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|Year and Month||March, 2014|
|Number of Days||Three|
|Crew||On day two there were 6 (Nalinda & Kamalawarna from Lakdasun)|
|Transport||Public transport / trishaw / Train|
|Activities||Archaeology / trekking / Scenery / Photography|
|Route||D1: Monaragala -> Wellawaya -> Kumbalwela -> Halpe -> Dowa -> BandarawelaD2: Bandarawela -> Kinigama -> Bambaragama -> Kinigama -> BandarawelaD3: Bandarawela -> Nayabedda -> Dambetenna -> Haputale -> Idalgasinna -> Ella -> MonaragalaRaja vidiya trail map [Download Google Earth Trail Map]|
|Tips, Notes and Special remark||
** SPECIAL THANKS TO ** Indaka from Bandarawela
|Comments||Discuss this trip report, provide feedback or make suggestions at Lakdasun Forum on the thread|
It was one of those random weekends and I didn’t have any scheduled places to visit so I headed towards Badarawela. It was almost 1pm when I got down at Halpe and my first place of interest was Gangarama temple. Though the Uva tourist board had put up a notice board, this temple didn’t have any historical importance. Next target was Yahalamaditta temple. To reach this temple one needs to proceed towards Badulla for few Km’s and take the road to the right with the name board. There was an old image house with reconstructed Buddha statues. After returning back to the main road I walked towards the Board directing towards Pattini devalaya. To reach this ancient Halpe Pattini devalaya one needs to take a path along a paddy field. This wonderful building was left alone after the death of the main kapuwa. It is now cleaned and opened during the festival season only. From here I headed towards Dowa.
Quote The Devale roof is supported on eligantly carved timber columns with lotus bracket-capitals. Its inner chamber has clay walls. The section of the building known as Maligava is a two storied timber structure and the upper floor could be accessed by a wooden ladder. Its walls are of timber panels supported on stone columns and beams. Between the timber columns is a latticed fence. In the ground floor a sandalwood statue of Pattini Goddess and deposited besides it are processional lances, lamps and water containers. The carvings in this Devale depict the typical Kandyan tradition. The door frame of the entrance to one of the corridors is adorned with a Makara Torana and the images of doorkeepers. The Devale premises have an ancient Bhodhigara and the structure of an ancient temple. The evidence that a parapet enclosing all these items had been in existence is visible. This site not only displays the archaeological significance of the area but also as a place subject to veneration. The Archaeological Department has declared the Devale as a protected monument.
Dowa temple is famous among many visitors so I decided to wonder around appreciating the beautiful paintings. I went there in search of a specific painting called හස්ති-වෘෂභ කුංජරය where the head of the elephant and a bull seems to be merged together. Since time was limited I had to rush towards Bandarawela by cutting short my stay. ( More info on Dowa )
Bandarawela was a town which was under the influence of colonial ruling so there were many interesting buildings from that era. I firstly visited the Anglican Church which is at the beginning of Ettampitiya road. This was a small yet beautiful Chapel. The evening rays which came through the coloured glass produced some stunning images. Next I went towards the Methodist church and to get to it one needs to cross the road from the Anglican Church and walk few paces towards the town and take the right hand road. Unfortunately the door was closed so I took few snaps of the exterior and returned back to the old Bandarawela bus stand. In front of the bus stand there is a road towards the Meteorology department land where once they excavated and found evidence of a pre historic settlement in bandarawela. All the artifacts which were found are now kept at a museum in England. ( More info on this )
Day two I was joined by few colleagues (some were lakdasun members) and Indaka from Bandarawela was going to guide us around. We reached Kinigama station and marched towards Heel oya and took a foot path towards Porogala from the railway. One could reach this rocky view point by taking the Kinigama Mahalpotha road. If you get down at Mahaulpotha temple you could walk to this site (if you don’t have a 4wd). There are few houses close to this rocky point. On the rock there is inscription stating (Herman) probably must be a survey engineer since this a triangulation point. From here one could appreciate Bandarawela, Kinigama, Diyathalawa, Heel oya, rail line and peaks of Nuwara eliya. We were also lucky enough to witness a train passing below. ( More info on this ) Next on the list was our main target for the day. That’s an ancient cave and a foot path from a forgotten era. To get to this place we took the road to Heel oya via Mahalpotha and got down at Ampitigoda. From here we climbed up through the tea estate. In this tea estate there is a cave with ancient paintings which we didn’t forget to visit. Continuing along the tea estate boarder brought us towards an ancient stairway which led uphill. And on this hill there were remains of a building. This was called ancient “Raja Vidiya” on Indaka’s blog. This peak had a wonderful view point where we rested awhile. From here we descended towards Makul ella and from there we walked towards Bambaragama to enjoy some breath taking scenery. From Makul ella we took a trishaw to Indaka’s place and had lunch before departing to our destinations.
Day 3 was another lonely expedition day. From Bandarawela I took a bus to Nayabedda and from there I hired a trishaw to St Catherine’s point. While traveling on Nayabedda – Dambetenna road one would come across a junction where a direction slab could be found. We took the left turn and went towards the communication towers of St Catherine’s. The road was a 4WD one but the scenery simply made us forget about all the obstacles. From this point one could see far south and even south east. We returned back to the main road and went towards Dambetenna
Before reaching Dambetenna we took another left turn towards Lipton seat and reached there without any problems. Since it was a clear day we were lucky enough to see far towards the south. Koslanda, Wellawaya, Hambegamuwa & Udawalawa were the prominent areas seen. From Lipton seat I asked the trishaw driver to take me to Dambetenna where I took a bus to Haputhale.
From Haputhale I took a trishaw to Adisham which was 4Km’s away. Unfortunately the doors were close since it wasn’t a weekend day but the guard was kind enough to let me wonder around the garden a bit to take few snaps. There is a foot path which starts at the boarder of Adisham which goes through Thangamale sanctuary. This was going to be a lonely and a lovely hike. The 4km stretch to the end point went through mountain forest, mana patches, Pines plots until the rail line was reached. On the way I took a detour by climbing uphill via the pines plot to reach a summit point where a tea estate on Upper Haldummulla side could be reached. After getting back to the rail line I walked towards Idalgasinna station and took a train to Ella and departed towards Monaragala to end this long trip.
Thanks for reading!