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|Year and Month||June, 2012|
|Number of Days||Day 2 and Day 3 of a 3 day trip | View Day 1 Report|
|Crew||One on day 2 and seven on day 3|
|Transport||Public transport & a Personal vehicle|
|Activities||Archeology, hiking, 4WD driving|
|Route||Bandarawela -> Ella -> Karandagolla -> Wellawaya -> Hadapanagala -> Sellabawa junction,Yalabowa -> Wellawaya -> Moneragala -> Buttala(day3) -> Kumbukkana -> Okkampitiya -> Bogaha handiya -> Pahala gama -> Hebbessa -> returned back to Buttala -> Moneragal|
|Tips, Notes and Special remark||
|Comments||Discuss this trip report, provide feedback or make suggestions at Lakdasun Forum on the thread|
After mountain climbing around Ella on the previous day I was clueless what to do on day 2 and 3 because my previous agenda was not feasible at this point. After discussing with my friend Priyanjan I decided to go to Hadapanagala Lake and end my day. That was the fixed plan for the day even when I left his premises. It was around 11am when I got in to a bus towards Wellawaya and the bus conductor came close to me to issue a ticket and suddenly a question popped out. “කන්දෙ විහාරෙ ගාවට යන්නෙ කොහොමද?” after listening to him, I decided to change my destination. There are two roads to Kande viharaya, the bus dropped me at a newly formed 3way junction (Karandagolla Uma oya project road) which is much closer towards Ella side. From here onwards it’s a 3Km journey along the newly built Uma Oya project road (need to take the second road to the left from this road to reach the temple) towards Kande Viharaya.
One can simply drive up to kande viharaya with bit of caution. The rock ledged .cave is situated on the eastern slopes of Poonagala range and the view is simply serene. When you look out from the “Awasa Geya” you can visualize the whole Wellawaya region. I met the only priest at the temple and introduced myself before he thought I was a “Nidhan Hora”.
He was happy to meet me and was generous enough to show me around for about 3 hours. Most interesting places were the cave which is said to have connections with Dova temple, the Clay Sthupa, the image house with paintings of the queen and the crown (influenced by the Englishman to add her highness to the paintings if they wanted to renovate the place in 1886), the inscriptions,the cave painting, the waterfalls and the caves. I see this place suitable as a Monastery more than a “raja maha viharaya” because of its surrounding. After the round up tour the head priest was kind enough to offer me some “dane” which I enjoyed a lot simply because I was in hunger. He also requested from me to find him some aid to construct a “dharma shalawa” which is really needed for the poor villages to observe “sil” without getting wet, so if you wish to give a helping hand please check out this Link. Afterwards I left towards Ella highway and took a bus to Hadapanagala passing Wellawaya and got down at Handapanagala junction.
From here I took a trishaw which took me towards the Handapanagala Lake. The lake is a fantastic place to night camp, especially on the rocky hills around it, and the spectacular scenery of the eastern slopes of the central mountain belt is remarkable. The lake is bordered by Wadinahela mountain range and a forest patch on the opposite bank where you can note few elephants at evenings. At the end of the bunt you will find a “gal poththa” and when you climb on top of it you will find a pond which is known as “Kana bisawa Pokuna”. Few meters ahead from the turn off to the bunt there is an ancient temple called Kanabisawaramaya where you can find ruins and a non-excavated Dhageba.
I did note the name called Sellabawa on my way to Hadapanagala close to Wellawaya, that induced my memory that there were some ruins at that place so I inquired about Sellabawa ruins from the trishaw driver and he agreed to take me there before the sun set. After reaching Sellabawa junction we proceeded towards Sellabawa raja maha viharaya which was about 2-3km away from the Thanamalvila main road. There is a foot path through the forest beside a water stream, after about 500m you will reach few ancient steps which will take you to the “maluwa”. There was a huge Dhageba which I never expected to find at this location and also there were many stone pillars too. Most interesting finding was the broken ”hiti Pilimaya” which was lying on the ground and the large guard stone. After having a look around we reached back to the entrance and climbed up the stairs which led us towards a mountain peak with a Budhdha statue, where we enjoyed the surrounding view. After a tiring and unplanned interesting day I decided to get back to Moneragala and save some energy for the next day.
Day 3 was all about searching for Hebessa ruins bordering Yala forest, since it was Poson Poya the roads were occupied by many travellers. At around 8.30am I joined NG and her family members who I had already met on day one. After enjoying “pol pala” with juggery from a “dansala” We left towards Okkampitiya from where we proceeded towards “Bo Gaha Handiya” and took the left turn from there.
Just before reaching Phala pola/Pahala gama/Pathal pola you will have two options one will be the road towards right(from the 3way junction) which will have a causeway to cross the Kumbukkan river but there after the road is purely an adventurous 4WD drive through “chena” cultivations. The other road (left) is shorter but you need to cross Kumbukkan River and there will be a 1km 4WD drive after that.
We took the adventurous road where we had to disconnect (our guide did that) wires pulled across the road and push away branches to let the vehicle pass by. After a tortuous ride we reached the end (almost) of the road where there were some miners who saw us and disappeared. From this point onwards it was all by foot through the thick forest (towards Kumbukkan river) until we reached the cave.
There were remnants of a huge “sathapena Pilimaya” which has been excavated not by the archeology people but by “Nidhan horu”. I wonder what’s our Archeology department doing without restoring these places, I don’t think there will remain anything left for the future generations. There were some paintings remaining on the rock cave and there were evidence that paintings extended almost up to the rocky ledge (katarama). If you look around you will note few inscriptions also and the most fascinating finding was the “bahirawa” engraving on top of the right side of the rock cave. We also noted the “Dhageba” which was covered by bushes only after the guide showed it to us and guess what it was not spared by the treasure hunters either. There were some stone pillars here and there and more ruins which were covered by the forest in the vicinity. Just before we left the area we had a chat with the miners and observed how they engaged in mining which was very fascinating. We ended our journey only after having a dip at Kumbukkan River.
To return back we choose the second route which was less adventurous and returned to Buttala where I said good bye to others and left towards Moneragala.