හන්තාන) is one of famous mountain ranges in Sri Lanka. It is located in central hills closer to the second largest city of Sri Lanka-Kandy. Hanthana provides a good view of surrounding areas. This range has seven prominent peaks out of them Ura Ketu Gala (ඌරා කෙටූ ගල) is the highest.
A lot of University students have visited at Hanthana in their under graduate life as it is a common batch trip. But most of them go only to a part of Hanthana range.
I haven’t been there during my undergraduate days. Therefore this was a special journey for me. Then our objective was to cover entire Hanthana range in 2days with night camping.
Anuradha has climbed Hanthana range few times but not the whole range. He guided us during the trip.
First day early morning we three joined with Anuradha at Peradeniya University. Then we got a bus from there to Sarasawigama.
We got down at Sarasawigama bus stops and started the journey. First we walked along a tarred road and then came across a gravel road. The day was brightened and splendid view of Gampola (ගම්පොල) side was seen in my right hand side. Then we noticed the Hanthana range and we wanted to start from one end. Therefore we decided to get into the Pinus and Eucalyptus forest which situated just below the one end of the range.
After Pinus forest we came across a Mana patch which extends up to top of the first mountain. We reached first mountain around 12noon. (We had fairly late start)
On top of Hanthana range you can see Peacock Hills (මොණර කන්ද), Gampola Town, and Kabaragala (කබරගල)-highest Peak of Dolosbage Mountain, Kadugannawa (කඩුගන්නාව), Alagalla (අලගල්ල), and Mahaweli River, Bathalegala (බතලේගල), Ura Kanda (ඌරා කන්ද) and Piduruthalagala range. On the other side you can notice Knuckles (නකල්ස්) range, Hunnasgiriya (හුන්නස්ගිරිය), Wilshire, and Etipola (ඇටිපොල)
One may think once you get onto the top of the range you can walk along the peaks of the range. It is not always true. Our next target was Ura Ketu Gala-highest peak of the range. But there was a considerable gap and a thick forest area in between the peak we reached and Ura Ketu Gala (ඌරා කෙටූ ගල). Therefore we had to go down first and cross the forest patch and then climb up.
It was bit difficult to cross the forest area as bushes were aligned together so tightly. Somehow we crossed it and climbed up towards the peak of Ura Ketu Gala (ඌරා කෙටූ ගල). Angle of the rock was about 700-800. Therefore we had to find a small gutter over the rock and climb along it (reminded me Lakegala). Once we reach the peak of Ura Ketu Gala we have noticed a group of students of Explora club of UOP was following us. But they selected a different route to reach the peak. They came to one end of Ura Ketu Gala and walked on the knife blade to reach the peak with the help of a rope.
Kohomba Kankariya–කොහොඹා කoකාරිය and Ura Ketu Gala -ඌරා කෙටූ ගල
Kohomba Kankariya is one of the main events of Kandyan dancing system. Origin of Kohomba Kankariya relates to Ura Ketu Gala.
According to legend, the origin of this ritual dates back even to King Panduvasudeva’s පන්ඩුවාසදේව era in which it was born. The king was inflicted with an incurable disease (Known as Diwidosaya–දිවිදෝසය), as a result of his predecessor, King Vijaya (විජය රජතුමා) not keeping his promise to Princess Kuveni (කුවේණි). It was the decision of God Sakra ශක්ර දේවීන්ද්රයා -the King of gods-that he could not be cured except by a person who was born out of a flower-known as the king of a flower. (The name ‘Male Rajuroowo’ මලේ රජ්ජුරුවෝ (prince from flowers) in Sinhala is derived from this episode). ‘Male Rajuroowo’ lived in India.
How could this be achieved? Sakra suggested that the only way the King of the flower could be brought into the island, was by means of Rahu (රාහු), the Chief of the Asura (අසුර) tribe. He suggested that Rahu should take the form of a Boar (ඌරා), and should destroy the garden of the King of the Flower. When it happened King came to the garden and chased the boar to kill by sword. But he couldn’t catch the boar and both came to Sri Lanka.
At Hanthana range when he tried to put the boar to the sword boar became a rock. This rock is known as Ura Ketu Gala. Then God Sakra came to the place and explained the purpose of bringing him to Sri Lanka.
The King of flower agreed to cure King Panduvasudeva and performed Kohomba Kankariya at Mahamewuna Garden at Anuradhapura. (Taken from: lankalibrary.com and did some changes)
Coming to Ura Ketu Gala was a bit tough exercise and we have finished almost all the water bottles we carried. All were thirsty but Nirosh and Anuradha were affected by it well. Anuradha has planned to pitch our camp at “Katusu Konda”-කටුසු කොන්ද near a water stream (4th mountain for my counting). But it seemed we have to walk there without water.
After passing Ura Ketu Gala we entered 5th peak easily. There was a small cave which can accommodate about 3-4 people.
There was a thick forest patch in between 5th peak and Katusukonda (කටුසු කොන්ද). We were not able to cross it closer to the peak. Therefore we decided to go down parallel to the forest border and to find a foot pathway/ less thick area to cross. But dehydration and lack of water changed our plans. Eventually we determined to find a water source somehow. Anuradha and Sanadaruwan have pointed glistening of water over rock surface somewhere far away. Quickly we reached there and found a small water pocket on the ground, which is having continuous water supply. We couldn’t think about a better place for camping other than this.
Day 02 was also brightened as previous day. We went further down parallel to forest patch and found a foot pathway to cross. (Actually we found it previous day). Though it was easy to cross the forest patch we had to climb up a lot to reach the peak of Katusukonda.
Katusukonda (කටුසු කොන්ද) acquired it’s name due to distance appearance of peaks like a back of a lizard.
According to my numbering system it was the 4th significant peak.
The way towards Katusukonda was full of Mana bushes but it was not difficult to climb through it. On top of Katusukonda you can enjoy nice blow of wind and view of Knuckles range.
At latter part of Katusukonda we came across another forest patch through which a foot pathway has gone. It was nice to enter a forest cover after Mana bushes and afternoon sunrays. Again we entered into Mana bushes and climbed to 3rd peak. On top of that someone has placed a flag. What we clearly noticed after Katusukonda foot pathway was clear. As this is the frequently visited area by climbers as Hanthana.
There was a mountain with Pinus cover in our left hand side in between Katusukonda (4th peak) and 3rd peak. If you start the climbing from Udaperadeniya side you may come through Pinus patch of this mountain and will end up at Katusukonda.
We descended into another thick Mana patch following 3rd peak and entered nice forest covering. Foot pathway was further clear and at some places it was marked. Then we started to climb again and came out of the forest to end up at 2nd peak. The peak with transmission towers was left to cross.
The foot pathway over the peak of towers (1st peak) goes just closer to the security fence. Nice view of busy Kandy city was seen at the end of Hanthana range. There were about 8 transmission towers on the 1st peak of Hanthana range. This must be the highest number of transmission towers placed on a single peak in Sri Lanka. We got down along the foot pathway from transmission towers and ended our journey.
Thanks for reading.