|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||March, 2011|
|Number of Days||2 days (3 nights)|
5 males age between 25-39
|Accommodation||Camped at Wadi gala (a big rock in the middle of thick jungle) – Kammal yaya|
|Transport||5 Motor bikes (XR250,TW200,Pulsar200,Discovery,Platina)|
|Activities||Poojawa at Kebaliththa Devalaya|
|Route||Colombo (Makola) -> Awissawella -> Rathnapura -> Balangoda -> Beragala -> Wellawaya -> Monaragala -> Dombagawela -> Kodayana -> 5th post -> Kotiyagala -> Bogashandiya Rd. -> Kebaliththa -> Kammalyaya Rd. -> Kotiyagala -> Athimale -> Siyanbalanduwa -> Monaragala -> Wellawaya -> Ella -> Kumbalwela -> Bandarawela -> Haputhale -> Balangoda -> Rathnapura -> home sweet home|
|Tips, Notes and Special remarks||
|Related Resource||Related Discussion: Need to know about kabiliththa devalaya.|
|Comments||Discuss this trip report, provide feedback or make suggestions at Lakdasun Forum on the thread|
This tour/pilgrim is blessed by God Kataragama. I thought to write this report to update the people who really want to go there with respect of god and their beliefs. Please don’t go just for fun
This was going to be some of the hardest and in some places the scariest riding I’d ever done.
If I explain to you the very little I know about the devalaya, this place is considered very sacred by devotees of God Katharagama . They believe that the God’s present staying place is the ‘Maha Siyambalawa Devalaya’ (Kebaliththa). I’m too believe that without any doubt. There are so many ‘Haskam’ which I cannot explain here. People at Kotiyagala respect this place very strongly and they are even scared to deal with this place. So I listened to their word and prepared my self as per the customs which they told that we have to follow.
I have visited the devalaya two times before and this time I took the leadership and guided the others. So I wanted to go on my bike and the others too agreed with me. Road conditions are very hard to ride. Up and down, we did 70 km from Kotiyagala. It was very hard, muddy and very challenging track. Mostly large tractors are required to go there. But we really enjoyed the adventure ride.
Let me tell you from the beginning. I was waiting from last November (2010) for normal weather conditions. One of my friends at Kotiyagala informed me that mid March 2011 would be ideal for the ride. So the tree of us prepared ourselves for seven days with having only vegetarian food and prepared our bike for the long and hard journey. Most suitable bikes are trail (on/off) dual sport bikes. But unfortunately Danu’s NX developed a starting problem. So we took one Indian Pulsar 200. We had big problems with it when it came to handling in jungle & mud.
Day 1 (18th Friday night): We start from Makola at 10:00 pm in three bikes (Me, Dinna, Danu) and straight a way went to Diyaluma falls in Koslanda at 1:00am and we had our dinner; what we took from our home. It was a very nice experience in the moon light. Nobody at the road and only the sound & mist of Diyaluma falls. Dinna arranged his camp light fixed on his bike.
We did rest some time in the cool breeze with some chit chat regarding the way we came. After our dinner we headed out again at 3:00 am and it was very cold and misty. After Wellawaya, road condition was superb and we rode like fast & furious. Around 4:30 am we came to Monaragala for fuel and to refresh ourselves. Full tanked our babies and took some extra fuel in the jerry cans.
After the fuel load Dinna’s TW200 needed to adjust the chain. We had some packing problems in Danu’s Pulsar too. So took much time to reach Kotiyagal at 8:00 am of next day.
Day 2 (19th Saturday) – My friend introduced his pal to me and said that he will also join us. We gave Petrol for him and prepared our bikes for the jungle track. We removed the side mirrors, our jackets, helmets and other road gear.
We started the holy journey with prayers for the God’s blessing. My friends too had prepared for the tour with having only veggies and following other customs. They too were scared to make it a fun trip and all of us kept trust on the faith. Generally it said that you should be careful with your words (කට ඉස්සර කරගන්න එපා!). Therefore our target was to do the Pooja and only after it is done we would think about the return journey. So there were no plans for returns.
After a significant amount of pushing, pulling in mud and massive roots we got the bikes up to the ‘Thelaboo gala’. It has sapped all our energy and drained most of our water. I removed a 10 ltr water can due the excess weight on the bikes. It was too hard to control the bike with the load. We planed to have our breakfast and climbed up to the top of the rock.
I Kept the cameras in the bag for safety. And our target was go straight to the devalaya. So we decided not to waste time for filming. Also it was very hard to carry the camera and ride.
Once again the going was really hard. We frequently had to dismount and man handle the bikes over fallen trees and push them out of hidden holes that we got stuck in. The trail was covered in the parallel rattan which meant that I had to concentrate hard to keep the bike upright. It was a total nightmare
We crossed ‘Alakola-ara’ with about 3 feet of water. We took bikes one by one without causing any damage to them. My team was superb. We all worked hard as one team. Finally we came to our destination at 1:30 pm (5 hours ride)
Quickly we prepared ourselves to do the Pooja. We jumped in to white sarongs and took off the muddy riding gear. There was an Army point there and they came and registered our information. They were surprised when they saw our bikes. There was a very nice officer with his buddy and they told us to ask from them if we need any thing and they were willing to help us.
I setup the camera in video mode and didn’t take any stills when we did the pooja. (If would you like to see it I can arrange to copy) We prepared (milk rice) ‘Muruthan bath’ and ‘Plathuru watti’ (fruit trays). After we properly worshiped we had fruits and milk rice for our lunch. We gave a plate of rice and fruits to the Army post as well.
Everybody was happy about the way we did our pooja. It was Nicely done without a ‘Kapuwa’. Not a rushed “Pooja” like at the Katharagama maha devalaya. After cleaning every thing; the place and the things we used to cook, we headed back home with blessing of the God’s.
We came back to our bikes and planed to stay the night there. It was 5:30 pm. Since my friends had to report to the Police station next day morning I decided to ride back in the night. It was deadly and dangerous because of elephants, bears and snakes. But the faith came on top of all of that and we decided to start.
Considering the experience of the ‘Bogas yaya road (බෝගස් යාය පාර).’ we decided to ride on ‘Kammal yaya road (කම්මල් යාය පාර).’ its first 15 km is a hard muddy track and the rest is bit easy. Oh.. God.. what a track it was. We got stuck in big ruts made by large tractor wheels and the mud was slippery like බණ්ඩක්කා (ladies-fingers). Danu fell 2 times with in 7 feet’s on his Pulsar 200. Dinna had a tyre punch in the front wheel of the TW200. But he still said that he can manage. Bikes got stuck in more than 2 feets deep in the mud and required the full strength of all of the team to get them back to track. Fortunately my friend’s bike was not as heavy as ours.
The going iwas really slow, but at this time of the day that was ok. All of us wanted to find some where to spend the night. Elephant dung and newly broken branches where every where. Now the hearts began to pump fast…. All of us had butterflies in stomach when ever we saw the big round footprints. In the front was my self (XR250) and Dinna (TW200). Dinesh too was brave enough to take the challenge. Some times we had to speed straight in to a mud rut for about 200 meters in pitch black. When bikes were switched off it’s was like a nightmare to see the surrounding. If we stop the bikes they would sink in mud and would require recovery by all of our strength. So we had to ride fast in the mud and shout each other to signal whether they should come or not. If they cannot do it we had to find another route in the jungle. So we would park our bikes and would come back with a small torch to find a track to slowly navigate them to avoid the deep mud holes.
A stretch of 100 metres through a swamp was incredibly hard. It was a mud hole after a mud holes, each one swallowing the bikes as there was no way around them. It took us the best part of an hour to haul our bikes through it.
My Honda XR is pretty tall – 940mm. I’ve never managed to flat foot a XR as I’m 5′ 6″. The height is hardly ever a problem when riding. I would ride mostly standing and try to keep my feet on the pegs as much as possible. If my feet come off the pegs, I fall off.
After 20 km we got into some really dense jungle and down into a stream bed. We had no water for long time and when we saw the stream it was a real wow……. We drank pure water which came through the natural filters. The time might have been10 in the night and the fear of thick jungle had gone off. After refreshing, we started the battle again. Danu had a problem with his bike as the Pulsar 200 had no brakes in rear or front. He was totally flat due to his riding. He said that he cannot ride anymore and felt like smashing and burning his bike.
Oh.. What a situation! We were all soaked and knackered and I sensed that there was some tensions within our team. Under these extreme circumstances I began to see sides of people which I don’t normally see. I left it at that for for the time being and decided to exchange bikes with Danu. He was back in the game again and I had to get used to the new beast. I hate Indian bikes but what to do…. so going got tough.
The trail was fairly hairy in places and at times we were riding a thin single track with deep rain ruts on either sides. As I descend through this section there were more than a couple sorry moments. There were some impressive sand stone stalagmites on both sides due to heavy rain erosion.
We search for a way around and descend into a large overgrown swamp.
Inside the swamp it was hard going again. Full of mud, fallen trees and vines which half strangled me as I ride through. I thrashed and drag my bike through the slop. Others helped me. My friend from Kotiyagala said that he came along this route after three months and it was difficult to find the track in pitch dark. He guided us by pointing to large trees. How lucky were we? …we came to some ‘Iringu chena’ (හේන) planted illegally by the villagers. There were some illeage hurbs chenas too (kansa/ganja). It was a danger factor because the care takers of those illegal plants may think that we had come for raid and may even shoot at us.
So I decided to spend the rest of the night some where safe. Now the time was close to 12 mid night.
I didn’t take many photos. I was completely drained – physically and mentally. I was not sure how much more I could take of this pulsar 200. I felt light headed and dizzy again. The only thing I was aware of was the heat and how bad I felt. only thing I could do was to blame the Pulsar 200 bike and find some higher gorund to stay.
Thank God… we came to ‘Wadigala’ at 12:05 in the mid night with full of moon light as it was the 19th the day the moon was closest to the earth. No need of extra lights. There was a small stream running close to the rock with 5 inches of clear water. I dug a hole in the middle of it and made a small well. As soon as we reached there we start to cook some rice and dhal. We had some pickle and seeni sambol brought from home. I had a bath and others had body wash. We had our dinner while it was hot and while having dinner Dinna slept on the rock. It was a nice place with moon light so all of us slept well without any consideration of the wild beasts. We kept the fire alive but didn’t know what happened tilll 7:00 am the next day.
With fresh blood we hammered the gravel road up to Kotiyagala police post as it was a off-road running event. We were that much eager to see the end of the track. Thank God, we came safely to the Kotiyagala after running 70 km in the wood and mud.
After we reached there a gentleman from Police HQ (Bamunu) requested us to pose for a photo. They were shocked when they saw bikes and us. They were also ready to leave by tractors, parking their 4×4 at police post due to the road condition. Thanks to him; he sent me this via email.
After saying good bye to loving friends we headed back to Athimale to repair Dinna’s TW200 tyre punch. We were done with it but still no brakes on TW200 and Pulsar 200. Managed the ride on the gears… After riding 17km we reached the carpet tarmac at ‘Kalukobbawa’ at Siyambalanduwa. Every body looked at us; what a dress code and muddy beauties…
We couldn’t speed even 100 meters before we were stopped by the whistles of Traffic Police. Kindly they asked us where we went. After we said that we went to the devalaya it was alright and they even guided us to a river where we could clean ourselves and change in to new clothes.
We came to ‘Kotiyagoda’ for lunch and at Monaragala TW200 & Pulsar200 were repaired for brakes. It had no liners or pads due to mud. Luckily the parts were available there. Then we started to hammer down the carpet up to reach Colombo. We spent two, three hours at Kumbalwela at Dammika’s place and came home on the 21st Monday early morning 4:30 am at Makola.
Nice Adventure. Love to do it again on my XR250…Hope you all enjoy this.