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|Year and Month||12 Jun, 2014|
|Number of Days||1|
|Crew||Hasitha, Dhanushka, Kasun and Me|
|Activities||Waterfall Hunting, Photography, etc…|
|Weather||Heavy Rains with Strong Winds, gloomy right throughout…|
|Route||Maharagama->Kottawa->Kaduwela->Kandy->Katugastota->Wattegama->Bambarella and back through Kurunegala.|
|Tips, Notes and Special remark||
|Comments||Discuss this trip report, provide feedback or make suggestions at Lakdasun Forum on the thread|
It’s been a while since Hasitha and I went out searching for waterfalls accompanied by the old boy, Tony marking the first of my Tour de Waterfalls that have grown dramatically throughout May. Waterfalls have always been my great passion and will always be. It’s such pleasure to go see them flowing down in their pristine white veils looking like angels descended straight from heaven. However it’s so painful and depressing to witness the tragic situation enveloping these gorgeous virgins by the vicious, greedy and ignorant people in our country.
The future of them looks so uncertain and I wonder how many of them will still be standing in a few years. So my aim to go see as many of these beauties has to be intensified especially in the monsoon season. I was glad when Hasitha called asking what my plans were for Poson. Tony and I celebrated Vesak skirting around Deraniyagala and the prospects of doing something similar on Poson lifted my spirits tenfold. I suggested we visit Bambarella following Niroshana’s footsteps. Even though Hasi had been there before, he still wanted to do it once again as there had been very little water at the time due to the drought.
However, we had plans for a greater cause at Kohonawala led by NG. After my first visit to Kohonawala, there were a lot of people coming forward to do something for this isolated village her occupants. NG arranged with the help of her (for many who have been under the impression that NG was a boy will now know that she isn’t) friends were preparing to do an eye clinic for the villagers with the blessings and directions of the monk. After a lot of effort and commendable commitment, she managed to formulate a plan and decided to do it on 13th June, next day after Poson. As it’s always the case, it was difficult to get the team members going together. So NG, decided to take the medical team and the equipment along with Kasun on Poson Poya day with plans to descend to the temple by late afternoon while Athula, Tony, Prasanna and me taking the night bus to reach village on Friday morning.
In the end, NG and the medical team went ahead with their plans and carried out the eye clinic taking that extra step to do something for the people in need. Unfortunately, we couldn’t join them as planned due to various reasons. This was a great relief for those neglected people by many of the relevant authorities to be able to receive such a treatment right in their rural village. I hope by the time this report comes online, you folks will have heard about it. So well done NG and her team for putting together such a noble effort. It was going that extra mile, showing we’re not only passionate about the environment, but also the well-being of fellow innocent human beings. So once again I wanna congratulate NG, her friends and the medical team for going through all those hardships to achieve their goal. It’s a pity that we couldn’t be there as promised.
There are plans for many greater things and I do hope I’ll be able to go witness and tell you all about them.
You can check the details of Kohonawala Eye Clinic here.
Ok, let’s change course and get back to our waterfall hunt. I invited Danushka and his wife, Thilini to join forces for this but only Dhana could make it. At the last minute, Kasun who was supposed to go with NG, called me and ask if he too could come with us as his leave was cancelled making it impossible to go to Kohonawala. Leave when we need is a privilege that many of employees can’t afford.
So finally the four of us left on the dawn of Poson and headed towards Kandy.
- Rahas Ella, Wattegama.
- Hulu Ganga Ella, Panwila.
- Saari Ella, Thawalanthenna.
- Jodu Ella, Thawalanthenna.
- Lebanon Estate Ella 3, Lebanon Estate.
- Lebanon Estate Ella 1, Lebanon Estate.
- Kosgama Ella, Kosgama.
- Thaliya Wetunu Ella, Allakola, Estate.
- Video Journey of Waterfalls of Bambarella.
Note: We couldn’t clearly see the Lebanon Estate Ella 2 that was about 100m before the Lebanon Junction due to thick tree cover along the road and couldn’t attempt to reach around the tea patch due to time constraints. However, from what we saw through those trees, it was clear that she was a very tall girl with plenty of water and there were a few more beautiful ones further below. In addition to the list, we saw many waterfalls in the distant mountains with no means to reach and most of them would have been just seasonal falls.
This is located about a km away from Wattegama by the road at a bridge, probably the first to come across along Bambarella road. There are two parts of the falls, the upper part to the left of the road and the lower half under the bridge which is accessible via a concreted steps about 50m before the bridge to the right. She too is a victim of diversion of water making the lower half being limited to a tiny flow. The upper part is kinda hidden by a rock probably giving her the name”Rahas” (Secret). Even the lower half is obscured from view further the strengthening the meaning of her name. The water looked yellowish brown due to heavy rains.
We got down under the bridge to see this beautiful fall but looking closely figured it was just a leak from the concrete canal that takes water elsewhere. It was gloomy and cloud cover was so thick you could make marshmallows from it. It had already started to drizzle and we had to take out our umbrellas to go take pics.
Hulu Ganga Ella
Go further along Bambarella road till you reach Hulu Ganga town with a large bridge under which falls one of the most beautiful girls I’ve ever seen, Hulu Ganga Ella. Just pass the bridge and about 50m away you will find the steps that lead you to the observation deck. Whoever done that should be blessed as it makes an ideal location to see this magnificent creature of Mother Nature. It was still drizzling and we spent nearly half hour picturing her. It started pouring with rain making us abandon our plan to visit Thaliya Wetuna Ella and head further towards Bambarella.
Passing Lebanon junction and then Kosgama Bridge we reached Thawalanthenna where we could see Jodu Ella from the road but without stopping went till the Tamil school at the Thawalanthenna.
From Thawalanthenna junction, take the concrete paved road uphill through the school for about 1km till you notice a tin-roofed cabana like structure to the left and just next to it is Saari Ella.
However along the way, we witnessed a very tall waterfall in the middle of the jungle to our right. Only the top was visible through tall trees and numerous attempts to get clear info about her failed. However many said she’s hidden in the jungle and not so easy to reach amid leech-infested undergrowth. However she is well worth paying a visit if possible.
The hut looked derelict and abandoned making it a heaven for drunkards. We saw plenty of beer cans and liquor bottles most of them were broken, so be careful where you step. It however provided the previous shelter we were seeking making it easier to take pics.
However, despite the heavy rains, there was a bunch of boys enjoying a dip in the base pool and a direct shower from the falls. As soon as we arrived, the left making it easy for us to take pics with an unobstructed view of this beauty.
You can clearly see her from the road to Thawalanthenna and to get a closer view, take the right hand road at the Thawalanthenna junction towards the line houses. About 1km away you will reach a house which is located towards the very end of the path and from here just maneuver around the tea bushes to get as closer to her as possible.
She falls in two major parts while in heavy rains making tiny parts on either side. I figured the left on to be the wife and the right one to be the husband. However Kasun and Dhana said that the left part is fatter (wider) the right and I said that is exactly why she is the wife. Their 10-year old son was to the extreme left next to the mother while 2-year old very shy looking daughter was hiding behind trees next to the father.
As requested by us, Mother Nature blessed us with about half hour of clear whether making it easy to picture her. However 2 to 3 inch long leeches hung on to us making pin point incisions into our veins. As I always say, they could be very handy when injecting people as it would be painless and quick to get to the veins. Also patients won’t have to undergo multiple attempts by those untrained nurses of private hospitals looking for the veins.
Back at Thawalanthenna, we stopped by the shop near the school for a cup of tea. The owner Mr. Venugopal provided us with tea and hot water fascinated by our visit all the way from Colombo amid heavy rains. He was very hospitable and even refused money for it which made us buy some tipi tips in the hope of helping him some way. I have witnessed the hospitality and kindness of people in especially rural areas towards travelers. So please don’t do anything to hurt them or be a nuisance to them by your behavior. Respect them, seek their help whenever possible and always play that you don’t know better than them even if you really are. It’ll help form a good relationship and you will be surprised to see how helpful they really are and go out of the way to do it. Still there could be crooks too as it’s the case everywhere but most of them are just innocent and helpful villagers. I’m telling you this from nearly two years of constant traveling experience.
Lebanon Estate Ella 1
From Thawalanthenna we carried on the way we came and stopped by the roadside to take more pics of Jodu Ella. Afterwards we reached Lebanon junction and asked for directions about the Lebanon Estate Ella but nobody knew about it as mentioned by Niro. Fortunately there was this small milk collecting lorry and I asked one of the boys about the falls and he agreed to take us. His name is Velayudam and was very friendly and helpful.
We took the estate road and about 200m away reached a bridge and a small kovil. Leaving the car, we walked passing the bridge and on the way I saw a beautiful but a small waterfall to our right. I called her Lebanon Estate Ella 3 as Niro had formerly named 1 & 2. Without stopping by her, we carried on and soon could see the top of Lebanon Estate Ella 1. She was in full flow. After walking about 1km, we reached the base of the falls.
She took my breath away, looked similar to Ellepla Ella but with a raised top part which can’t be seen from the bottom. Along the way we saw the Jodu Ella in the distance. We could clearly see the flow of water coming down till it separated making the Jodu Ella. What a fabulous view it really was. Having plucked out the leeches we set about taking pics. Finally we left Velayudam and started walking back.
Lebanon Estate Ella 3
I didn’t forget to stop by the Lebanon Estate Ella 1 that we saw on the way but no chance of getting closer to her due to raging water. So we had to be content with a view about 50ft away.
Back at Lebanon junction and went in search of Lebanon Estate Ella 2. We found her about 100m away peering through thick tree cover. She looked as big or even bigger as Lebanon Estate Ella 1 but no way to take a picture. We simply had no time to tackle the tea patch on the other side looking for a path so very sadly bid farewell to her hoping to come back again.
We headed towards Hulu Ganga. We reached the Kosgama Bridge and stopped to look for the Kosgama Ella mentioned in Niro’s report. Under the bridge came a deafening roar of water gushing down and closer inspection revealed the Kosgama Ella downhill. The water had been diverted by yet another concrete canal but a leak once again made it look beautiful. It was practically impossible to reach the bottom and we didn’t even have the time coz I was due back in Colombo to take the night but to Kohonawala.
However as I mentioned above, Prasanna had pulled off early due to being sick and Kasun with no leave. To make matters worse, Tony called to inform Atha too had fallen down with fever and not able to make it. It was down to the two of us to join NG and the team who were already on their way.
Back at Hulu Ganga Ella
On our way to Thaliya Wetuna Ella, we stopped by the Hulu Ganga Ella once again coz it looked the water level has gone up. There was a thick layer of water vapor generated by the flow of water crashing onto the base rocks. We were proved correct and the water level had risen dramatically adding that brownish color to the milky white veil. However, our stay here prevented us taking pics up close of Thaliya Wetuna Ella as it started to rain cats and dogs with strong winds.
Thaliya Wetuna Ella
Take the road to Allakola Estate to the left at Hulu Ganga junction when coming from Wattegama. The road is in very good condition but in the estate, pretty narrow. About 1-2km of driving took us to a sharp bend to the right with a distant view of Thaliya Wetuna Ella to the left about a km away. It was simply great landscape and Dhana jumped out of the car shooting away as if he was possessed.
We started the walk towards the falls and it’s about 1.5km in length through open tea estate with plenty of Mana bushes covering the path. There were very large leeches in numbers and the path was more or less a tiny canal due to consistent rain. We came to a place with a good view about a few hundred meters away from the falls when Dhana shouted “Scorpion” and it was a big fella on the road with a shiny blue tinge to its typically black body. We walked maybe another 100m when the rain hit us in full force with strong winds threatening to take us to the charcoal grey sky with our umbrellas. We waited about 10 mins but rain showed no sign of slackening. It was so frustrating to have come so close but to turn around without being able to take decent close pics. However we were blessed and lucky throughout the day and Mother Nature tried her best to make it possible for us to give as much time as possible but couldn’t hold the heavily laden clouds any longer.
We took a few pics but all they showed was a gorgeous girl through a curtain of rain. Cameras are still nothing compared to our eyes. So we called it quits and headed back to the road and the car. There were hundreds of leeches stuck to body and clothes. Kasun even fished out one from his hair on our way.
Under the rain we spent nearly half hour shaking those blood suckers off, everyone was bleeding and Dhana’s pants were smeared with blood making him look like a villain from a Bollywood movie. Hasi and Kasun didn’t escape their brutal attack either. There were families of leeches between their toes as if bought from a land sale company refusing to untag. I wish it was as easy as untagging on Facebook.
Finally we got in drenching the car and seats and drove away. Meanwhile NG and the team had reached the village while Tony was rightly panicking. I hoped we could reach Colombo in time but it proved ungettable and had to abandon our plan to visit Kohonawala and help in some way to the eye clinic.
It was a great day visiting so many rich waterfalls but I was saddened nonetheless not being able to visit Kohonawala. Anyway it was beyond our control and I hope to go there for the next phase of NG’s plan end of the month.
Do enjoy the videos of the journey below.
Well folks I hope that you enjoyed the pics and my narration. Also if this report aroused your senses of traveling, I have been successful.
Take care and keep traveling while protecting our Mother Nature and like NG and the team did, try to help people in need whenever you can. At least try to bring them forward and be known so that those capable will do something.
This is Sri signing off hoping to bring yet another Tour de Waterfalls.