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|Year and Month||October, 2010|
|Number of Days||First day of a 3 day journey (Day 2 Report | Day 3 Report)|
|Crew||5 (25 to 38 years age).|
|Accommodation||Uva Management Training Institute @ Passara|
|Activities||Photography, Waterfall hunting, Scenic (off road) drives and visiting historic & archeological sites|
|Route||First day :Colombo -> Avissawella -> Balangoda -> Kalupahana -> Bambarakanda -> Udaweriya -> Ohiya -> Boralanda -> Diyathalawa -> Badulla/Passara.|
|Tips, Notes and Special remarks||
|Comments||Discuss this trip report, provide feedback or make suggestions at Lakdasun Forum on the thread|
Sun was shining in the sky as a silver globe. We were on our way to another adventurous journey heading Namunukula. The small open canopy jeep was packed with 5 Lakdasun members. The itinerary of the day was to reach Passara via Beragala & Pilklinton point @ Punagala estate, since it was identified as a much scenic drive.
Just we passed Balangoda; our itinerary was challenged by ourselves. The main role of the same was played by Dinesh, who bucked on the distinctive weather condition prevailing and suggested to change the route.
According to his words, we would not have such a good weather to explore the Devil’s staircase in the rest of our lives. Since we had many experiences of gaining better outputs with footloose decisions, the jeep was allowed to deviate from the main road at Kalupahana junction, in the next 30 minutes.
[A set of deadly hair-pin bends, located at the upper division of Udaweriya estate is called as Devil’s stair case. This can be reached by the estate road which connected Kalupahana & Ohiya. Road from Bambarakanda to the abandoned tea factory at Udaweriya is the worse part and identified as one of the most serious off road drives in Sri Lanka. ]
The sub route started from Kalupahana was heading Bamabarakanda, the tallest fall in Sri Lanka. Though the road was bit narrow & hilly, it had been maintained well enough up to Bambarakanda. Moving upwards nearly 500m passing the car park at the waterfall, our CJ5-horse got a little rest at the back yard of the popular eco-lodge at Bambarakanda.
In the next minute, we were warmly welcome by Mrs. Sera, the proprietor of the Bambarakanda lodge. The lodge was situated in a superb location facing the fall. Dinesh was very familiar with this place since he had visited there several times. Thus helped us to get arranged our lunch without placing an order in advance. How ever we had to spend few minutes more until our lunch got ready.
When we were at the lodge, one showed us some thing interesting. That was a vehicle; moving in the uphill left passing the lodge before 45 minutes. (We met them later on our way……)
Saying good bye to Ms. Sera and the lonely eco lodge, we continued our journey. It was a continuous ascending. At the beginning, condition of the road showed easily manageable. But; that happiness was not last at least to the end of the first 500m of our journey. The road was eroded and the surface was consisted with sharp edged stones, the worst enemy of your tires. Though our CJ5; the American Military jeep was born tough, most of the times; she had to move slower than a turtle, to escape from the said enemy.
At the end of the first kilometer of our journey, we stopped a while at a bend for capturing nice images of the Bambarakanda fall & her surrounding.
Having climbed nearly 3km from the eco-lodge, we reached the popular V-Cut which was treated as a holy place by villagers. In the next few minutes we met the causeway / Ford from where the water source of the Bamarakanda fall was crossing the jeep track at the upstream.
An ice cooled natural pool was waiting for us; and no one had time to waste. We had a cool dip and refreshed with shivering arms & shattering speech.
From there onwards the road condition showed little improvement for few kilometers. But it rose continuously.
Passing the series of hairpin bends known as Devils staircase, we reached an open area which offered a nice view of the valley. Then we met a three way junction where the left turn (up hill) was heading HP. Since a villager informed us that road was blocked due to a fallen tree, we had no option other than proceeding right which heading Udaweriya. The narrow road descended to a bridge and it was a nice place for having our lunch.
From the said bridge we moved to the other bank of the valley and we were offered an endless view up to the southern coast. And also the devil’s staircase was clearly visible to the road itself we were moving. No sign of mist. We felt that Mother Nature was blessing us with crystal clear sky; which was very rare to the area.
In the next kilometer we reached a village. Surprised children of the village having seen our open canopy jeep; were busy in waving their hands for greeting us. Just we passed the village; we were stopped by another villager. As per his words, the narrow road was completely blocked by a broken vehicle which cannot be moved for half a day. Further he advised to turn our vehicle & return Kalupahana since there was no alternative for us. But we were not ready to relay on the massage & decided to proceed until we reach the obstacle.
Finally we found the obstacle. It was the same vehicle seen; when we were at the eco lodge. They had cut two tires due to careless driving.
Since it needed two wheels, the situation could not be changed even by offering our spare wheel to them; because their spare wheel was sadly tighten at the spare wheel carriage and could not dismantle. Finally they took a decision to abundant the poor vehicle for the moment and hire a call cab. They moved the vehicle to the deadly edge of the narrow road with two naked wheels, to provide space / room to pass / over take them.
In the next few minutes we reached another three way junction from where the tea factory of Udaweriya was accessed. We paid a visit there and found that the factory was temporary out of operation. It should specially note here that the location of the factory was an excellent view point.
From the said junction onwards, condition of the road was improved terminating the off road experience being experienced so far. Passing Ohiya & Boralanda we got in to the A5 hi-way back at Diyathalawa. How ever it was nearly 7.30pm when we reached our destination, having delay a bit at Badulla, for necessary stuff.