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|Year and Month||October 2010|
|Number of Days||Two Day Trip|
|Crew||4 (between 25-30 years of age)|
|Accommodation||CEB circuit bungalow – Kotmale|
|Activities||Water fall hunting, Photography, Visit archeological places, scenic driving|
|Route||We took the long way around to enable more sight seeing on the first day and took the shorter route on the second.
Colombo -> Avissawella -> Kalugala-> Laxapana -> Norton Bridge -> Castlereigh -> Dik Oya -> Hatton -> Thalawakele -> Pundalu Oya -> Thawalamtenna -> Pussella -> Kadadora -> Mawathura (close to Ulapane)
|Tips, Notes and Special remarks||
|Related Resource||Trip Planing Thread (with Google Earth KML) – Help needed to plan a trip to Kothmale|
|Comments||Discuss this trip report, provide feedback or make suggestions at Lakdasun Forum on the thread|
Kotmale valley has been one of the places that I have always wanted to visit due to its hidden nature, natural beauty and the history it contained. This was sort of a quick trip which was planned about 10 days prior to the execution but even with such short time lines we were able to get together a good plan thanks largely due to the help from Lakdasun members.
It has been raining quite heavily along the South – Wetsern areas of the country but we were determined to make the trip as it would give life to many beautiful cascades that would otherwise be non existent during the dry months.
We left Colombo early so that the whole day could be allocated to sight seeing and we decided to take the long way around “Parangiya Kotte Giya wage” to enjoy the scenic roads of the hill country.
Our first stop was Laxapana for breakfast. Even though I have been to Laxapana before, it was during the dry season and this time rain had completely altered the landscape. The seven virgins were covered in a veil of mist and water falls were everywhere. At almost every bend one could here the gushing sound of water. The seasonal “Gerandi Ella” had begun to flow creating a beautiful sight just by the road a short distance before the power plant.
After a hearty meal we proceeded towards Norton Bridge passing the double cut junction where the only zero km (0km) post I have ever seen is present. At Norton Bridge junction we paid a silent respect to the passengers of the Martin Air DC8 plane which crashed into the Seven Virgin hills in Dec 4 1974 at the memorial erected by the Norton Bridge police.
The next stop was at the Wimalasurendra Power Plant at Norton Bridge where we were lucky enough to observe how a hydro power plant operates thanks to a friend of ours who obtained all the necessary permissions for visitors to enter the power plant. This may not be possible to ordinary people and you need to go through a lot of approval processes to go through.
Our onward journey was laid along the banks of the Castlereigh reservoir where we came across a old enchanted church over looking the reservoir. It has been built in 1878 for the service of British nationals who resided in the area. The painted glass windows, the really old pipe organ, tomb stones more than a century old and the Holy Bible from yesteryear takes the visitors a step back in time.
Moving on, we took a short breather to view Devon and St.Clairs falls along the way and turned towards Pundalu Oya from Thalawakele. The road from there onwards was superb while the main Hatton-Thalwakele road was appalling. The views were fantastic along this stretch and waterfalls were plenty. We took a detour from Pundalu Oya to visit the famous Dunsinane Falls. With the amount of rain the water fall was in full bloom spraying breeze on to all visitors travelling along the road.
Even with the threat of rain, we did not feel like leaving this beautiful place but had to move on since time was flying by. From there onwards, it was a straight drive passing Thawalmtenne and turning left from Pussella towards Ulapane. This road was difficult to find as it does not appear to be a motorable road but more like a road through a tea estate. However, after a while the road became better and we reached Mawathura amidst the rain.
Second day was dedicated to exploring the history. The incessant rain made things quite tough to explore as roads were washed away and even the average roads were very slippery and we had to limit ourselves to only a few places. With the rain there were heavy leech attacks as well which dented our plans even further. But the weather overall was nice and cool.
Our first stop was at Dehudu Kadulla where according to legend Prince Gamini had hidden his sword before entering the Kadadora village where he stayed hidden. Even today there is a stone wall here with a small opening to let about two people through.
This place is quite close to the Pussella – Ulapane road and near the junction where the road branches off to the Kadadora village and the newly constructed Mahaweli Maha Seya. Doragalla can also be reached through this road but the road was not good enough for the car, so we did not proceed further than Dehudu Kadulla.
We crossed the Kotmale Dam to get to the other bank of the reservoir where Pusulpitiya Raja Maha Viharaya is located. To reach this place where the tooth relic of Lord Budhha was hidden during chaotic times one has to go back towards Pundalu Oya along the Kalapitiya road.
The road was in OK condition but need to take many different turns to reach the temple and taking a wrong road could be disastrous as it is really tough to turn the vehicle back due to the narrowness of the roads. It is easy to see why Pusulpitiya is such a great location to keep something very important as the tooth relic, hidden. If not for the reservoir, the deep valley could have made it an even more difficult place to reach.
It is said that Prince Gamini frequented this temple and also was the place where Kadol Atha kneeled in front of him to accept the kingdom again. The tooth relic is said to have been hidden in a “Sapu” tree located at the temple but we could not get much details as the chief monk was away when we visited. Even though this temple had boasted of number of invaluable statues including a pure gold one, all of it is now lost to treasure thieves who had vandalized the temple at some point in history.
Taking leave from the temple we returned back to Colombo via Nawalapitiya-Ginigathhena with a stopover again at Laxapana. Due to the heavy rain overnight the “Gerandi Ella” which we saw the day before had almost tripled in volume and it seemed as the water falls straight onto the road.
Heavy rain prevented us from stopping over for a closer look and the threat of land slides was visible all along by the rocks and earth that had come rolling down to the road. Travellers would need to be vary of this threat if such a trip is planned during the rainy period as the Kotmale valley is one of the more landslide prone areas of the country. Otherwise the beauty of the Kotmale valley cannot be described in words especially in the rainy season.
All in all we had a great time amidst the rain and hope this would be of some sort of help to all future visitors who plan to enjoy this beautiful valley.