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|Year and Month||15-16 Nov, 2014|
|Number of Days||2|
|Crew||Ana, Atha, Prasa, Tony and Me|
|Activities||Waterfall Hunting, Photography, Hiking, etc…|
|Weather||Excellent up to about 3pm, gloomy and rainy afterwards|
Bambarakanda->Koslanda->Diyaluma Falls->Kalupahana->Belihul Oya->Avissawella->Colombo.
|Tips, Notes and Special remark||
|Comments||Discuss this trip report, provide feedback or make suggestions at Lakdasun Forum on the thread|
Waterfalls are like a virus in my blood, simply incurable. I keep yearning to go see them whenever possible and sometimes try to make time available despite having loads of other work to do. It doesn’t really matter if I’d seen them before. I’d always try to grab even a slight opportunity to go be with them even for a few seconds.
I hope you guys have enjoyed all my Tour de Waterfalls so far and I’m gonna bring you yet another one. I’m trying to do all I can to match or even surpass the 21 Stages of Tour de France with my Tour de Waterfalls and find I’m only 10 more short. The most recent addition to my old gang, Ana is a very keen traveler who’s very much like a walking encyclopedia with plenty of insights. We’ve done some remarkable journeys since our Rail Hike in earlier this year. Most recent being the marathon hiking in Horton Plains doing three major trails in three consecutive days.
So when I came up with the idea of visiting in and around Bambarakanda as the water levels were better than most of the time, Ana jumped in with both hands. Atha and Prasa the usual tough cookies that join me in many journeys too decided to have a go while my old uncle, Tony decided to break the ice saying that he’d skipped too many trips and now getting too jittery and old for these kinda games. After doing the initial planning and booking the Bambarakanda Rest and arranging Ranjith to be there to guide us through we set the dates and waited impatiently for the set date.
Just to let you know folks that I did a comprehensive Tour of Bambarakanda last year with Ranjith. It was all about walking, hiking and climbing up and down for three consecutive days that tested my poor legs to almost their breaking point. From that experience, I knew he was a very good guide who you can trust on a journey like that which is, for me, the most important thing. You can read about that by clicking on the link above.
Having got together at our usual time, 3 am in Koswaththa we left for Bambarakanda while most of the rest of the country was dreaming and snoring. It was good to have the old uncle with us who provided the free entertainment along with Prasa all along the journey. We reached Bambarakanda Rest around 6.45am while the sun was lighting the surrounding mountains with his golden brown rays. There was a slight chill in the air and breathing this fresh mountain air is the best medicine for cold and sore throat which I was suffering for a long time.
I immediately felt better and at the sight of Bambarakanda Falls, the tallest girl in SL, made my day. She had more water, at least more than my last visit, and was looking radiant in the morning. We parked the vehicle and went inside for a warm welcome by Mrs. Mayakaduwa and her daughter Erandi who served us with tea and coffee. We were staying in one of the two cottages there. The walls were built using mud and had the look of a typical rural house. It can easily accommodate 8-16 people and has 4 rooms and a large living area and a verandah as well. Two washrooms are located at the back and with hot water.
We unpacked and got everything ready while they prepared our breakfast, Rotti with a Dhal Curry and Lunu Miris. Some cowpea was also served with freshly scraped coconut and we had a bellyful breakfast and were ready to go. It was so good to see Ranjith again and together we left for our hike that turned out to be tougher than we anticipated.
- Bambarakanda Falls.
- Lanka Ella.
- Yahalathenna Ella.
- Bambarakanda Upper Falls.
- Diyaluma aka Jalaja Pahana aka Vismitha Falls of Sri Lanka.
- Galkanda aka Nisansala Falls.
- Surathali Falls.
- Brampton Falls.
- Ellepola Falls.
- Collection of Panos.
There’s a new development at Bambarakanda Falls now as the Pradeshiya Sabha has built a path, viewing platform and a couple of toilets. They now have a ticket counter that charges Rs. 30/- from local adults and Rs. 20/- for kids.
We bought the tickets and started walking along the now well cleared footpath. The closer we got to her, the taller she looked. The Pradehsiya Sabha seems to be doing a decent job of keeping the place nice and tidy even though our careless visitors had left many liquor bottles, beer cans and all the other junk. They were cleaning the toilets when we went past them. The path now has cement steps and a hand railing almost to the base of the falls.
At the base, they’ve built a viewing platform with plenty of space and even left a few cement benches for visitors to sit and enjoy the view. However despite their notice asking not to scribble on the surrounding, we saw many idiotic people have written on the tree trunks. Ana beat us all including Ranjith to the base and was merrily shooting away when we came up panting.
The sheer height of this beautiful lady is enough to make you feel like a dwarf, very tiny one at that. You’re bound to get a sore neck if you try to look at her from the top for a long time. The sky overhead was royal blue with a nice checked pattern in the sky with white cotton wool. The water drops kept splashing on our bare skin sending a chill down our spines. After a while, we left for Lanka Ella.
The climbing up along the pine forest was full of needles and loose rocks which made walking very dangerous. Most of the times I wished we were like those mountain goats who can climb with no problem along any steep or slippery surface. Nevertheless, Ana kept going well ahead of us and we managed to cross the pine forest and enter the Mana patch that kept brushing at our bare skin and made it itchy.
We could see the Wangedigala, Bala Thuduwa and Gon Molliya Range clearly to our left. Looking at Wangedigala brought back the memories of climbing down through the dense forest infested with many poisonous snakes and spiders all the way to the Seven Basins in my previous visit. It brought a smile to Ranjith’s face as well. The sky was very clear and had a few stray clouds scattered about. The mist hung stubbornly at the Gon Molliya summit and to our right.
We were walking along a valley and beyond the mountains in the distance lies the gorgeous Horton Plains, a place very close to my heart. The water stream that feeds Lanka Ella and then goes further downhill created another tiny falls. I can remember Hariya getting down to this in his solo visit but the water levels were not so great making me change my mind about getting down. The sun beat on us mercilessly in the open terrain. We walked towards Lanka Ella named by Mrs. Mayakaduwa’s husband who’s passed away some 18 years before.
The base pool of this falls is very much like Sri Lanka map thus making him name Lanka Ella. She had more water than my previous visit and we enjoyed some chocolate at this point while being splashed by this mischievous girl. The virgin water tasted ever so good and we took our leave after a bit hoping to get to the top of her on our way towards Yahalathenna Falls. We retraced our steps back uphill and then took a left and in no time reached the top of the Lanka Ella. There’s a whole pine tree kept across the water stream as a bridge but you need a bit of summersault skills too to cross this along that.
We got to the top and enjoyed some quiet moments. It felt heavenly to be in the midst of never ending greenery all around and a royal blue umbrella overhead. Time was getting shorter so we very reluctantly decided to go search for Yahalathenna Ella that’s located somewhat deep in the jungle.
She’s a hidden beauty and one needs to follow the path that runs across the water stream of Lanka Ella. After about half a km or so, you’ll enter the tea plantation and going another 200-300m along this, you have to get down to the stream and then follow it uphill for another 300-400m till you find the breath-taking Yahalathenna Falls.
Climbing down towards the stream was not so easy as the slope was way too steep and we had to be very cautious. Entering the jungle and going through that wasn’t easy. We were bothered by a few leeches on the way but not very much. The journey turned out to be tougher than we anticipated even though I had done it before. However, there was no stopping of Ana and the Co. who kept up their pace with Ranjith.
Prasa, as usual decided to walk sandwiched by the rest of the team not because he was scared but he loved the company of others. After a laborious task, we finally arrived at the beautiful Yahalathenna Falls who had more water. She was taller than Lanka Ella and we felt all the hard work was worth to be here. We waited about 20 mins admiring this beauty and decided to get back as the climbing uphill was going to be more challenging as the time was getting to noon.
Bambarakanda Upper Falls
We climbed up about a km and reached the main road which is still in worse condition. They’d done the road some way beyond the Bambarakanda Rest but not for long. Climbing up took a heavy tall on the team and we stopped every now and then for a breather. After what felt like an eternity, we arrived on the road and sat down on the rocky ledge to give a rest for our battered muscles and bones.
The clouds gathered over the mountains bordering the Horton Plains and we knew the rain was imminent. Ana put on his raincoat while we sought the shelter under the umbrellas but after a mild drizzle it wore off and we felt better. The most tiring and challenging bit was yet to come as we took the downhill path through the pine forest towards the top of Bambarakanda Falls.
With a difficulty we arrived on the top to see the Bambarakanda Upper Falls. Just note that there’s yet another upper part of the Bambarakanda Upper Falls that you can see coming down from the road. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to get there, and we didn’t even try as it looked more dangerous. The Upper Falls is also about 30ft in height and has more water. Looking at the surrounding from the top of Bambarakanda is something you must experience.
To our horror, there were charcoal-grey clouds forming and coming towards us from Beragala-Koslanda side. The wind picked up bringing some water drops making us hurry with our picture taking and running to grab the umbrellas. This time it was for real and no stopping after a drizzle. We hurried up the path back trying to join the downhill path when all hell broke loose bringing heavy rains and winds. It was very hard to keep the umbrellas upright but the pine trees slowed down the rain somewhat making it not so difficult.
The pine needles got wet in the rain and we found it a little easier to walk on them but the loose rocks were an extreme hazard. You had to remain in constant alert and we kept walking looking at the ground like meditating monks to avoid any slip. The umbrellas provided very little comfort and we kept getting soaked in the ice cold water and Tony simply gave up and came in the heavy rains.
When we reached the ticket counter, the rain had eased and we saw the water coming from the top of Bambarakanda had turned into brown due to the mud washed down with the rain. It was past 3.30pm when we got back, being on the constant run for a good 8+ hours. We all were born tired and after a cold bath, went and had our lunch.
The evening wore off amid all the pleasantries and we settled down for the night after a hearty dinner in the comfort of our beds. It was very cold, about 15-16 degrees and we were thankful for those cozy and thick blankets.
We as usual were up and about by 5.30am and hurriedly did the morning chores. By 6am, we had changed into our hiking attire, deposited our baggage into the vehicle and were sitting down ready for the breakfast of Tempered Dried Fish, Coconut Sambol and Dharl Curry with Steaming Rice. Simultaneously we had our tea as well coz we wanted to leave as early as possible. From the dining room, we could see the never ending beauty of Bambarakanda Falls.
The mountains were under the shadow of other mountains but gradually the sun came up lighting the Gon Molliya, Bala Thuduwa and then top of Bambarakanda. It was a sight worth seeing million times and it will still not be enough to satisfy us. After the meal, having thanked Mrs. Mayakaduwa profusely for her great hospitality we left for Diyaluma Falls.
We reached Kalupahana and went up towards Beragala where we took the Wellawaya Road passing Koslanda to visit the 3rd highest waterfall in SL, or the 361st in the whole world (according to Wikipedia), the mighty Diyaluma. According to the notice board at the falls, she’s also called Jalaja Pahana and Wishmitha Falls of SL. This was something very new for us. However, the notice board mistakenly rates this being the 62nd highest in the world. Wonder how on earth they came about that or who’s correct. Further, the Wikipedia states Diyaluma is the second highest falls in SL which is not correct as it’s the Kurundu Oya Ella. So the facts are varied and hard to pinpoint on one thing.
Passing Koslanda brought back the memories of the Meeriyabadda Landslides which stole around 3 dozens innocent human lives. Driving along the A4 looking at the Walawe Basin to our right was a magnificent view. We could see miles into the horizon bathed in the morning sunshine. All along the road there were signs of landslides and it must’ve been a very scary experience travelling along this road during that heavy rainy season.
We arrived at Diyaluma Falls around 7.30am and wow, what a sight she really was. Even though I’d seen see before, sometime in 2011, this was a completely different Diyaluma I saw. The foliage either side of her is now no more and below there’s a new bridge built. The menacing looking rocky boulder is spitting this gigantic water stream straight downwards falling nearly 700ft to the base crashing on the rocks all around.
Even Diyaluma has some sad stories behind her and one of the shop owners close by told us that he saw the tragic accident of one boy falling down while attempting to climb down her setting a new record time. Nevertheless, the beauty of this tall lady with long legs never ceases to amaze the passers-by. After having for ourselves nearly half hour and drinking a king coconut, we decided to go looking for the sexy Galkanda aka Nisansala Falls at Nikapotha.
Galkanda aka Nisansala Falls
She’s located about 17.5km from Diyaluma and 5.5km from Beragala Junction. She’s a miniature version of Ramboda Oya Falls that has three parts. Similarly she too has 3 parts and from the road you can clearly see the Center Falls and the top of the Upper Falls as well. However, there’s a path with steps to go see the Upper Falls. The path with steps in fact leads to a nearby village. On the right hand side, the water falls under the bridge and makes a beautiful and taller Lower Falls.
This is a very beautiful one but my attempts at getting down to the base of the lower part failed. It’d’ve been lovely had I been able to get down and see the lower part from the bottom. Leaving her, we stopped to take a few pics of the basin below us and the mountains in the distance at Kalupahana.
Surathali Ella, Brampton Ella & Ellepola Ella
We got back on the main road and headed back towards Kalupahana. Just a small tip, you can also visit the remains of the Old Portuguese Fort at Haldummulla. There’s an archaeology department notice at the Old Haldummulla Town and you have to take the footpath that leads to the remains in the middle of a pine forest.
Arriving at the 168/3 bridge where the playful Surathali Ella around 9.00am brought us to a halt. We got off and went on the clear footpath for about 50m at the base of this beautiful girl. She too has a similarity of Saree Ella, with a long and thin stream coming along the rock at an angle before taking a turn and falling to the base.
After her, we went to see another beautiful girl about 3km towards Belihul Oya called Brampton Falls. She’s at the 165/10 bridge and now can be seen from the main road as the foliage around her is now cleared probably by the Brampton Estate itself. Water levels were good and we got close to her and took half a dozen pictures without taking a breath. The intensity of the previous day’s hike was affecting the whole team but we carried on till we reached the Ellepola where Ellepola Falls is located. Others were too tired to get down to take a few pictures of her so I went all alone and took some of her. The water levels were good, very much similar to what we saw last time with Hasi and Tony Mama.
Afterwards, some hungry travelers stopped at Rathnagiri Bakers at Opanayake for lunch. The place is very good and the food is also tasty and worth the price you pay.
Well, there you go folks, another Tour de Waterfall of mine and I do hope you enjoyed this episode as well like you did the rest.
It was a very pleasing experience being with these beautiful girls and I really enjoyed getting it across to you.
Keep travelling and I hope we’d’ve had a nice time at the Lakdasun Gathering by the time you read this.
Take care and enjoy the breath-taking Panos below.
Collection of Panos