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|Year and Month|| 2015 December 13th
2016 March 05th
|Number of Days||Total one|
|Crew||3-Indranatha,Nuwan and my self|
|Transport||Bus, walking and train|
|Route||Kandy -> Kadugannawa (කඩුගන්නාව) -> Rambukkana (රඹුක්කන) -> Colombo|
|Tips, Notes and Special remark||
2. The blog on Railway hike Rambukkana to Kadugannawa
|Comments||Discuss this trip report, provide feedback or make suggestions at Lakdasun Forum on the thread|
Colombo-Kandy railway line was built in British period for the purpose of transportation of tea, rubber, coffee and cocoa. There are important land marks in this rail way line and beautiful section lied between Kadugannawa to Rambukkana. From Rambukkana to Kadugannawa it rises 1300 feet and sometimes going along the edges of the mountain. After Kadugannawa it follows fairly flat line till Kandy.
This is my first experience of a rail hike/rail walk. I found an important blog when I was searching about this stretch. Then my main objective was to cover land marks mentioned in that blog.
We reached Kadugannawa around 8 am and weather was superb following last night rain.
I have visited important places at Kadugannawa in this year. We just entered Kadugannawa station and walked towards Colombo.
Kadugannawa to Balana
Distance from Kadugannawa to Balana is 4.5km. First important land mark is the highest point (519m) of Kandy railway line, which is situated at 64¾ mile post. Then we have come across first tunnel-Tunnel No-11. Next two important places were Lions’ mouth (සිoහ කට) at 64th mile post and Elephant’s back (අලි පස්ස). No-10 tunnel is seemed as back of an elephant, called as elephant’s back. The section of this Lions’ mouth and elephant’s back provides beautiful view towards Bathalegala (බතලේගල) (Bible’s rock), Ura Kanda (ඌරා කන්ද), Dewanagala (දෙවනගල) and Balumgala (බැලුම් ගල) at Kadugannawa.
Then we have reached Tunnel No-10 at which old rail way line passed out side of the tunnel. At the moment no any traces except signal line pillars.
Train halt at Weralugolla (වෙරළුගොල්ල) is an important place because it is shown in the map as Werly’s Groove. There was another tunnel before Balana (බලන) station-No-09A.Because of water streams flows from Weralugolla mountain they have made the railway line through the 9A tunnel. Just before Balana station we searched for “Aguru Wanga”-අගුරු වoග/ “Wawul Bokkuwa”-වවුල් බෝක්කුව. But it was difficult to get into that culvert. If you want, you can get the foot pathway which is situated at right hand side just before Balana station. An old church is situated there. Water stream starting from Balana Fort called “Katale Ela”-කැටලේ ඇල flows under “Wavul Bokkuwa”.
Balana fort can be reached from Balana railway station.
Balana to Ihala Kotte
The distance from Balana station to Ihala Kotte is 5km. One important area in passing was Hakura Watichcha Gala (හකුරා වැටිච්ච ගල). This was named as sensational rock by British. There is a superb view from here and it was mentioned as “good view” in maps sketched during colonial period. At the beginning of Hakura Watichcha Gala, you may notice a small bridge which is named as “Kudira Palama” -කුදිර පාලම as it was used for horses when railway track is being constructed. You may notice a guard rail way line to prevent the train from falling towards other side when it passes this section.
After 7th and 6th tunnels you will come across Dekinda Bridge-දෙකිද පාලම. To view Dekinda culvert (දෙකිද බෝක්කුව), you have to walk down along left hand side foot pathway just after 6th tunnel. Dekinda oya flows under this bridge.
Makehelwela (මාකේල්වෙල) train halt seems to be non functional at the moment. There is a five arched bridge (Alagalla viaduct) situated closer to Ihala Kotte (ඉහළ කෝට්ටේ) railway station at 59th½ mile post. It is kind of a viaduct which bridges Alagalla Mountain with Kehelwela Mountain and Hakoluwawa Oya (හක් ඔලුවාව ඔය) flows under this bridge. We can only see one of the five arches and other four were closed during colonial era.
We reached Ihala Kotte station then. Travellers who are visiting Alagalla (අලගල්ල) Mountain will get down at Ihala Kotte station where foot pathway started. Then you can visit at Dekinda Falls also from Ihala Kotte station. British have spelled Balana as Ballany and still it is stated at tablet box of Ihala Kotte station. Ihala Kotte railway station is situated at 322m from sea level and no vehicles still have reached the station except train.
Ihala Kotte to Rambukkana
After passing Ihala Kotte station we reached “Sangaraja Lena” (සoඝරාජ ලෙන) which is situated closer to 59th mile post. The great Buddhist leader called Rev. Welivita Sri Asarana Sarana Saranankara Thero (වැලිවිට ශ්රීd අසරණ සරණ සරණoකර හිමි) has visited here during his novice period. 5A tunnel is the next mile stone will come across in this stretch. This is the second longest railway tunnel of Sri Lanka which is 413m long. It goes through the rock where Meeyan Ella (මීයන් ඇල්ල) falls. Earlier railway line was situated along the steepness and later this tunnel was built due to a railway accident. You can have another good view from this old railway line track.
If you go along the old railway line, Meeyan Ella can be view. British have divided proper Meeyan Falls into two parts before falls here. There was a clear foot pathway till recent but now it is covered with shrubs. When Waterfall has water, it is bit difficult to reach there due to thickly grown Mana. But people will burn Mana during dry season. Then you can walk along the old line but no water in waterfalls.
Kadigamuwa to Rambukkana
The Train has just more than five kilometers journey to reach Rambukkana from Kadigamuwa. I have done this stretch separately from Rambukkana to Kadigamuwa but will mention in other way round.
After about 750m from Kadugannawa station, at Kaballawaththa (කැබැල්ලවත්ත) railway line crosses Mawanella-Rambukkana road (B385) as a fly over. This is also a kind of viaduct but you can notice a road instead of water. We walked further towards Rambukkana and came across Tunnel No 04 (called Walkara Binge-වැල්කාර බිoගේ), No 03 (called Kota Binge-කොට බිoගේ) and No 02 (called Wali Binge- වැලි බිoගේ) respectively. Kiriwallapitiya (කිරිවල්ලාපිටිය) is the place where intercity rail accident happened at 2002. At the end we reached Rambukkana station and it winded up the rail walk from Kadugannawa to Rambukkana.
As a summary important land marks found in this rail walk
Kadugannawa station-Balana Station
1.Highest point of Udarata railway line at 64¾ mile post
2.No 11 tunnel
4.No 10 tunnel-Elephant’s back
6. 9A tunnel
7.“Aguru Wanga”-අගුරු වoග/ “Wawul Bokkuwa”-වවුල් බෝක්කුව
Balana to Ihala Kotte
1.No 08 tunnel
2.Sensational rock, “Kudira Palama”, Good view
3.7th and 6th tunnels
6.Ihala Kotte station
Ihala Kotte to Rambukkana
2.5A tunnel, Meeyan Falls, old railway line
7.No 4, No 3, No 2 tunnels
Thank you for reading