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|Year and Month||March, 2012|
|Number of Days||One day trip|
|Weather||clear sky -> misty sky -> overcast conditions|
|Route||Colombo -> Belihul oya bridge -> Ihala Galama -> Belihul oya junction -> 165-10 bridge of A4 -> Colombo|
|Tips, Notes and Special remark||
|Comments||Discuss this trip report, provide feedback or make suggestions at Lakdasun Forum on the thread|
This time it was all about solving a mystery! Long ago there was a huge discussion in this forum about a waterfall called Galagama Falls which is marked on each and every SL map, but no one was aware about it other than few eye witnesses??. We decided to go in search of this waterfall of Belihul Oya, to solve the mystery.
Lahiru (who I met from Lakdasun) Priyanjan & I decided to go on this journey to put a full stop to this mystery but unfortunately Priyanjan couldn’t make it. So both of us left on a Friday night from Pettah towards Belihul oya and we reached the Belihul Oya Bridge on Saturday at around 5.30am. We slowly started travelling along the Ihala-Galgama road until we came across a board saying Pahanthuda Ella Hydro power project. To reach this (Pahanthuda ella) waterfall one should travel upstream along Belihul oya (close to the hydro project) and cross the mini dam built across the Oya. The river was calm and quiet and there wasn’t much of water. The river at this area is not a safe place to hang around especially on rainy days because the river is bordered by two rocky hills. After crossing the dam you will find a foot path on the left bank of the river which you need to follow until you reach this unique waterfall. When you reach the waterfall you will notice why it’s called “Pahanthuda Ella”. It’s a fascinating sight to see the whole river pouring in to a deep pool and continuing calmly thereafter. As I remember it was around 7.15am at that moment so we hanged around a bit and returned back to the main road.
Now it was time to focus on our main objective which is inquiring about the Unseen waterfall. For our surprise most of the locals knew about the waterfall and all of them called it “Kathi Gahana Ella” and it was roughly 500 feet tall and impossible to get close to it. Despite the negative motivation that we received, we decided to give a try. As we travelled along the road to Ihala Galagama we noticed the “Havagala mountain range” and there were so many streams pouring down the mountain range. On the opposite side of the road, Nagrak mountain range and the Horton plains made the whole seen picturesque. We noted that this area was quite developed and civilized and most of all the road side roses made us feel like we were walking along a path in a botanical garden.
At one point we reached the Ihala-Galgama School, as soon as we passed the school (the “U” bend) we saw the Unseen mysterious waterfall for the first time. It was seen falling from the mountain range far away. Fortunately I had a 35X Optical zoom camera to get a photograph of this mysterious beauty. As told by the locals one needs to be lucky to see this waterfall because most of the time its covered in mist, but if there is a rain fall to Horton plains the waterfall can be seen in full flow clearly to the place where we saw it. Actually what we saw was a lower cascade of Belihul oya of considerable height.
We continued our journey until we reached a by road going towards the “Nividu” mini hydro project. Just before the project there is a road uphill, this took us to a foot path that goes further uphill along the water Pipe (which diverts water from Belihul oya to the hydro project). The uphill climb was trough a pines plot. The pipe ended at a point where it connected to the waterway which carries water from the Belihul oya. At this point we met few people who work for the private mini hydro project and they gave us many options. One of them mentioned that he has been to the base of the waterfall too. I will state the options we had at this point..
- One could climb through the pines forest and continue the journey in search of the waterfall
- Continue along the waterway and then go along the stream crossing from one bank to the other.
- Take the non perial estate route and plan your descend after you emerge out of the pines plot (on the opposite side of the river) path.
- Go to Nagarak Managers bunglow and follow the waterway which diverts water from Belihul oya and reach the river, after that cross the river and climb down the left bank (Bogawanthalawa side) of the river.
We decided to take the 2nd option which was travel along the waterway and go upstream. We travelled upstream along the river bank and at some points crossing the river to enter to the opposite bank. We also came across many cascades (mini waterfalls) formed by the river. After travelling some distance we had to do a risk assessment.
- We had time ( time was around 11am)
- If we proceed we would have reached the base of the waterfall roughly at around 1.30/2.00pm
- The mist came down very early than we expected (was warned by locals not to proceed if it happens)
- Past few days it had rained at around 2.00/3.00pm (advised not to proceed)
- The water level of Belihul oya is known to rise dramatically to a dangerous level more than any other river.
- We were lacking numbers (only 2 of us)
- “Life comes first”
So we had to take a decision at this point and we decide to turn back. We had to satisfy our selves from the distant view of a lower cascade. We returned back on the same route and we were treated with a warm plain tea by the power house guys. After having a chat with them we decided to get back to the main road. We wanted to see the waterfall for the last time but we weren’t lucky this time around because the mist had come down to obscure everything which we enjoyed in the morning. At around 2.00pm we reached the A4 highway where we had our afternoon meal and discussed about our decision and guess what we did the right thing, it started to rain hard.
I wanted to visit Brampton falls which is known to be a road side beauty. So we called Priyanjan and told him the news that we saw the waterfall and shared our joy with him. We also didn’t forget to ask the directions to Brampton falls too. We took a bus towards 165KM post and reached the 165-10 Bridge. There is a well paved foot path towards the waterfall, we were so happy to see this waterfall which we have missed on many occasions because it was covered by bushes, and to please us there were two waterfalls at the same location, so we decided to name them as Brampton Fall number 1 & 2. It was quiet safe to have a bath here but since it was raining we were not prompted to do so. So both of us got in to an empty Colombo bus (what relief 🙂 ) and had a nice nap until we reached our destinations happily. Hope you’ll enjoyed reading about our mini adventure. One more thing, I forgot to mentioned about the Leeches who sucked our blood to make things unforgettable 🙂 🙂