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|Year and Month||June, 2012|
|Number of Days||One Day|
|Crew||Four: (Guide – Waragama Punchi Bada)|
|Activities||Hiking, Archeology, trekking|
|Weather||sunny & overcast conditions|
|Route||Moneragala -> Siyambalanduwa -> Buddama -> Waragama-> Miriswaththe -> Gal oya park (around Wadinagala) -> returned back on the same route|
|Tips, Notes and Special remark||
|Comments||Discuss this trip report, provide feedback or make suggestions at Lakdasun Forum on the thread|
Let me start by giving a small introduction of the relevant area which I travelled on this journey. Wadinagala which is 2400ft in height was our main target and it has been on my mind for few months, it is located within the Gal Oya national park bordering Jayanthi wewa and the area is over populated by wild elephants. This peak is known to be one of the mountains which lord Budhdha considered before choosing Sri Pada. Unfortunately our guide discouraged us saying it’s difficult to climb in one day and get down without getting caught to elephants. So we had to agree with him considering all the facts. Though we were disappointed he gave us another option “yamu mahaththaya maru Gal geyak tiyenawa balanna”. So we agreed with him and went on a journey which we never expected to go on that particular day.
We left at around 9.30am from Waragama and entered the gal oya forest reserve along a foot path, throughout the whole journey we were shaded by huge trees and we didn’t feel the heat a bit even. After travelling about 2-3Km we came to site with ruins which is somewhere close to the base of Wadinagala peak. There was a nice “korawak gala” “some remnants of a guard stone and few more ruins which were dugged up by treasure hunters. As told by our guide the area was called “Garulugoda” ruins. After travelling 500meters further along the base of the mountain we came across more ruins and the last set of ruins were encountered near a water stream which had crystal clear water despite been the dry season in this region. After refilling ourselves from this icy cool stream we proceeded forward along a path which was made by elephants.
The main reason why one cannot go without an experience guide is that there are thousands of foot path including elephant paths which will confuse any person. Fortunately our guide was the best in the business, he usually travels in the forest frequently and he has eyes of a hawk and ears of a bat. He does not stick to any particular fixed path; he has a look around and decides which direction to proceed. After travelling through an area with heavy elephant activity we came across few massive streams which were dried out completely, I’m sure when it’s raining in this region the whole area must be difficult to travel. We were bit tired after about 5Kms, so our crew had few biscuits and beetle before we proceeded further.
The forest was very rich in huge valuable trees like “Kaluwara” and etc, there were creepers forming different patterns everywhere giving evidence of the virginity of this forest. It was bit sad to note that at few places there were 2 or 3 trees chain sawed successfully 🙁
After about 2 more kilometers of walking it was time to climb the rocky hill a bit in search of the cave. There were steps covered by leaves which led us to a huge cave. This cave can easily shelter around 300 people and it had names engraved by all the visitors who had come here over the years, some were dated as 1980. There were two “Katarama’s” which protected along inscription which seemed to be written in “Brahmin” there was evidence that in the past there was a brick wall covering 3 sides of the cave. We also noted that someone has dug a hole in search of a treasure and as our guide said they have found a clay pot with ash and nothing else. Still there is ash around and few parts of the clay pot visible. We also found some cooking equipment hidden by the treasure hunters between nearby rocks. We were told that this cave is called “Ganegama Galge”.
After resting a bit we proceeded further up in search of more ruins. We arrived at a plane which said to have few ruins and guess what there was a 15feet deep newly dug up pit. Please see the images to note the destruction. At this point we came across a beautiful guard stone with a “Pun kalasa” which was thrown on a side like other ruins. From this point we could easily visualize Jayanthi(Palla Oya) lake and the bunt which was a wonderful sight to our eyes. We proceeded few hundred meters and came to another area with plenty of stone pillars, Few Moon stones and a Korawakgala(at “Tam gal anda”??). There was a natural bathing spot which was said to be made for a queen; at this point we noted a circular base rock which was used as a platform as our guide described.
We next decided to get to the lake and refill our water sources and have a bath. So we started to walk again towards the lake. On the way after about 2Km’s we arrived at another stagnant water source where we had to have a drink since our bottles were empty. Form here we continued until we came across few people who started to run for their lives after seen us, however by destiny they met us again within the forest and this time only few could run away. Others noted the two villages and stopped. They were illegally fishing in the lake and they thought that we were wild life officers. They had some nice fresh water fish hanging in there hands. After giving us an innocent smile they vanished in to the forest. On the way we came across a dried out river where we noted many foot prints of elephants and deer. From here we proceeded further along a clear cut foot path where we came across few skeleton parts of and dead elephant which gave us the feeling that we were in pure wilderness. Finally we reached the lake where we found a safe place to bathe and enjoy the view and the breeze. This part was the most fun part of the day specially the breeze made things much more special. We noted it was thundering and raining towards Buddama so we decided to start our return journey.