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|Year and Month||07 Dec 2013|
|Number of Days||1|
|Crew||1 (between 30-31 years of age)|
|Activities||Photography, Waterfall Hunting, Archaeology|
|Route||Battaramulla->Embuldenita->Kottawa->Homagama->Moragahahena->Horana->Egal Oya->Bulathsinhala->Galketiya Junctiona->Pahiyangala->Niggaha->Gamwasama->Gavaragiriya and return back to the Galketiya Junction
From Galketiya Junction->Molkawa->Kelin Kanda->Kukuleganga->Kodippilikanda->Athwelthota via Ahas Bokkuwa->Diganna and back to Athweltota Junction->Morapitiya->Mahawalakanda Road and back to Morapitiya->Baduraliya->Mathugama->Nagoda->Katukurunda Junction->Kalutara->Moratuwa->Piliyandala->Boralesgamuwa->Delkanda->Battaramulla.
This might look like a puzzle but this is the exact road we took and hopefully you can figure out a way of covering what we did during our marathon run.
|Tips, Notes and Special remark||
|Comments||Discuss this trip report, provide feedback or make suggestions at Lakdasun Forum on the thread|
It was on the 22 Nov when Hari and I went searching for Waterfalls in Lankagama covering nearly 400km in 14hrs in his good old motor bike. It turned out to be one helluva journey with 6 gorgeous girlies within about 12km, 5 of which within less than 1 square km. I was overjoyed to no end. It was such a peaceful sight to look at water falling along glistening rocky surfaces, snaking through rough patches and hiding behind bushes as if they’re too shy.
I managed to shoot 5 short videos (I’m kicking myself for not taking the most beautiful of them, the Lankagama Doovili Falls). The guide who went with us said that foreigners spend hours watching the beauty of her mesmerized by the sheer mischievous ways of her. I’ve posted them on Lakdasun and you can check my Video Journey of Lankagama Waterfalls here. Check out Hari’s Report too on our journey.
Our route was through Matugama, Baduraliya and Agalawatta where many other waterfalls located in a cluster. There are many reports by Lakdasun members who’d visited these waterfalls over the last few years and you can check them out too. I kept pondering over visiting them as well right throughout the journey. On our way back, I told Hari that we gotta do another one-day to cover the falls in this area and he readily agreed so long as his and my off days coincided nicely.
Well, it didn’t take for everything to fall into place when I happened to call him on 05 Dec. We decided to visit as many waterfalls as possible but I insisted that we visit Pahiyangala as well. Hari is not into archaeology but had to give in under pressure from me but eventually he too was very satisfied with the outcome coz we too did very few have done so far. We climbed the Pahiyangala Rock.
We decided to do it on the 07th and Hari and I got our own version of routes and priorities listed separately and met in the wee hours of 07th morning to do as much possible.
- Pahiyangala Caves and the Rock
- Pani Ella, Niggaha
- Meenu Ella, Gavaragiriya
- Makeli Ella, Kukuleganga
- Kabaragoi Ella aka Ahas Bokku Ella, Athweltota
- Elapothu Ella, Diganna
- Pilituda Ella, Athweltota
- Mara Kapu Ella, Morapitiya
An impressive list, huh? I didn’t believe it possible to cover the whole lot till I was pondering over our adventure on the 7th night while I was dreaming about the best of the best, sweet Makeli Falls. She was an absolute stunner and I could’ve watched her the whole day without getting tired. Now let me take you through the route we took in details so that you too might be able to follow our steps and enjoy the beauty of these wonderful girls.
The Route in detail:
“We started from Battaramulla around 4.45am and went through Udahamulla, Maharagama, Kottawa and Homagama passing the Panagoda Temple towards Moragahahena. From there the road led to Horana. Passing Ballapitiya, Govinna and Egal Oya we reached Bulathsinhala Junction around 6.00am and took a left towards Kukuleganga. About 5km we reached Galketiya Junction where took a left turn towards Pahiyangala which was another 2km away.
From Pahiyangala, we went further along the same road towards Niggaha. About 2.5km away was the Pani Ella. Passing this we went another 2km to Gamwasama. From there took a left towards Gavaragiriya Meenu Ella which is 1.8km from Gamwasama. Having visited Meenu Ella, we retraced our steps back to Galketiya Junction from where took a right towards Molkawa. From Molkawa Junction took the left toward Kelin Kanda and reached Makeli Falls.
Continuing along the same road right up to Koddippilikanda where it meets the Matugama-Kalawana Road about 6-8km from Athweltota. Taking a right turn took us to Ahas Bokkuwa. From there we took a trail near the Ahas Bokkuwa (it’s actually a bridge) through a tea and rubber patch till we came out onto a tarred road which I suspect is the Kumburuhena Road. Turning left and going for about 100m brought us to a bridge and down that was the Ahas Bokku Falls.
Having got back along the same path to the Ahas Bokkuwa, we went further towards Athweltota. At the Athweltota Junction turned left towards Diganna. Travelling for 3-4km brought us to the Elapothu Ella. However, you have to walk about 500-600m through a tea and forest patch to reach this. Coming back on the same road to Athweltota we went further towards Morapitiya. About 1km away onto our right was the Pilituda Ella just by the road.
Going further we reached Morapitiya Junction. Took a left along Mahawalakanda Road about 1km and took another left (the 2nd concrete-paved path) for another 1km or so. From there it was a walk through a tea patch and a forest patch to the Mara Kapu Falls (about 500-600m). Retracing our path back to Morapitiya we continued towards Baduraliya and then passing Matugama, Nagoda reached Katukurunda Junction. It was all along Galle Road till Moratuwa then took a detour through Piliyandala, Boralesgamuwa to Delkanda and back to Battaramulla.”
Well I’ve never written the path like this but thought it might help you to get a feel for it. I have experience over and over again the difficulties we face when we don’t have a clear travel plan or the directions are not so clear. So hopefully this will give you an idea as to how to get around without jeopardizing your journey.
Pahiyangala Caves and the Rock
Having left our homes enveloped in the dark and most of the times of the halogen lights of the roads, we kept huddled on the bike getting chilled in the December air. I wish I was in N’Eliya cuddled on a bed with hot chocolate to keep my company. The road conditions are not so great due to reconstruction work along many of them so watch out if you plan to visit these anytime soon. However, the work seems to drag forever coz they’d been going on forever.
We reached the Pahiyangala Temple around 6.30am and it was a fine morning with lots of cloud cover and sun fighting to pierce through them to lighten the world. We climbed the steps to the cave complex. Though there were only about 100 or so steps to climb, it was still a bit hard to swallow in the morning and we were panting by the time we arrived at the mouth of the place.
It had the typical ancient look about it but when I looked around, I was aghast. There were so many writings along the rocky wall. Now don’t get excited coz they’re nothing to do with the ancient value of the place but the stupid works by the idiotic tourists (no doubt locals). What a waste! It was so frustrating to see how much they have wretched this place. Having boiled our blood in the morning wasn’t going to help our cause so I tried to keep my cool and see around for some interesting captures. Covered in a hall like complex lies a giant Buddha Statue. It was so huge and looking very serene and all my worries and uneasiness vanished into thin air. To make it better, there was this small monk clearing the dead flowers on the stand in front and I took a nice pic of him standing in front of Lord Buddha.
Afterwards, we explored the excavation done by the archaeology department and the bones dug out from there. Initially we had no idea if it was possible to climb the rock and hadn’t planned it in our itinerary but when enquired about the road we should take from there from a boy at the complex, he misunderstood our question and said it was possible to go up to the rock. We were amazed and he directed to the left corner of the cave and asked us to follow the footpath but to be careful as well. None of us had any second thoughts coz we wanted to conquer this as well. So following the path which started to go downhill at first worried us slightly, but kept going up after a while. The elevation was so steep at places we switched to 4X4 to make a smooth run up.
You gotta climb about 1km through dense forest but a clear path to the top. They’ve built an image house up with two Buddha Statues. We got a panoramic view of the Niggaha and towards Galketiya. However, the sun was still fighting with clouds for some space with no success so the atmosphere looked misty and it didn’t help for pics. Having rested our aching feet and twitchy legs for a bit we climbed down fast coz we had a lot of beauties waiting for us and it wasn’t good to keep good looking girls waiting.
When we got back to the temple, we met the chief monk of Pahiyangala Temple and he got into talks with us. It was a very good thing to happen as he gave us directions to a fall called Pani Ella which give water to the whole Bulathsinhala area and not documented. He also very kindly, having recognized our enthusiasm about the nature, gave directions to Meenu Ella in Gavaragiriya. Usually she’s a bit out of the way and not many people, according to him, know the road through Niggaha and Gamwasama to the fall.
When we told him about Lakdasun, he asked if we could do a report on Pahiyangala with pics waterfalls closer to it, I just smiled. He even offered to come with saying he could show us around when he’s free. Well, I’m gonna hold him onto that.
Pani Ella, Niggaha
Bidding our farewell to the chief monk, we headed along Pahiyangala-Niggaha road for about 2km till the road forked into two tiny ones. Take the concrete paved one on the right and follow it for about another 500m or so till you get to a kind of a 4-way junction with a steep hill straight ahead. That last bit of the road is worse than you can imagine with pits almost all over the road that are large enough to bury a good sized dog. So don’t attempt this bit by a car and even a van will have a helluva time maneuvering around.
Turning left will be the path that runs parallel to the river. You gotta cross the river about 50m from the turn and follow your nose and senses through the rocks for about 100m to see the Pani Ella. Crossing the river can be tricky when the water levels are high.
The water levels were very low and the fall was coming down in a few parts. On a healthy day, she should look gorgeous but what we saw of her was good enough. We got back to the turning and got directions for the Meenu Ella. Surprisingly enough everyone we asked for directions, including ladies, were very knowledgeable of their surroundings and gave us clear directions.
Meenu Ella, Gavaragiriya
We went straight climbing the hill along the concrete path towards Gamwasama. After 2km (we measured the distance) you get to a bit with cement brick-paved (all those bricks now laid along Colombo pavements) and as soon as you enter this there’s a gravel road to the left with a concrete electricity pole. Take this road for 1.8km till you get to a Praja Shalawa (white painted building) on the left and that’s where you stop. There’s a path right next to it and you can hear the falls from the road. Taking that path will take you to the top of the falls where there’s a mini falls and going further through the forest with rubber plants (the path is clear thanks to those rubber tappers) will take you to the bottom of the falls.
We first got to the top and she was larger than I thought. I wanted to get down to the bottom of her to see her clearly. Without wasting much time we went through the forest patch and got down to the falls. Just emerging through the trees I saw this sensational beauty and she took my breath away. Such a tall and beautiful waterfall was she. I was beaming and taking pics like a madman when Hari reminded that we have plenty more to see.
Saying good-bye to her was so difficult. In fact, she resembled “Dodam Gallena Falls aka Elle Wala” in Meddakande along Balangoda-Rassagala Road. Coz just like her, Meenu Ella too curves in the middle making a nice twist and then falls down. Only difference is Meenu Ella is about twice as high. So you can imagine what she really like if you’ve seen Elle Wala. Every meeting has a parting, so we left with a heavy heart and headed back towards Gamwasama.
Makeli Ella, Kukuleganga
We arrived back at Galketiya feeling ravenous as we’d had no food in us right throughout. Hari had difficulty in focusing so we stopped at a shop in Galketiya Junction. There were some string hoppers left but no curry to go and had to make do only with Coconut Sambol. My parched throat wouldn’t accept them without a curry to wash it down but the hunger was overpowering so simply put some sambol in the middle and rolled it and swallowed was my method.
The owner is Mr. Wanniarachchi (blue painted shop facing the Pahiyangala Road) who was very kind, hospitable and humble. He’s also very knowledgeable about the area and informed us about a place called Walau Watte which is a wetland but Hari wasn’t too keen on visiting that so I had to leave it for the time being. Mr. Wanniarachchi was so sad as we had to eat strings with no curry and offered to go to another shop and get some which we politely declined.
We had Wandu Appa, Halapa, Asmi with Bananas and Plain Tea to follow so the tummy didn’t complain much. Having pacified our grumbling tummies we headed towards Molkawa. From there took a left towards Kelin Kanda (oh yeah, in English, straight mountain). Along the way you’ll find the training school of UN Forces in Kukuleganga. Passing that for another half a click should take you to the Makeli Ella that’s on the left side with an opening for vehicle parking and notice boards too.
Apparently the urban council had made the place with steps (about 50 but very steep) leading towards the observation platform at the bottom. The platform is located in a nice place about 50m away from the falls giving a wider view and without getting soaked in the water vapor. Let me tell this, I’ve seen around 100 out of 400+ waterfalls of Sri Lanka and Makeli Falls is among the best of my collection. She’s still not good enough to beat my beloved St. Clair on a healthy day but is almost on par with the top beauties of my list.
You get a pretty straight forward view of her and she looks a bit boxy in shape with a height of 30 feet (according to Amazing Lanka the height is 10m but the notice at the falls say it’s around 21m. Very confusing but I guess it’s about 30+ feet) with a width of over 15ft. We could see the waterway that feeds the falls coming down along the channel. This is also the feeding stream for Kukuleganga Power Project. Trying to take some landscape shots were destroyed by a couple who was hovering near the base of the falls.
Having treated my eyes and body into a feast, we got back to climbing the steps. “Hey Sri, you’ve forgotten to record a short video of this beauty!” screamed my inner self. I was so shocked coz had missed both Pani Ella and Meenu Ell to add onto my video collection. What a pity! I ran down the steps and shot a small video and panting heavily climbed the steps back onto the road. There were two old grannies selling Jaggery with a kid hovering about. I felt very sorry for them and we bought some of the Jaggery too (150/- for two halves wrapped in Kenda leaves).
Kabaragoi Ella aka Ahas Bokku Ella, Athweltota
We continued passing Kukuleganga Power Plant towards Kodippili Kanda that meets the Baduraliya-Athweltota-Kalawana Road. The road is yet again very narrow and very difficult for two vehicles to pass but in somewhat better condition. We came to the main road and took a right turn towards Athweltota. This is when the hiccups were beginning to appear coz the first old uncle we asked for directions had no idea about the Kabargoi Falls but he said there’s a place called Ahas Bokkuwa a bit far away. We were wondering what he was referring to, Ahas Bokku Ella or Kabaragoi Ella?.
Also none of the people around in that area knew about the Ambathenna Bridge or the Kumburuhena Road. It was a bit difficult to locate the falls. Even the second person didn’t know about it clearly but were aware of the Ahas Bokkuwa which in fact is a bridge with 2 arches. So we decided to get to it first and look for the falls later. The road in this area is under construction and very difficult to navigate. Finally we arrived at the Ahas Bokkuwa but no sign of a fall, either side were long and flat rock surfaces with water marks on them. We both thought the falls is all dried up and almost, nearly almost, went without looking further.
What a costly miss it’d been had we foolishly left like that? However, somewhere inside me a voice was screaming to check and be sure. There was a house near the bridge and we had to go and knock on the door to check if someone’s at home. There was, a girl, and Hariya came running from nowhere to ask for the directions. Fortunately, she knew the falls and showed us a short cut. We took to the left at the end of the bridge (coming from Athweltota side) and moved passing two houses and entered into a tea patch with a cluster of houses located together. Passing more we got into a rubber patch and along took a left path till we emerged to a tarred road and turned left and walked about 100m. There was bridge and the waterfall was right below that. There’s another wooden bridge just next to this one too.
We got through the forest bit to the bottom of the falls, there’s a pipeline that runs downhill and you can easily follow it. She wasn’t in full flow but had more than enough to retain her unique beauty. It was a mesmerizing sight and she was falling in straight lines. Wish she had more water. We stayed there about 15mins and climbed back and came through the same path to Ahas Bokkuwa.
The girl who’d given us directions was now sitting outside and reading a paper waiting probably for Hari. He too didn’t forget to wave her goodbye. After that Hari was like flying and we reached Athweltota Junction in no time. We actually were confused over her name whether it’s Kabaragoi Ella or Ahas Bokku Ella. Apparently both refer to the same falls if I’m not mistaken.
Elapotha Falls, Diganna
At the junction when we enquired about the Pilituda Falls, couple of boys told us that there’s another waterfall about 3km away along Diganna Road (turn left from the junction). They unfortunately couldn’t remember the name and Hari didn’t wanna go with it coz it’s not a known one. However, I didn’t wanna back out so I pressed him and eventually he gave in.
We took the left from the junction just passing the bridge coming from Kalawana side. It leads to the village Diganna and after about 1-2km we came to another bridge onto our left crossing the river. We crossed the river and turn to the right went another 1km or so. We came to a forked junction where the road split in two. There was a man and when we asked him about the waterfall, he wasn’t quite sure about it. However he asked us to take the right path and go upstream along the river.
Hari was flabbergasted. Still he wasn’t convinced this was a good idea (This person was the only one who almost flunked a super journey by giving us the most difficult directions when an easy path was available). But I wanted to go see and we climbed down through a garden to the edge of the river. There was a boy bathing in the river and he very helpfully offered to show us the path.
We crossed to the other side of the river (mercifully the water levels were low) with a difficulty and walked through hip-high bushes without knowing what laid underneath to another opening to the river. From there we had to tackle the river and jump from one stone to the other. This brought back horror memories of our journey through Hasalaka Oya.
However, we didn’t have a lot to go on, after about 200m we got a glimpse of the falls and I was mighty relieved not to have missed her coz she was simply awesome. The water levels were low but still she’s one of the most beautiful falls I’ve seen so far. We spent about 10 mins there and Hari very wisely decided to wade choose a path through the jungle and we soon emerged into an opening with a rocky outcrop. Climbing along it brought us into a yet another garden but nobody was there.
However, we walked along the road and just about 100m away was the forked junction where we left our bike. I was so angry with the fellow for giving us wrong directions and wanted to tell him what was in my mind but he wasn’t around. I was nonetheless so happy to have come and see this majestic beauty. On our way back, I checked with one of the old uncles and he said the falls was called Elapothu Ella. I couldn’t find anything to connect this so figured this could be yet another undocumented one. If anyone knows the right name, do add it with the comments please.
Pilituda Falls, Athweltota
We came back to the Athweltota Junction and went towards Morapitiya. About 1km away onto our right was the Pilituda Ella just by the road. There’s a warning sign put up by the Urban Council for the travelers. Apparently 9 people had died trying to be heroic in there so be careful.
She was the smallest of all we’ve seen for the day and looked somewhat similar to the mysterious Gal Oruwa Ella in Lankagama. The height must be about 12ft and was falling between two rocks that stay barely 3ft of each other making it a very narrow falls. The downstream is too very narrow and looks pretty deep despite the fact that the whole river generally is very shallow all around.
I almost begged Hari to do a small documentary and he managed to mumble a few words amid my never-ending asking. She was creating so much foam all around due to the sheer pressure falling down such a narrow ravine like path. By looking at it make you feel so relaxed and the sound of water falling over power the deafening roars of buses and heavy vehicle travelling along the road just 50ft away.
I simply wanted to stay more but we both wanted to see at least one more fall before we called it a day. So we pushed on towards Morapitiya while the Sun was still fighting his losing battle with the clouds.
Mara Kapu Ella, Morapitiya
We were so hungry and thankfully stopped at Morapitiya Junction for a quick snack. There was some Ulundu Wade with Lunu Miris which disappeared as if an aspirin tablet put into water. Plain tea was the theme drink of the day. Fortunately we asked the shop owner and one of the villagers about the waterfalls and they duly directed us to the Mara Kapu Ella about 1.5-2km away from the Junction. One boy even called the house nearest to the trail head and got the confirmation if we can go right up to their house by our bike.
We took the right (coming from Baduraliya) just passing the Morapitiya Bridge, called Mahawala Kanda Road (There’s a sing board saying “Morapitiya Tea Factory 1km) and went along the road for about 600m and took a left along the concrete paved path. Remember to take the second left concrete-paved path and go right to the top of the trail head. Ask for Sunil’s House who’s working for the Timber Co-operation should you wanna get clearer directions.
Having reached near his house, we walked along the path till it split into two; the right one going uphill is the one to go. Go about 300m till you get to a house with a tea patch. Just in front of the house lies a path through the tea estate that goes down and you’ll emerge into a water tank. Go past it till you meet the last house on the path. Go around it (beware there’s a dog but he was tied) through the tea plants and take a turn to the right when you come a slope. From there after about 100ft you will enter the forest and simply follow the water tube line right up to the top of the falls.
The lady at the last house was very kind enough to show us the path and was waiting giving us directions till we reached the forest patch. Most of the villagers were worried looking when we said that we were going to the waterfall coz it was almost getting dark and nearing 6pm. We didn’t wanna miss out on this having come so close so we hurried on and reached the top of the falls in no time. There’s not a lot to walk through the forest along the water tube line to get to the top. (About 500m or so)
Crossing the water way that feeds the fall we got around and climbed down to the bottom. It was pretty much getting dark, especially inside the jungle but we managed to get a few pics and a video too. She was also lacking water than her usual self. Falling down in two straight lines along a flat rocky wall is something to cherish and add to the memories of a long day journey. Hari was hurrying all the time and we practically ran the last bit out of the jungle and reached our bikes when the Sun was hiding for the day having fought right throughout with clouds to no avail.
Well folks, that’s about it. We were knackered and my throat felt like a sand paper having exposed to dust most of the time due to never-ending construction work, but it was worth all that effort.
So I brought you the story of the Old Man and the Seven Virgins. Do hope as usual you enjoyed it. I in fact wanted to do this as a Pic Journey (You know what my pic journeys are now) without so much fairy tales in it but couldn’t help doing it.
Thanks for reading and take care…