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|Year and Month||03-04 Jul, 2014|
|Number of Days||2|
|Crew||Amila, Lasantha and Me|
|Accommodation||Friend’s Place, Nugathalawa|
|Transport||By Bus, Tuk-tuk, Train and on foot|
|Activities||Waterfall Hunting, Photography, Archaeology, etc…|
|Tips, Notes and Special remark||
|Comments||Discuss this trip report, provide feedback or make suggestions at Lakdasun Forum on the thread|
Hi there, it’s me once again with yet another of my Pic Journeys this time travelling around Welimada. My plans of visiting Diyathalawa got washed away in the intermittent rains and was looking for an alternative when my longtime friend Lasantha invited me to visit his place (maybe for the 4th time) and I managed to sift through my not-too-long contact list and find a friend (Amila aka Podi, the one who went to Morning Side with me some time ago) to go with me who wished at the end of the journey he’d never joined me. Going through the Lakdasun Bank of Trip Reports, I came across one of Ashan’s (not too surprised by it) and decided to follow his footsteps.
He claimed that he burned nearly all the fat he had both useful and unhealthy ones. I went to check the availability of Sleeping Berths of the Badulla Nigh Mail and as usual came up empty. This is my 6th or 7th attempt at getting sleeping berths but none of the time I could get them despite being there just when they opened the bookings for the particular day (10 days before). Once I was approached by what looked like a porter asking if I wanted sleeping berths but when I said they were all full he claimed that he could get them for me. Sensing of a scam, I just refused his offer and been wondering ever since if there really is some sort of a scam booking these tickets which I assume in high demands. (Do share if you’ve faced similar incidents at the comments)
I then went to the private bus stand and booked the Super Line bus and for the return journey had to resort to book the second class seats of the night mail which leaves B’Wela at 07.45pm (only on the time schedule but hardly ever on time). Podi and I left Nugegoda around 11.55pm and reached B’Wela around 4.00am. I was immediately taken by how clean the town really was. They had planted various flowers along the sidewalks, notably Sunflower (took a pic in the dark) and there was no rubbish or waste to be seen anywhere. It was impossible the cleaners had done their work before 4am and looked like they’d done a super job the previous evening and the people who used the town hadn’t littered it like many other towns. So excellent job by the Municipal Council, its workers and the people all together. We even noticed on the next day evening during our return journey that people were so disciplined as they kept to the sidewalks which were of course nicely made and kept for the pedestrians, used only the yellow stripes to cross the road and Police just kept a casual watch on the town not interfering much. What an exemplary town B’Wela has become and may the tradition continue for the future and others get influenced by that as well.
Bandarawela is a key location as this is where I started First of My Rail Hikes. So I’m glad to see B’wela getting improved the way she does.
1. Diya Wetena Ella, Alawathugoda.
2. Keppetipola Fort.
3. Galwaysland National Park, Nuwara Eliya.
4. Diurumpola RMV, Nugathalawa.
5. Ravan Ella, Uduhawara.
6. Dowe RMV, Dowe, Bandarawela.
We arrived in Welimada just after 6am and headed straight to Lasantha’s house and had a hearty breakfast. Then it was time to, for Podi’s dismay, get back on the road.
Diya Wetena Ella
We took a Welimada-Bogahakumbura bus (alternatively you can take a Welimada-Boralanda bus which will take you to the turn off towards Alawathugoda) and got off at Bogahakumbura town and hired a tuk-tuk to reach the destination which was about 3-4km away. Surprisingly enough most of the people knew about the waterfall even though it’s not a prominent one. The road is under construction and in a somewhat bad condition.
We reached the Alawathugoda village passing the Community Hall where we had to walk as the road had been concreted and left to rest. It was a good 600-800m walk which took its toll on Podi who kept panting all the way. Unfortunately there was very little water and it made us feel very down. Well, you can’t always be lucky and see them in full flow I guess.
We returned to Bogahakumbura in the same tuk-tuk that cost Rs. 300/-, good bargain at the time and got into a Welimada bus and got off at Keppetipola. The fort is behind and to the right of Keppetipola Post Office. It still has the walls which are solidly built and still standing but there was no typical archaeology department board or any sign giving the importance or the history behind it. Looking inside we were surprised to see another building within the fort walls and it’s been recently built and now has a weaving factory inside.
There were 4 ladies busy at work and they had no idea about the history or the value of the fort itself. My friend joked claiming that their weaving factory will also get ancient value as it’s housed inside the fort. I wonder how on earth they built a structure inside it and why archaeology department hasn’t done anything to protect it.
Galwaysland National Park
Our next stop was Nuwara Eliya and we decided to walk from the town towards Nuwara Eliya Depot where it used to be the Nuwara Eliya Station (heard rumors that the railway line from Nanu Oya to Nuwara Eliya will be reconstructed but no specific info). It’s about 600m from N’Eliya to the Galwaysland turn off just passing the depot on Kandapola Road. From the turn off there’s another 1km to the entrance of the park which we walked amid heavy protests from my friend.
The park warden was very helpful and friendly. Total cost for 2 people was Rs. 89/- and he went to great trouble to find us the balance Rs. 11/-. I’ve been to N’Eliya for the last 15 years continuously (nearly 20 times) but never got the chance to go see this place (however it’s been established in 2007). This is a heaven for bird watchers (no wonder Dhanushka, Harsha and others keep going back to this place) and boasts plenty of different birds many of which are endemic to SL.
It’s a circular trail which is roughly 2km in length and the path is nicely paved with stones except at few places.
Afterwards, we killed some time wandering along the Gregory Lake which was for a change devoid of people. Piduruthalagala loomed in the distance and brought back sweet memories of our visit there. (Check the Piduruthalagala Journey here). We then took a bus back to Welimada and went home for a sumptuous dinner and a warm bed.
Having slept till 8.00am (a rare feat for me) and after another filling breakfast we were ready to go, this time Lasantha too joined us as we were all leaving for Colombo in the evening.
As usual, I’ve passed this temple many times in my previous visits but never visited (gosh how many there could be just like that) and this time didn’t wanna miss out. It’s believed that this is where Sitha took her oaths to prove herself. Located at the Nugathalawa Junction between Keppetipola and Welimada, the temple is about 100m from the main road and can easily be seen from the road. It’s distinguished feature is the 4 tiny Stupa constructed around the main one. It’s such a strange place as there are 4 Bo Trees and 3 of which are clustered together in a triangle and in the middle sits a tiny Stupa. The 4th Bo tree is just a bit off the main cluster.
There had been a tunnel mouth among the 3 Bo trees and the Stupa has built covering the entrance. Just another mystery of King Ravana legend. Special note on the Bo Maluwa coz I felt so relaxed and peaceful under the shade of the Bo trees, it makes you so calm and well I don’t know how to express it but can’t recall many places like these. Do pay a visit and stay under the Bo trees and tell me how you felt.
After Diurumpola Temple, we took a bus to Welimada and reached the Clock Tower bus stand where most of the buses to the rural areas are parked. Checking around we got to know Medahinna-Welimada Bus (No. 140/1) was the ideal one to reach Ravan Ella (We took the 11.10am bus). Alternatively you can take a Bomburu Ella bus and get off at Uduhawara Junction and from there go towards Korandekumbura Village (about 2km) and another 600-800m to the falls.
The road is carpeted and in good condition but from Uduhawara under construction. If you go by own vehicle take the Ambagasdowa road and go towards Uduhawara passing Uma Ela then take the road towards Medahinna (go straight from Uduhawara coz left is towards Bomburu Ella, check out my Bomburu Ella Report here) and take another left at Korandekumbura.
You can arrange meals or even accommodation with the contact person I’ve given above.
There was very little water to speak of despite this being a fairly tall waterfall, easily topping 100ft mark.
Dowe Cave Temple
We got back to Welimada by bus and got into it from Korandekumbura at 2.00pm. After a tasty and reasonably priced lunch at Janahitha Restaurant in Welimada (can easily recommend this place located right in front of the main bus stand) we got into a bus to B’Wela and reached around 4.45pm. From there took a trishaw to Dowe Temple (cost us Rs. 200/-) and explored it as much as we could.
Main highlight was the rock carved Buddha Statue that is around 60-70ft in height. The main image house was closed but the monks coming to do the evening rituals were kind enough to show us around. I’ve actually been to this temple before (Check My Trip Report here) but wanted to come see it again. I saw something I missed in my last visit which was the entrance to the tunnel at the back of the image house. According to a monk, this was closed after the Uprising in 1971, before that a monk accompanied by a dog had gone in but never to return again.
It’s believed that this is linked to the Bogoda Temple with the Wooden Bridge and many other places that linked to Ravana the Great.
So after a tiring day (of course 48 hours as we were constantly on the move) we got back to B’Wela and refreshed at the station and waited for the night mail which got late by 35 mins. After a restless night on the train we finally reached Fort around 6.30am and went home bleary-eyed.
Panos from Gregory Lake.