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|Year and Month||19 Jul, 2014|
|Number of Days||1|
|Crew||Hasitha, Dhanushka, Kasun and Me|
|Activities||Waterfall Hunting, Photography, etc…|
|Weather||Rainy and Gloomy but not much of a hassle…|
|Tips, Notes and Special remark||
|Comments||Discuss this trip report, provide feedback or make suggestions at Lakdasun Forum on the thread|
It was in July 2013 when I celebrated my first year anniversary with Lakdasun, the biggest and richest bank when it comes to the Nature of Sri Lanka. I wanted to be with the ones I adore on my first year anniversary, the beautiful girls aka waterfalls. Since then, I’ve done a lot more travelling expanding my horizon, ticking the ever so growing to-do-list, adding onto my collection of waterfalls.
So if I was gonna celebrate my 2nd Year Anniversary with anyone but waterfalls, it’d’ve been a costly mistake as it was the waterfall season and most of the waterfalls along the slopes of western side mountains were in near full flow. I carefully picked the date and the route, Hasi, Dhana and Kassa nicely fell into my trap. So we were ready to go see some more waterfalls (the second of us four, you can check our Waterfall Hunt – 5 before here) in Nawalapitiya, Thalawakele and Pundalu Oya.
It’s been a very pleasurable journey so far with Lakdasun where I’ve now clocked more than 60 trip reports contributing as much as I could to this expanding treasure. It’s also a great feeling to see our community grows bigger everyday as new people keep joining and sharing their knowledge with the rest of us. Over the last two years, the popularity of Lakdasun has multiplied all due to the contributions of its members and the founder of it, Mithila Somasiri. I hope Lakdasun will become even more fruitful and successful in the upcoming years and hopefully I’ll be a part of them too.
Having said that let me get down to business and unravel this wonderful journey. We started off as early as 3.30am and kept going at a steady pace and reached Nawalapitiya around 7.15am with the sky was heavy with black clouds and the rains were falling every now and then. However we all were prepared having learnt our lessons in the hardest ways possible. After a lousy breakfast at Nawalapitiya (usually it’s a hearty one as none of my team members gets to eat again till we reach our goal) we took one of the most scenic routes I’ve ever visited.
Nawalapitiya-Talawakele road is not in the mint condition like many others, yet it treats you with one of the best views one could imagine. The whole road is snaking around mountains while the Kadiyanlena Oya flows down making patterns to our left. The whole surrounding was green and grey due to overcast conditions. Mighty Kabaragala rose majestically among the slate grey mist; we could clearly see its shape on our way.
- Kadiyanlena Falls, Kadiyanlena.
- Katabula Falls, Katabula.
- Unknown Cascadeds, Katabula.
- Mount Vernon Falls, Pathana.
- Top of Devon Falls, Pathana.
- Pundalu Oya Falls, Pundalu Oya.
- Dunsinane and Sheen Falls, Pundalu Oya.
- St. Claire Falls, Talawakele.
- Devon Falls, Pathana.
Ok, there is gonna be a lot of debate and confusion over my naming of the waterfalls in this report. Here’s the first of them. Along the N’Pitiya-Dimbula Road there’s a waterfall to your right. This is next to a bridge (9/18) at the 9km post. You’ll hear the roar of water when she’s in full flow, just like when we saw her. Looking to your right over the bridge is the lower part of the falls and is you wanna see the main part of it, just take the road to your right passing the bridge through the tea estate about 100ft (not meters) and get down through the tea bushes.
It’s not a long walk but the rocks can be very slippery, so watch your feet. She’s a real beauty and if you’ve seen Kaltota Doovili Ella, this is her little sister I’d say. There was no record or name for this waterfalls and I took the liberty in naming her Kadiyanlena Falls. As you might’ve heard, people call Katabula Falls (that’s about 1km from here) also Kadiyanlena Falls but I felt otherwise. Now you might question my authority over naming waterfalls as and when I feel like it but there was no documented name to this beauty and I felt it was such a tragedy not to give her a name as she’s so beautiful and fits the bill of waterfalls nicely.
About 1km from the Kadiyanlena Falls, you will come across this majestic waterfalls falling from the right side of the road at the Katabula Bridge where Kandy and Nuwara Eliya regional boundary line is and then falls underneath the bridge, similar fashion to Pundalu Oya Falls that we will visit later of the day. To get a better look, you have to get down to the tea patch about 200m before the bridge so that it’s easy to take a pic with the full fall.
This was a sight to behold as she was in near full flow and we were mesmerized by what we saw. We all kinda slid along the gaps of the tea bushes covered in mud to get a better pic of this sexy lady. From the bridge you can take a great view of the upper and middle parts of her to your right. And to take a closer view of the bottom part that falls under the bridge, take the path to the stream next to the house located close by.
To our surprise there was another tiny cascade before the bridge onto our right before a single story building of sorts. It was clearly a seasonal one and had very little water compared to the mighty Katabula Falls. The triple-arched bridge (not as glamorous as the 9-arch bridge) looks great when the water flows through the extreme right arch. I’m sure when she’s in a fierce mood; all three arches must be like water holes.
Having admired her for a very long time, longer than usual I practically dragged the rest of the team away to a nearby cascade that was tiny but very tall. It was a great viewing point and we could see the Kabaragala clearly from there as the misty veil had lifted as the day grew on. There was this tiny butterfly and she made Dhana crawl like a Kabaragoya on his arms, knees and belly. (Please share the pic you have on the comments, Kassa). We kept going on towards Dimbula searching for Mt. Vernon Falls that turned out to be a mystery for many.
Mount Vernon Falls
We then headed towards Pathana (Dimbula Pathana) and about 500m before the Pathana Junction took the left concrete paved path that runs through a Kovil and line houses to reach the top of Mt. Vernon Falls that’s named after the tea estate. There’s another falls further downstream called Punakanda Falls again named after the tea estate. It was a good 500-600m walk along the path and passing the top of Mt. Vernon Falls we walked downhill along a well paved path through lush greenery. The rain kept saying hello from time to time but we were ready for it. In terms of leeches, none of us had leechphobia and not much disturbed by them either.
Just be warned as I mentioned in notes, none of the people (we talked to more than a dozen people) in this area knows about this falls or they don’t consider this a falls. So be prepared to hear the answer “no waterfall here except Devon Falls” by almost everyone. Language barrier was another problem and Dhana found the Tamil word for waterfall and kept using it to make conversation and ask for directions. So ask Dhana before you leave for the Tamil word.
She really was beautiful falls and a pity those villagers don’t give her the credit she due. You can easily see this from the road towards the Punakanda Tea Estate but for a closer view, climb downhill through tea bushes. There’s another waterfall further downstream called Punakanda but we didn’t attempt to visit her as the time was running out and we had other priorities lined up.
Top of Devon Falls
This has been a dream of mine for the last year as I made a vow to reach the top of her exactly a year before while celebrating my 1st Year Anniversary. So coincidently and quite fittingly I achieved that goal on a significant day. To reach the top, take the left turn just passing Dimbula Pathana Police Station (you can see the water stream from the road) and climbed down to the river. This is very slippery and you’ll have to ask permission from the nearby houses to walk through their gardens. If you’re coming from Hatton or Talawakelle, it’s about 500m from the Dimbula turn off to this place.
The owner of a recently built house which is bordering the stream was kind enough to let me walk through his garden which was being made and the whole area was a maze of mud. Being careful not to fall in the mud, I managed to get to the edge of the water and then get to the top. It was slippery and you have to be very cautious and watch your step. I felt ten feet tall achieving this feat and kept taking so many pics amid heavy protests from the team. It was finally time to go say hi to Pundalu Oya Falls.
Pundalu Oya Falls
We took the Thalawakele-Pundalu Oya road and no lunch for the hungry members. Hasi had taken his gastritis pill knowing he wouldn’t eat till evening after breakfast but I was kind enough to buy them a biscuit and some water to last till then. Having reached Pundalu Oya we took to the N’Eliya Road and after about 6km reached our destination, the irresistible Pundalu Oya Falls.
She was very much similar to Katabula and falls in two parts and then goes under the bridge to and falls heavily. The special thing is the Statue of a God kept at the base of the top part and a Kovil next to the falls. She was full of water and it was a treat to our eyes. However, it’s not easy to take a pic of the whole falls, unlike Katabula Ella. If you need to take one, walk passing the bridge about 100m towards an STF camp and from there you can take a side view of the falls. If lucky, you can go inside the STF camp for even better shot. Unfortunately we missed both opportunities but Hasi was lucky enough once to get inside the camp and take a pic of the full falls.
This falls is also called Dunsinanesheen Falls (I know how difficult to pronounce it) as there are two estates, Dunsinane and Sheen meets each other here. However, I prefer to call this Pundalu Oya Ella as I’ve found two tandem falling waterfalls about 2km from Pundalu Oya on the same road or 3-4km downhill from Pundalu Oya Falls. Those two were the ones I saw during my First Anniversary Celebrations.
Dunsinane & Sheen Falls
For many, these two are nothing but seasonal falls but for me they’re superb and can’t be ignored as seasonal. If we’re to ignore them as seasonal, most of the waterfalls will have to be left out coz many of them completely dry out when not enough rains come their way. As a result I’ve decided to call these two (you’ll be amazed at how tall they are, I’m betting they’re as high as Diyaluma) Dunsinane and Sheen Falls.
So no harm done to the name and it fits as the waterfalls too stay close to each other, about 50-100m between them, similar way the estates are located. I’ll however let you be the judge on this.
St. Claire Falls
Well, what can I say about her now? The ignorant authorities killed her broad daylight. Can you remember those officials promised to release enough water for a certain time of the day so as not to kill her completely? They lied between their teeth and cheated us and there’s nothing we can do now. There are these very rare occasions when the rains are very heavy and the Upper Kotmale reservoir can’t hold all that water, she gets a life but not very often. Even last year, around the same time, I was lucky enough to get a glimpse of her in full flow but the water was muddy and brownish, not the typical pristine white. (You can check the Video here)
I hope there’ll be a day that I’ll be able to see the good old St. Claire in herself. Oh god, when will it become true? However, the irony was the powers that be had put up signs warning vehicles that the St. Claire viewing platform is close by and drive carefully. They had even built a 3-story viewing area but no sign of activity yet to be seen inside them other than 2 security officers standing at the entrance menacingly. I felt like changing that sign board to “Rock Viewing Platform” rather than Waterfall. SL must have the fanciest viewing platform for a rock and a couple of tiny water streams.
I visited her last time but none of the other members had gone to the view point at the Kovil and seen her. So they wanted to go see her despite my warning of not being able to eat until after that. We reached the Dimbula turn off with an entrance to your right to a Kovil. There’s a nicely done path (about 800m) all the way from this point to the Kovil itself. On the way you can admire the beautiful Devon Falls in many different angles. But to get the best of the best, you gotta walk to the Kovil where you can enjoy an unobstructed view of the full length falls.
She looks like a tall girl in a nicely tailored white dress frock. I could see the top of the falls where I’d been only a few hours away. Dhana, Hasi and Kasun went mad at the sight of her and kept firing off many different shots at many different settings while learning much camera language from me. I was reflecting on the day’s events and felt very happy about it.
Time to enjoy some of my panoramas now.
It was an ideal time to visit those falls and celebrate one of the most important days of my calendar. It’s been a dramatic 24 months with Lakdasun and hopefully more adventures will come off in the upcoming months and years. I might be even lucky to celebrate my 3rd Year with a full flow from St. Claire (why my mind keeps saying that I don’t know). Fingers crossed.
Well folks, thanks for reading my reports and sending your feedback which have encouraged and improved me immensely. Special thanks should go to my travelling buddies, from ultra-old Tony, Atha, Sheham (hopefully he’ll do some more journeys with us soon), Ana and ultra-rotund Hari and many others, Dhana, Kassa, Hasi and many others.
I was very lucky to fulfil my dream, Lakegala this year with Dodam which was an experience to treasure the rest of my life. Hoping to bring you more Fairy Tales, Pic Journeys, Tour de Waterfalls and many others.
Take care and enjoy this wonderful creation of the Mother Nature and help save them for the future.