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|Year and Month||2 Oct 2016|
|Number of Days||One|
|Crew||Gayan, Atha and Me.|
But lunch at Martin’s Lodge. You may call them in advance to
book for meals like breakfast and/or lunch.
|Transport||By Car & on Foot|
|Activities||Trekking, Photography, Bird Watching, Wildlife, Waterfalls, etc…|
|Weather||Excellent but gloomy at times.|
|Route||Maharagama -> Kottawa -> Welipenna on E1 -> Matugama -> Kalawana -> Kudawa via Veddagala and return on the same route.|
|Tips, Notes and Special remark||
1. Sinharaja was My First-Ever Trip Report on Lakdasun. It
was the one who taught me much about writing and
photography even though I’m still a novice in those areas.
2. Time it properly as the rains can be extremely difficult to
explore the terrain.
3. Leech Protection is vital unless it’s a very dry season. I’ve
found the Leech Socks for sale at the Sinharaja Entrance
Ticket Office (Rs. 350/- per pair) are very good at leech
protection. You can even use things like Dettol, Salon Pass,
Alum, etc. but not very effective if it’s wet and raining as
they’d be washed out.
4. Time the journey properly and we found the Highway-
Matugama-Kalawana Route to be the easiest and the
quickest. We reached the entrance under 2.5hrs without a
5. Bird’s Paradise and Martin’s Lodge are recommendable
6. There are multiple trails inside Sinharaja and except
Sinhagala Trail others can be managed in one day quite
easily. You’d probably need a full day to do the Sinhagala
7. Do remain silent inside the forest in order not to disturb the
wildlife. Unfortunately we experienced some of the worst
crowds we’ve seen inside a forest towards the afternoon.
Sadly, one of the leading girls’ schools in Nugegoda was
among them with their teachers and parents.
8. Teachers & Parents – Please teach your students/children
the importance of the environment as much as you try to
instill Maths and Science into them. Without the Mother
Nature, no use of any other subject. Tell them to enjoy her
beauty and leave her in peace without destroying the most
precious thing we have.
9. Don’t break plants or flowers or try to bring them home.
Most of these plants won’t grow in your garden. So please
enjoy them where they are.
10. The road from Kalawana to Kudawa is largely completed
except at a few places so you wouldn’t have trouble getting
there in any vehicle.
11. Pitakele Doovili Ella is about 2-3km from the Sinharaja
Entrance. However when you are coming from Kalawana,
there’s a junction just passing a metal bridge before the
Sinharaja Gate. You have to then take the right and the first
left uphill concrete paved path. On this road travel for about
1.5-2km until the interlock stones paved stretch of the road
and you have to get downhill to the river to view the
12. Bring back memories and leave only footprints. Remain
silent and enjoy the tranquility of one of the most precious
rain forests in the world.
13. Check out the other Sinharaja Reports: Pitadeniya &
|Comments||Discuss this trip report, provide feedback or make suggestions at Lakdasun Forum on the thread|
Hi folks, I hope you enjoyed the first-ever trip report in Lakdasun on Runakanda, a part of Sinharaja.
Afterwards I was craving to pay a visit once again to Sinharaja despite my being there from all 4 entrances
So, Gayan who’s become an avid bird lover, invited for a day trip to Sinharaja I couldn’t be happier even
though I’d just come back from a hike to Sri Pada two days prior with Atha. So I called Atha too and he too
was willing to join us. So the three of us started at 4am on Sun the 2 nd Oct and took to the highway towards
Mathugama. Taking the Highway and going from Mathugama to Kalawana is the easiest and fastest now
that the Mathugama-Kalawana Road is fully complete.
Gayan had booked our lunch at Martin’s Lodge, one of the oldest houses at the border of the Sinharaja
Forest and also he’s known to be a keen environment enthusiast. After a steady drive with no traffic
whatsoever, we reached the entrance by 6.30am, the perfect time for a hike/walk/trek. However we’d for
some reason forgotten to fix the breakfast and after buying tickets drove back about 1km to Kudawa
Junction looking for something but was only able to find a couple of sweet buns and hot coffee.
Afterwards, we came back and around 7am, with a quarter-full tummy, entered the trail. There were signs
of dark clouds but we had our umbrellas with us. Anyway there’s this untold and unwritten law of the
Mother Nature that when you’re ready for something, it wouldn’t happen, almost all the time. So as
predicted, our umbrellas were no useful than walking sticks throughout the journey.
Well, enough said and let’s get going, shall we? Our tracker was Jayarathna and he was simply awesome.
His knowledge was better than the Wikipedia and many so-called environmentalists about Sinharaja.
There were many stories and important aspects of the jungle which he taught us and I wish I could’ve
recorded everything and given you on a CD. So if you happen to visit Sinharaja, do keep an eye out for him.
We arrived at the proper gate where you enter into the main trail which goes all the way to Sinha Gala aka
Lion’s Rock some 10.5km (according to the sign board) away. However from bitter experience I know the
distances given on the notice boards can’t be trusted and even the trackers second it. On the other hand
the signposting with distances in Knuckles are very much accurate and can be trusted fully.
From here, the tracker decided to go towards the village instead of into the trail as we might get lucky with
a few bird sightings. Remember that my knowledge about birds is no better than your understanding of
Greek. However Gayan was quite knowledgeable and had studied so much about them and he carries this
bird book like a devoted Christian with his bible. Some of the words he uses to communicate with the
tracker about birds are definitely not English, if so a funny dialect.
We walked parallel to an abandoned paddy field but was still not rewarded with a plenty of sightings
except for another Kangaroo Lizard. Here are those pics:
Afterwards still feeling dejected due to the lack of birds, we decided to go into the forest and returned to
the trail head where they check your tickets. Little did we know that our destiny is about to be changed
and some wonderful sightings were not so far away all thanks to the sharpness of our guide. The two main
attractions were the Blue Oakleaf (in fact South Indian Blue Oakleaf – Kallima Horsfieldii) or
බඹරකොලයා in Sinhala. He has got some gorgeous blue wings when they’re fully opened but when
closed, it sort of works as camouflage and depicts a leaf complete with midrib. You’ll understand after
seeing the pictures.
The most important of all was the Sri Lankan Frogmouth or Ceylon Frogmouth – Batrachostomus
Moniliger (check the Video of Frogmouth here) and this was a very rare find. To make it more beautiful,
there was a pair of them, husband and wife. However if you ever come across them, do be careful when
you’re approaching for a look or a pic as they are easily frightened. To make matters worse, they’ll then
leave their resting places which is a great harm coz they usually have these favorites spots/roots among
dry leaves and branches. So don’t break the branches or clear the roost to take a clear picture or a view if
they’re somewhat blocked. They usually stay in the same spot for days if left undisturbed.
Do enjoy with your eyes if your camera is not so smart to focus through the branches. In our case, our
camera very stubbornly locked onto the branches in front all the time but after trying for a few dozen
times, he realized it’s not the dreaded leaves or the branches we were targeting and got some super cool
We were extremely lucky and I guess I’ll just let you all enjoy the pics while we go further towards the
Mulawella and Giant Nawada Tree Trails.
Fascinating, aren’t they? Well I’ve got a couple of more nice pics of them but they’re for later. After this Frogmouth show, we went further towards the forest and found a very tame Jungle Fowl. Unfortunately many people leave remains of their meals, especially rice, behind at the places allocated for resting and eating thus inviting birds like jungle fowls to come to these places in search of food. Please don’t leave any morsel of the food behind and take everything back with you.
We came across a Green Vine Snake (actually two closer to each other) Ahaetulla Nasuta or and that is commonly known as ඇහැටුල්ලා in Sinahala but don’t confuse it with the Green Vine Snake/Flatbread Snake – Oxybelis Fulgidus. This was followed by a Hump-Nosed Lizard too. It is also called the Hump- Hump Snout Lizard or the Lyreshead Lizard. In Sinhalese language, it is known as “Kandukara Bodilima – කදුකර බෝදිලිමා.” This was all before the Magpie Show. Well, just enjoy these pictures and I can hear my tummy growling like a starving mountain lion. I’ll bring the pics of the Magpie Show after this.
Well as with many other environmental sites in Sri Lanka, Sinharaja too bears a great burden within the depths of her heart due to some ignorant and careless decisions made by the politicians. Well what can you expect from such lower-class politicians? Anyway, under the Colombo Plan, Sri Lana was donated 12 Locomotives by the General Motors Diesel, Canada and Electro-Motive Division, USA. They are M2 Locomotives and considered the most successful in our railway history.
However as with all the other so called grants and donations, we always have to pay a price. So Sinharaja had to pay with her timber for these 12 locomotives and even today you’ll see the great bridges which had been built over streams to facilitate the logging business which had been a lucrative business for these so-called foreign donors. These rich and powerful countries loot from poor countries like ours under the guise of foreign aid which are in fact rackets. Now you know why countries like Sri Lanka and many in Africa and South America remain at “Developing Nation” status all the time. We’ll never get to be the rich and powerful thanks to conspiracies of them and our corrupt and ignorant politicians.
Well having said that, shall we go and see the magic show of the Sri Lankan Blue Magpie or Ceylon Blue Magpie – Urocissa Ornata. This happened so unexpectedly as we were coming back to the entrance to go and have our lunch at Martin’s Lodge as our tummy worms were marching in protest blocking all junctions inside. However as we were coming we heard this familiar sound of the magpie (rather Gayan and our tracker did) and stopped to look around. What happened afterwards is beyond me and thinking about it now gives me such pleasure I’m lost for words.
There was this brightly-colored magpie that flew towards us out of the jungle and he kept coming closer and closer without giving a break for our slow focusing and under-performing point-n-shoot cameras to take a decent shot of him. He kept coming and with every hop my heart began faster and faster and I was sort of frozen with my arms extended and the camera on but not moving them. He kept coming and finally jumped right in front of my feet, almost touching distance. All I had to do was extend the left leg and I could’ve stroked its back but I was like a statue nailed to the ground.
The same thing happened to Atha as this was his first magpie sighting. This really was an awesome sight and experience. Amid all the confusion I managed to take a few pictures and to my annoyance most of them were not usable as they were blurred due to my shaky hands and the constant movement of this fella. Anyway, here are the pictures that I took which are reasonably good with no more of my vivid explanations.
So how do you like the how? It was simply phenomenal and we enjoyed to the maximum. We then continued our journey out of the park but I wonder where my almighty hunger had gone. We paid another visit to the Frogmouths who were still lovingly perched up on their roost.
Afterwards we went to Martin’s Lodge and had a sumptuous lunch. Unfortunately one group had promised to come for lunch (for 17 people) but hadn’t kept their word so Martin Uncle was very disappointed and told us that it happens quite often making them no longer trust the genuineness of the callers. Well that’s the sad side of their business and pathetic side of some of our fellow folks’.
We then returned to the main road to the Sinharaja ticket counter and were just about to go out, when a group of magpies (make no mistake, it really was a group and I saw 5 of them in the distance perching quite closer to the road) playing around. Unfortunately a group of young boys went past us making noises and speaking at the tops of their voices. They didn’t even have the time to enjoy these beautiful creatures. Gosh, why or why people like these visit such places? Just stay in your homes with your eyes glued to the computer monitors coz it’ll save the nature for the genuine lovers and your efforts of dragging yourselves out of your dens.
However I was lucky to take only 2 pics of them and the rest simply flew deep into the forest as if ashamed to be staying closer to such loud and rowdy people.
Not only them, there was a group of students from a leading girls school in Nugegoda area with their parents and teachers who behaved as if they were still in their playground. It’s a pity that these kids are not taught the importance of nature and the difference of a world heritage site such as Sinharaja and their playground. It’s extremely essential that we behave in a proper manner inside a forest and it was really saddening to see they run wild shouting and hooting all over as if this was the Galle Face Green.
The adults were busy talking to each other and trying to collect plants for their gardens. In fact the authorities too should take a more proactive role in handling such large groups and giving them a fair warning before entering into the forest. It’s true most of our national parks and environmental sites are heavily understaffed (unlike CTB, Railway and Ports) and they find it hard to control large groups. Just one tracker can’t keep an eye on each and every member of a Leyland-bus crowd. The result is that most of the birds and animals who reside in the forest go deeper into it to avoid being harassed like this thus making the sightings fewer all the time. It’ll also have a very negative impact on the nature lovers and our tourism industry.
Well, we must teach our younger generation the importance of protecting these treasures and the value of them so that at least they’ll do something tangible in protecting these for the future. Most of our adults are too far gone to reverse and start thinking differently. Well, here are the pictures of the end of our stay inside this world heritage. We’ll then be going to visit another sexy lady, Pitakele Doovili Ella afterwards that is located about 2-3km from Sinharaja.
Ok, are you ready to go and see the beauty of Kudawa? Let’s go then. Come to the Kudawa Junction where the road branches off to the right when coming from Veddagala. You’d cross a sizeable river with an ancient metal bridge. As soon as you turn right (may be 50-100m), you’ll then find a concrete paved uphill road to your left. Take this but if you’re on a low clearance car, you can only drive for about 200m or possibly little more and have to seek permission from a nearby house to leave your vehicle in their garden which is what we did. Afterwards, it’s a long walk for about 2km until you come to a section of the road paved with interlocking stones.
You’ll be walking parallel to the river that feeds Pitakele Doovili Ella (she’s named after the village Pitakele) all the time. Once you see that road section, you’ve reached the destination and start going downhill (the footpath is quite prominent) to the right. It’s less than 100m to the water and on to your left another 50m or so will be this majestic lady. By the time we arrived it was closer to 5pm and the gloomy weather didn’t help with lighting. However I took a few pics for you. Here they are:
Well did you see that curse printed and pasted on a lamp post? A sad story but very much amusing too at the same time. It’s amazing how these rural villagers act for things like these when there’s no way of finding the culprits.
So, we’ve come to the end of my story, have you noticed? I’m gonna have to come again with another story and until then stay put and safe. Be extremely careful if you plan on going camping these days as the lightening has started with rains so avoid open flat areas as much as possible.