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|Year and Month||2016 December 12th and 13th|
|Number of Days||Two days|
|Crew||Chamara, Kaweesha, Nuwan, Myself and guide (Kiri Banda)|
|Accommodation||KMP Wadiya at Kalupahana|
|Transport||Bus and Hiking/Walking|
|Activities||Hiking, Sightseeing and Photography|
|Route||Colombo->Kandy->Waththegama (වත්තේගම)->Bambaralla (බඹරැල්ල)->KMP Wadiya->Thunhisgala side peak-> KMP Wadiya-> Two waterfalls above Knuckles Duwili Falls->Back to Bambaralla via same route-> Colombo|
|Tips, Notes and Special remark||
|Comments||Discuss this trip report, provide feedback or make suggestions at Lakdasun Forum on the threa
Thunhisgala/ Kalupahana is a prominent peak of Knuckles massif with 1627m height. It is situated at center of Knuckles area-Kalupahana which was covered with Cardamom estates 30 years ago. KMP Wadiya is the only remaining cardamom hut at Kalupahana where you can stay overnight. The reason for the name Thunhisgala is due to three peaks in climbing. (Thun+His+Gala) (තුන්+හිස්+ගල). Alternative meaning is three ridges meet together to form the mountain.
Thunhisgala was in my to-do list for a long time after I read Ashan’s report.
Before I planned this trip, I got instructions from Ashan, Amila and Harinda. They instructed me to have a guide to KMP Wadiya and Thunhisgala as none of us have been there. I contacted Sinniah at Lebanon estate as I couldn’t contact Thayagaraja who was the guide for both Ashan and Harinda. At the end he introduced me a new person Kiri Banda who promised to bring us to Thunhisgala.
We stayed overnight at friend’s place at Peradeniya and got the first bus to Waththegama from Kandy. It was about 7.30 am when we got down at Lebanon estate / Malgudi junction (මල්ගුඩි හන්දිය). This is about 1km before Thawalanthanna (where bus parks). We met Kiri Banda Mama there and started the journey without wasting time. Soon we entered the estate road it divides into two the left hand one directs to Liyangalla division where you can view Lebanon estate waterfall. We climbed up along right hand side road to reach Rathnagiriya estate. The trail head begins from Rathnagiriya division. First it goes through Mana bushes and entered into forest cover. We were able to enjoy the beauty of surrounding mountains and plains as weather was excellent. Piduruthalagala range, Hanthana range and Hunnasgiriya were clearly seen with fainted view of sacred peak.
There was a long break at closer to small shrine where we had some snacks.
It was almost ascend till we reach the highest point of the trail-Hulang Kanda (හුලo කන්ද). Following Hulang Kanda it was ascends and descends till we reached KMP Wadiya. We had to cross few water streams and Maha Ela (මහ ඇල) was the largest one. The distance from Lebanon junction to KMP Wadiya is 7.75 kms. We came across Elephant dung closer to KMP Wadiya.
Nobody was at KMP Wadiya when we reached there. It was hard to find a cooking pot to boil water as they have hid everything. We unloaded things at Wadiya and armed with only necessary things for next section of the journey.
Here Kiri Banda Mama asked is it essential to go to that peak (showing Thunhisgala) and said he has not been there before. I got shocked by hearing it. He said nobody has been on top of this peak and we have to find the route.
According to the details I got from Ashan and Harinda there is not a clear foot pathway and anyway we have to find the route. Therefore we decided to climb the peak though the guide doesn’t know the route.
It was the same route from KMP Wadiya towards Knuckles Duwili Falls but at one place we got right hand turn towards Thunhisgala. The foot pathway was clear up to some distance and disappeared in a while. Then we targeted the peak and climbed up towards the peak. Initially it was Cardamom bushes and later thick forest. There was no foot pathway at all and climb was 70/80 degree some times. Though we climbed towards the peak we were not able to get a point with a clear view. At the end the surrounding was clear and bushes were short to have good view. Massive Thunhisgala was seen on side and we were at a side peak of Thunhisgala. (Thunhisgala has three tails, direct towards the peak. The secret of getting on to the peak is getting on to the correct tail). It was really disappointed moment as we have missed the target at the end of the day. Here we understood one thing. Though it is a side peak we would not be able to reach the top of Thunhisgala if we proceed along that tail.
Thunhisgala side peak is also not a bad place to have a good surrounding view. We were able to view Yahangala, Kehelpothdoruwegala, Lakegala, Meemure and giant Thunhisgala. The view behind us was not clear.
As it was around 4.30pm we decided to go back to KMP Wadiya.
We returned to KMP Wadiya just before dusk. It was freezing cold of water at Wadiya but somehow we managed to clean ourselves. As there was nobody at Wadiya we had to find cooking pots and other necessary items. It seemed this was a kind of luxury accommodation few decades ago with an attached bathroom (still there). As we were hungry dinner was prepared with no time. Seems the kitchen has been attacked by a wild elephant few days before. There are enough spacious at Wadiya to sleep. But none of us had a good sleep due to extreme cold.
We didn’t have an exact plan on that day except the return journey to Thawalanthanna. Kiri Banda Mama suggested visiting at couple of waterfalls which are situated above Knuckles Duwili falls.
He bought us in a foot pathway through abounded Cardamom estates.
All these cardamom estate were in wild now and debris of houses and bungalows were popped above bushes. According to him Kalupahana was like a small city at that time. After ups and downs through cardamom estates we have reached a waterfall with less water. I would like to name it as Knuckles Upper Duwili Falls-1 (නකල්ස් ඉහල දූවිලි ඇල්ල-1). Seems it has a height of 15-20m and must be more beautiful at rainy season. The water stream forms this waterfall later join with Maha Ela to form Duwili Falls in Knuckles.
Once you cross the first waterfall, second one is situated. Knuckles Upper Duwili Falls-2(නකල්ස් ඉහල දූවිලි ඇල්ල-2) is smaller than first one but richer in beauty. It has about 8-10m height. According to Kiri Banda Mama, both waterfalls are situated above famous Knuckles Duwili Falls.
After visiting two unknown cascades we have entered the pathway to Rathnagiriya estate. On our way we had a bath at nice man made pond at Rathnagiriya estate.
It ended a nice journey to central area of Knuckles-Kalupahana and attempted hike to Thunhisgala. I have determined to do Thunhisgala hike as soon as possible.
Thanks for reading