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|Year and Month||August 2007|
|Number of Days||Two Day Trip|
|Accommodation||Pitadeniya Forest Department Dormitory|
|Transport||The “old but faithful” jeep 🙂|
|Activities||Just driving around to explore the area, Photography, Hiking|
|Weather||Weather cooperated very well. No rain and perfect light for photography!|
|Route||Colombo -> Rathnapura -> Pelmadulla -> Madampe -> Rakwana -> Suriyakanda -> Deniyaya -> PallegamaFrom Pallegama we explored the Hathmale ella falls (about 4km from Pallegama) and the Pitadeniya forest department conservation center|
|Tips, Notes and Special remarks||
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This was one of those trips where you pick a random week end and head some where you have never been to, with pretty much no planing in advance!
This time it was me and Prabath. We decided that Deniyaya would be a nice area to explore, so two of us boarded my old but faithful jeep at 2 a.m. on a Saturday and started driving towards Deniyaya via Rathnapura, Rakwana and Suriyakanda.
By 6.00 a.m. we were driving along the scenic A17 (Madampe-Deniyaya) road winding through the Buluthota – Rakwana hills. The sunrise over buluthota hills and the scenic views around Suriyakanda were simply Stunning!
By 7.30 in the morning we were at Deniyaya town. After a quick breakfast we were thinking about a plan for the day. We knew that the waterfall “Hathmale Ella” or the “seven story falls” is located somewhere close by and decided to visit that. A little bit of fact finding from the locals helped us map the route.
We drove about 7km from Deniyaya on Pallegama road. Passing Pallegama town we continued up to Pallegama Bridge. Just before the Pallegama Bridge, there was a by road to the right hand side. If I’m not mistaken the name of the road was “Hathmale Ella road”. We drove about 1km along this road to find out that we were at some one’s garden! It was a dead end. We asked for directions to the waterfall from there to find out that we have to drive a few hundred meters more (4wd track) crossing the home garden, a quick climb up thereafter, and we were at the place where we can walk down to the base of the waterfall.
Retruning from the waterfall, the next destination that came to our mind was the forest department camp at Pitadeniya, one of the entry points to the Sinharaja Forest. Again another round of fact finding gave us the directions.
We drove back to Pallegama town and took the left turn ( turn right if you are driving from Deniyaya) towards Mederipitiya. At Mediripitiya we came across this narrow bridge, which just cleared the jeep!
Crossing the bridge, we drove another 1.5km when the jeep track came to an end. A round of fact finding again revealed that to reach the Pitadeniya Camp we had to either,
1) Park at this point and walk about 1.5 km along the Lankagama foot path, cross the river “Gin Ganga” by a raft and reach the camp
2) Take the 10km “though” jeep track all the way to the camp from the Deniyaya – Pallegama road without going through Mederipitiya.
They clearly told us that this jeep track is “Tough” and only “Tractors” go there. so what, we were in a “Farm Tractor” too (well the 1984 military spec land cruiser was a tad more civilized than a tractor! 🙂 ). So we decided to go back to Pallegama and look for this jeep track.
Back on the Deniyaya Pallegama road, we drove passing Pallegama town again. This time we crossed the Pallegama Bridge and turned right on to the jeep track (my memory is little hazy here but the map seems to confirm my memory about crossing the bridge).
The first five kilometers on the jeep track was no challenge at all. We breezed through the stretch wondering about the “need for a tractor”. Soon the “luxury jeep track turned almost “no track”. The next 5km to the camp really pushed us and the jeep to the limits.
It was about 1.30 p.m. by the time we reached Pitadeniya camp. We met the forest department officers there and they were kind enough to let us stay with them in one of their unoccupied rooms even though we hadn’t reserved the dormitory. Thanking them for thier kid help, we decided to spend the rest of the trip exploring the surrounding.
Around 3.00p.m. we started to wonder around. To explore the forest, one should cross the river and take the trails to the forest from the Lankagama foot path. We decided to do the Pathanoya waterfall trail.
By the time we returned to the conservation center the day had come to an end. The forest officers were kind enough to invite us for dinner (remember we turned up there with no notice!).
The following morning we packed our bags and left early knowing the trouble we have to go through on the jeep track.
We returned on the same route, passing the scenic Buluthota hills and the hair-pin bends of the A17.