|Copyright Notice: Please obtain permission from the author before duplicating, re-publishing or adapting content of a trip report|
|Be a responsible traveler! Watch this video before you hit the road! Download Video: MP4|3gp|
|Do you like to contribute a Trip Report? learn how to or download template and start straight away!|
|Year and Month||14 May, 2014|
|Number of Days||1|
|Crew||2 (Tony and Me)|
|Activities||Photography, Waterfall Hunting, etc…|
|Route||Maharagama->Dehiowita->Kahanawita->Nakkavita->Panakura->Back to Deraniyagala Road->Deraniyagala->Keerihena->Anhettigama->Basnagala->Noori->Gorakahena->Pallabage and back on the same route.|
|Tips, Notes and Special remark||
|Comments||Discuss this trip report, provide feedback or make suggestions at Lakdasun Forum on the thread|
After two very successful Waterfall Hunts, I decided to do a 3rd on 14 May (Vesak Full Moon Poya Day) immediately after the 2nd on 13 May. Vesak Poya brought back some very sweet memories of our Bathalegala Hike first-ever as a team.
Fortunately Tony too was on leave and after a exhausting but exhilarating journey around Kuruwita, Siripagama and Wewelwatte we decided to shift our focus to yet another waterfall mine, Deraniyagala. The foundation was laid thanks yet again to Ashan when he did a marathon of waterfall hunting a few months back which resulted in his record 100th post.
Taking it as the basis, I worked around the map figuring out how to utilize our time to the maximum and finally got a somewhat feasible plan. As it was the Vesak Full Moon Poya Day, we wanted to get back soon due to the heavy traffic in the evening. Having left our homes around 5.30am we reached Hanwella where we had tasty Kola Kenda (not as tasty as from Suwa Rasa Hala at Pussalla) and passing Avissawella Tony shouted “Dansala” and all of a sudden turned the bike to the left and stopped.
It really was a Dansala which gives rice and curry for the breakfast. Koss, Tempered Onions and Mango curry were a blessing in hiding in the morning. Already a huge crowd was milling about and we too joined the mayhem and Tony without a second invitation piled his plate so just like a Chinese Pagoda and I had difficulty in looking at his face. I think only our country has this unique tradition of giving away food for free just like this. So we’re carrying the good deeds started by our ancestors thousands of years ago. (Many old folks keep saying “Api Owa Kale Suddha Weddha Kale” which I believe is very true).
After a hearty meal we carried on towards Dehiowita and turned to Deraniyagala Road.
1. Kahanawita Falls, Kahanawita
2. Kalu Wala Falls, Deraniyagala
3. Nakkavita Suspension Bridge
4. Deraniyagala Kekuna Ella, Panakura
5. Oruthotupola Ella, Panakura
6. Gonalu Ella, aka Kaali Ella, Panakura
7. Watawala Ella, Keerihena
8. Minuwan Ella aka Dodawatta Ella, Anhettigama
9. Budumaloka Ella, Gorakahena
10. Mineemaru Ella, Pallabage
11. Unknown Falls, 4th Post (Digala)
Our first stop was Kahanawita about 3.5km from Dehiowita turn off along Deraniyagala Road. This is just passing the Kahanawita School. You’ll see a tea factory to your right with a bend just passing the school. About 100-200m up there’s another bend to the left with an iron railing along the right shoulder of the road. You can get down to the falls from there through the rubber patch. It’s only 10-15m from the road and can be heard from the road. This is such an amazing sight to anyone. She was not only the first but the best of all we saw that day.
After visiting the falls, we continued further towards Deraniyagala until out of nowhere we came across another Manioc Dansala. There weren’t many people and after a feast to our eyes we felt like some feast to our tummies too and this came as a blessing. They served Manioc on Kottamba Leaves with a very tasty and mouth-watering Sambol. Tony searched and searched for the biggest of them. After bidding them farewell we headed towards Deraniyagala where Kalu Wala awaited our arrival with so much anticipation.
Kalu Wala Falls
To reach Kalu Wala, go to Deraniyagala Town, passing the Police Station you’ll come to a road to the left with a notice “Siri Saman Vidyalaya” (the road in fact is Vidyala Mawatha). Take this for about 1km till you get to a folk with a foundation stone. There’re 3 paths, one to the extreme left (concreted as far as I can remember which leads to a house), the middle one just a gravel road while the right hand one is concreted and going downhill. The foundation stone is kinda in the middle of gravel and the downhill concrete path.
Take the downhill concrete road and you’ll come to a bridge and passing that it’ll folk into two. The right hand path is concreted and will take you to the house of the owner of Bopekanda Mini Hydro Plant while the left unpaved path will take you to Bopekanda Hydro Power Plant and behind that Kalu Wala. About 100m from here you can see the power plant and behind that is Kalu Wala.
We met one of the workers of the power plant and when asked he said there’s no waterfall just the large pond called Kalu Wala. After pestering again and again, he finally conceded that there was a waterfall (note the usage of past tense) but now it’s been diverted to feed the power plant. I felt #*@&~#@%&*+.
Nakkavita Suspension Bridge
The roads in Deraniyagala are being repaired and the condition is terrible. It’d be a nightmarish experience when raining. Having reached the Deraniyagala town where the road splits into two. One going straight and the other turns to left. The straight one goes towards Meegahawita so you gotta turn left and head further along Noori Road.
You’ll get to the Nakkavita Suspension Bridge to your right just by the roadside, about 500m before you come to the Maliboda turnoff. This is one of the few of these kinds remaining in SL. The length is about 100m and hung across Sithawaka Ganga.
Deraniyagala Kekuna Ella
After a lot of trouble we managed to find this place thanks to Thilake Mama (P. G. Thilakarathna aka Panakure Thilake) who we happened to come across after numerous attempts had yielded nothing of value to find this falls. He was the only person who knew the name Kekuna Ella and we asked about 10 people about the falls before meeting hm. I won’t go into all that but will give you the directions straight.
Passing the Nakkavita Suspension Bridge and the Maliboda Turn off for about 500m, take the right turn near a shop. You’ll find a bridge and the road will fork into two. Take the right one and go for about 1-1.5km till you reach the Oruthotupola Road. This is to the right with a few houses located just below the main road. The path is concreted for about 20-30m and from then gravel.
This road runs through mainly an open area and about 100-150m to the right downhill is the Magal River (Sithawaka River) which creates Deraniyagala Kekuna Ella, Oruthotupola Ella and Gonalu Ella also known as Kaali Ella.
About 500-600m through the open road will lead you to forest patch with a razor-wired fence to the right. The temple is just above the road to the left. At the end of the wire fence there’s a footpath through the forest towards the river about 50m and having reached the river go down another 20-30m and you’ll be on top of Kekuna Falls. It’d be difficult to do this when it rains heavily though.
This is also in the same Magal River about 400m upstream from Kekuna Ella. You could get back to the turn off to the footpath and continue along the road till you get to a tiny bridge over a water stream to the right and along this path will take you straight to the Oruthotupola (where the boat is parked) and about 50-60m downstream is the falls.
Unfortunately, there was very little water at the time and we had to cross the river which was somewhat difficult. So we decided to call it quits and took a couple of pics zoomed in all the way. According to Thilake mama the pool is one of the largest in Sithawaka River. I guess in diameter it must be about 100m and looks very deep too. We saw signs of illegal sand mining and Thilake mama said the STF comes on and off for raids.
Kaali Ella aka Gonalu Ella
This one is about 200m downstream from Kekuna Ella. When you turned off to Oruthotupola road from the Panakura main road, about 30m along (where the concrete paved bit ends) you have to go downhill towards the Magal River to see this falls. The path is not difficult and runs through a tea estate.
She was somewhat similar to Kekuna Ella and looked gorgeous. We bid our farewell to Thilake mama who spent nearly an hour showing us these hidden beauties. It was such a miracle we came across him. There were signs of rains but he kept saying “Saman Deiyange Pihiten Wahina Ekak Ne” and they did pass without troubling us too much. It really is the land of God Saman and he protects those who do no harm to the nature.
We got back to Panakura turnoff and headed further along Noori Road till we came to the junction where the road splits into two again after a bridge (it’s about 2km from the Panakura turn off to this). The direct path goes towards Polgaswatte (another waterfall mine but now destroyed by those power plants) and the left is the continuation of Noori Road. Take the left and about 500m you get a left turn off towards Keerihena Purana Viharaya.
Along this road 200-300m later you come to a bridge where the Watawala Oya is. Parallel to the Oya take the left bank path upstream for about 100-150m and you’re there at the Watawala Falls.
Come back to the Keerihena turnoff and continue along the Noori Road towards Basnagala. About 1km from the turnoff you’ll see a road to the left with the name displayed, “Mudagalla Road” with a shop to the right. Just behind this shop you’ll see the Hathdinnath Falls about 600-800m away in the opposite mountain. Unfortunately it was nearly completely dried up and we saw only the rocky surface where the water falls. It looked like a seasonal fall and most of the human activities have led to drying up many springs in the jungle now killing many falls like these.
However, to see Minuwan Falls, you could use the Polgawatte Road (at the turn off before Keerihena) or there’s a short cut from Noori Road. About 400m before Mudagalla Road, there’s a road to the right with a bus stop. Go downhill till you come to a main road which is the Polgaswatte Road. As soon as you meet this, there’s another turn to the right (when you coming downhill it’s kinda straight) that goes to a house. There’s a footpath through this house downhill up to the river (about 30m). When you get to the river, don’t cross (repeat don’t cross the river) just turn right along a very narrow and barely visible footpath and take it parallel to the river till you meet the bund that’s built across the river to feed the Minuwan Ella Power Plant which is roughly 150-200m away.
Get down to the other side of the bund and continue along the river bed (coz they’ve diverted the whole river to the power plant and it has to rain so hard to see any water in the falls) another 200-300m till you get to a drop where the Minuwan Falls used to be. Now it’s nothing but a trickle down the rocky slope. You can see the Power Plant below which I felt like blasting to kingdom come. Even Tony was furious and kept blaming those who approve of these projects all the way back.
Just so you know you can get to the base of the falls using the path to the power plant but the road is barred and there’s a gate about 1-1.5km before. So you might need permission to do that but always possible on foot via a tiny gap between the gate post and the fence.
Get back to the Noori Road and continue towards Basnagala. From the Minuwan Ella turn off, the Basnagala School is about 1km away and go straight for another 500-600m till it gets you to a junction with a nicely carpeted road to the left and a ground to the right while the Noori Estate road goes straight.
Oh yeah, you guessed right. You gotta take the left hand carpet road which is the Basnagala-Pallabage Road, say 1-1.5km till you reach Gorakahena. There’s a somewhat large shop to the right and just passing it you come to a bridge. Stop right there coz there’s a path to the waterfall to the left that goes past a lamp post (could even be a telephone post). This is a very short walk coz the falls itself if about 50m from the bridge.
Becareful as the falls resembles Gal Oruwa Ella and getting down to the base would be tricky. However it should be possible along the right shoulder of the river bank.
Mineemaru Falls aka Dodawatta Falls
Continue along the Pallabage Road, say another 800m and you’ll see a shop to the left (Amal’s Shop if I’m not mistaken) and just passing that the road bend sharply to the left. With the bend there’s a concrete paved path to the right. Don’t get fooled as the concrete is laid only about 20-30m till the first house of the road. From there onwards it’s terrible and walking or motor cycling is the way to do it. Even on a motor bike, you’ll feel like a cross country race.
Continue this road and you’ll get to the end of it with a house to the right (more like straight) and the road bend 90-degress to the left. Take that and there’s gradual climb for another 100m or so till you get to the top of the tea estate with a hut among the tea bushes to the left. Stop right there and continue on foot downhill thorough the tea bushes till you come to the river downhill and about 10-15m upstream is the Mineemaru Falls.
Another 1km or so along Pallabage Road, we heard there’s another fall called Bisopeni Ella but she too has become a victim of the Hydro Power Plant Cancer. Would’ve loved to go see her all the same but the uncle who told us about her said it’s about 2km walk to the falls through the forest and we simply had no time.
While returning back along Noori Road we stopped by a Belimal Dansala given at Deraniyagala Town. Was very tasty and revitalizing after an energy zapping journey. Further along Tony stopped yet again and this time it was Fried Rice Dansala. To be frank, it was the first and probably the last time I ate Fried Rice that weren’t soaked in oil. Usually you have that oily filament on your palm and you gotta use soap to wash it away but not this time. They served it with Papadam, Salad, Dhal and Seeni Sambola and I guess I don’t have to say anything further how Tony ate.
After a tasty meal, we started our journey back only to be stopped about 6km from Dehiowita near a bridge where this unnamed falls was falling. She reminded me of Aanda Ella that we saw the day before. I got down and took some pics and when asked what they call the area they said it’s 4th Post (4 Kanuwa). So I decided to name it 4th Post Ella which is the strangest name I’ve ever used.
Do take a look at the video journey too.
Well, folks that’s the end of the 3rd leg of my Tour de Waterfalls and hopefully there’ll be a few more. I hope you enjoyed reading this and the directions are clear enough should you ever wanna do them.
I too enjoyed getting this across to you and as I always say, take care and keep travelling.