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|Year and Month||October 2014 (7th and 8th )|
|Number of Days||Two|
|Crew||One (Lonely Trip)|
|Accommodation||Wasantha’s Place at Pitawala (0770423717)|
|Transport||My faithful bike|
|Activities||Waterfall Hunting , Exploring the unspoiled, beautiful villages in Knuckles|
|Weather||No rain in both days (although it rained heavily in End Sep– Early Oct)|
|Route||Day 1 : Battaramulla -> Kaduwela -> Mudungoda -> Peradeniya -> Katugasthota -> Mathale -> Riveston -> Pitawala -> Pathane gama -> Poththatawala -> Puwakpitiya -> PitawalaDay 2 : Pitawala -> Rathninda -> Etanwala -> Pitawala -> Illukkumbura -> Pallegama Rd -> Bakamuna -> Dambulla -> Kaduwela -> Battaramulla|
|Tips, Notes and Special remark||
||Trip Report Cascades of Matale-Illukkumbura-Pallegama Road (I would like to Thank Niroshan For his wonderful Report.If it wasn’t there I would have never accessed Pathanegama falls)|
|Comments||Discuss this trip report, provide feedback or make suggestions at Lakdasun Forum on the thread|
Knuckles is fond of so many beautiful & isolated villages. The life of the people in it is blended with nature. Their food, tradition, occupation, Emotions, Romance etc is based on nature. That’s why I love knuckles. If I memorize the villages in knuckles; Meemure, Kaikawala, Dandeni kumbura, Glamuduna, Udagaldebokka, Pallegaldebokka, Kalugala, Rangala, Thangappuwa, Karambaketiya, kumbukgolla, Na Ula, Ranamure, Narangomuwa, Rambulkoluwa, Illukkumbura, Pitawala,Pathanegama, Rathninda, Ettanwala, Walpolamulla, Puwakpitiya, Poththatawala, Dhammanthenna, Kambarawa, Huluganga, Gomara, Bambarella are some of them. Pls. add if you remember more.
Out of those villages there is a favorite for me. It’s Ettanwala .Out of 7 visits so far to knuckles, I’ve been to Pitawala/Ettanwala for 3 times. Like Meemure for Sr, Ettanwala is becoming my own village ( MAGE GAMA) and I am not board with going again and again there. Adding to this I was able to pay a quick visit to the beautiful, isolated villages Pathanegama & Puwakpitiya. It’s worth spending few night there too in my future visits.
So I wanted to visit these beautiful villages and do the “copy cat” waterfall tour of Niroshan’s report
Two of my office mates also promised to join me and one of them was living in Rattota. So we decided to travel by bikes and to leave homes around 4.30 a.m. on 7th October. But when the trip day came it was pouring from 4.30 to 6.00 a.m. in Colombo. My friend who lived in Colombo told me he’s unable to join me because his mum was not happy with his leaving. Although rain is a miner factor to me( In fact a plus point ) when it comes to waterfall hunting ,the bad incidents happened to our friends recently, made my mind not to push the limits of him further to join my trip. So I went alone. The other funny fact was because of the absence of the other fellow my Raththota friend also refused to come. But I was not in a mode to give up and I strongly decided to do this trip and importantly as another lonely trip.
My Guide was Niroshan’s report and his creative map. My plan was to cover the waterfalls except Rathinda and Wedda Pani ella First day and do the rest next day
So soon after the rain stopped around 6.00 a.m. I left home and reached Peradeniya around 9.30 ( Had breakfast at Nelundeniya) Normally I used to visit Dalada Maligawa in my Knuckles visits but had to skip it because of time factor. So I turned left from Peradeniya and reached Mathale via Katugasthota. From Mathele I purchased all the things I need and proceeded towards the North end of Misty Mountains ( Riverston ). My First attraction was Bambarakiri Ella
Kuda Bambarakiri Ella which 100 m walk from other bank is now reduced to a tiny cascade. Also the beauty the Bambarakiri ella is adulterated due to recent earth slip. You can compare with the picture which was taken in 2012 http://trips.lakdasun.org/trip-to-riverston-pitawalapathana-and-maningala.htm
Then I re started the journey riding through steep roads. As usual surrounding view was fantastic. Although my heart tempted to visit Riverston and Pitawala pathana again my brain said “No You Must Focus on Pahtane gama falls “as that was my Goal.
I reached Pitawala village around 12.30 and directly went to wasantha’s Home. He warmly welcomed me. I kept my bags there and took a school bag of wasantha’s son and packed some biscuits, Buns and a bottle of water and started to move to Pathanegama to see the two hidden beauties. Wasantha was kind enough to prepare me some quick lunch (rice and two curries) .
But my main issue was that I couldn’t contact Ekanayaka Mama in the morning (Although he promised me to come to the paddy field atPathanegama , he wanted me to confirm my arrival before hand as he had to come from Puwakpitiya to Pathanegama using short cuts) But when I dial the phone no one was answering. I was in two minds but decided finally to give a try to reach the Paddy field at Pathangama
Directions : If you are coming from Riverston side you have to pass the Pitawala junction ( do not turn ) and go forward.( See the map). Then after passing few hundred meters from the 33rd km post you will see a clear path to left with a concrete slab ( Bokkuwa) . This junction is called Red Bana Junction .The road is very calm and beautiful but very difficult to travel with car. 4WD or bike is a must. Then after traveling about 2.2 km along the road you will find a Y junction where somewhat straight road will lead to the only house of a villager called Niamal. The left footpath will lead to the paddy field of Ekanayaka mama. Even with a 4WD you can’t travel in this road as it’s a footpath and so many obstacles are there. I came across with uneven stones, fallen trees and creepers, snakes, elephant Dung etc. Best option is walking but if you are heroic you can use a bike. You have to travel another 2km to reach the paddy field
Since I was alone and was traveling with a bike I had to stop the bike and remove the obstacles few times. But elephant Dung increased my heart rate. Although this time (October) elephants usually move to Wasgamuwa side, according to Ekanayaka mama there were few elephants roaming in the wild. After tremendous effort I reached the Hena ( Paddy field ) around 1.30 p.m. with some uncertainty in my mind . Since no body was seen In the paddy field I was bit frustrated but I remembered the familiar method of finding missing friends when we travel in wild. “The HOOT” .I made a big hoot and surprisingly the return hoot came in no time. He was a small thin fellow who was sitting and collecting some Kochchi at a far end. That’s why I initially didn’t notice him. So the Hoot saved me that time and I went towards him. Although he didn’t received the confirmation from me in the morning (I was little late to call him) he had come there by trusting my word given last night. That’s how they honor their word. He was bit surprised with my lonely visit.
The Hena/ Kumbura is an amazing place with the view of Mini world’s end of Pitawala Pathana and a Giant Mountain called Kawdagammana . It’s a perfect place to set a camp and spend a night. Meanwhile mind you about Forest Department restrictions too. But If you are with Ekanayaka Mama that won’t be a greater issue as he’s still owned this place although it’s in Buffer zone of Knuckles. There were few families when this village was owned by RED BANA Company but almost all the lands were taken to Government except Ekanayaka Mama’s Kumbura and the land of the a Villager called Nimal. But don’t know whether the conditions will change in future.
After few chat we moved towards Pathnegama falls. To reach first one you have to walk upwards and to reach second you have walk downwards from first falls. Although there were abandoned foot paths, they were not clear. So guide is much needed. If I say about Ekanayaka mama he was a perfect guide for me. Although he walked in front of me he had a fair estimation about my fitness and intentions. So many times I have warned or even scolded some guides who made me hectic by running behind them. But Ekanayaka mama was so calm. At a certain point he did some rituals by hanging some tree leaves. Most of the time we came across elephant dung and broken tree branches by them. He said “ Putha Ali nam Innawa eee” Although this made me little upset he made me laugh at times because of his constant shouting at elephants. Whenever he had to remove the tree branches across our path, he shouted “Ali haththa , Mun meka wanasanawa“. I think These Giants were very intelligent because they had put all these branches across the paths uses by man with an eye to block human entrance to their territory. I asked him “mama ithin Aliyek hamuwunoth Mokada karanne “ He replied “ Wena Monawa karannada Putha Maga erala yana eka misa. Mama Kande Bandara deviyanta barawela yana ena gaman mewa….Ai Nikamata karanaewa newei ong”. According to him they were not that notorious and he’d lived more than 40 years with them harmony. That eased my pressure.
So after nearly 45min hike we reached the Pathanegama falls 1. She was a tall isolated beauty. Only few have got the chance to see here beauty. As I knew he hadn’t got his lunch I served him with biscuits and Buns. After spending nearly half an hour there we went downwards to see the Pathanegama falls 2. It took us another 30minute or so. Pathanegama falls 2 was the best beauty in my whole trip .She is much taller and prettier than the fall 1.
After spending some time we went towards the Paddy field by another route. I would say we did a circular route for this journey. If you wish to visit only the Pathanegama falls 2 the path is bit easy. In our return journey Mama showed me the ruins of houses where few families used to live in that area. After coming to the Paddy field around 3.45 p.m.we relaxed for about 15 minutes. Around 4.00 Mama packed his Kochchi and got in to my bike and returned to the Red Bana Junction. I wanted him to join with me rest of the waterfalls. In fact he guided me to the Bambarun Gahana ella as it was in his village i.e. beautiful Puwakpitiya .
We first came to the Puwakpitiya turn off ( left path around 35km post ) then rode towards puwakpitiya. After about 5 km we met the Bridge at Wambatuhena and had a quick visit to small cascade called Wambatu Hena falls. But water levels very low. Then we visited Sera Ella. She was also not in her full flow as compared to my previous visit in 2012.
After returning from Sera Ella we came to Puwakpitiya village with a hurry. Mind you Puwakpitiya is a very isolated as well as neglected village by politicians. They were given promises about electricity but they have been betrayed so far. So Puwakpitiya still doesn’t have electricity. While enjoying the beauty of the village we hurried to Bambarun Gahana ella . You have to walk nearly 1 km and then hike upstream for nearly 300m by dealing with rocky boulders. Mind you it can be dangerous to go upstream in a rainy season
After visiting the fall we came back to the place where I parked my bike. Then settled Mama’s dues and said good bye to him by promising to come back again. It was 6.00p.m when I left the place. I had to hurry up as I had to travel nearly 20 kms km to Wasantha’s home at pitawala in dark.. It was like a dark curtain lead in front of my path and I was in alert about jumbos too. At about 36th km I helped a guy who was walking upwards towards pitawala by getting him in to my bike. I reached pitawala village by 6.40 p.m.
As usual Wasantha gave me the key of his rest house. It was more than enough for me. He told me to go and have a wash and he would bring dinner. But how can I taste the delicious meals and enjoy the nature alone. Mind you knuckles is not ideal for a lonely trip. I remembered a phrase of a great poem by an unknown author. It was about a returned solder after war.
“I Boiled the grain and make porridge
I pluck the mallows and make soup
Soup and Porridge were both ready
But there is no one to eat them with….”
So I kindly requested Wasantha and Ettanwala Ekanayaka Mama( with whom I did Duwili eli tour ) to take dinner with me and have a chit chat. They happily agreed in fact ekanayaka mama was delighted and replied “ Putha… Mata harima sathutui umbata mawa mathak unu ekata .”.
Wind was blowing. Whole environment was calm and quite .We three gathered around the table.
We were chatting about our past adventures and future tours to lesser known territories. Meanwhile I remembered the Kawi which he sang in Duwili eli trip and I requested him to sing few of them. Please note these are not poems about nature. These are poems of a teenager who was fed by this beautiful unspoiled nature. Ekanayaka mama wrote these poems to his love i.e his wife ( Nenda) When he was young “Those were true and real unlike so called “love “ in modern society . She had passed away two years ago but he’s still memorizing those beautiful days. As I am not quite sure whether it’s suitable for to post in this trip I’ll put here only one. If you are interested just p.m. me I’ll send more
Namal Suwanda Nithi Obagen Wihidewa!………………….
Obe Ruwa Mage Hise Nitharama Pipidewa!……………….
Namaya kisi dinaka Amathaka Nowewa!…………………….
Obe Sahakara(y) adara sudu Mama Wewa!………………
Interesting thing was they got married as a ran away in Moon light ( Handapana ) Their honey moon was spent in unspoiled pure jungle ( I’m talking about early 70’s ). Last two lines of another poem mentioned as this
Wadipura athi nisa watapita Naraka Lamai ……………
Oba mehi genenneth Sanda athi rayaka thamai……….
So it was a very fantastic night with all valuable conversations. He mentioned about Basnayaka too……..”Putha Wasanthai Basnayakai mata puthala wenne ( His relations) . Basnayaka koluwa hari Honda eka putha……..uuu tikak pissu natuwata okage papuwa hondai”……….after having dinner we went to sleep.
Early in the morning after having tea Wasantha and me went to see Rathninda falls and came back. After having breakfast we went towards Ettanwala village by bike. After seeing Wedda Peniella we wentto Ekanayaka Mama’s Home and spend some time while having a cup of tea.
Then we returned to Wasantha’s home again. After saying Good bye to Wasantha and his family I came home via Pallegama, Bakamuna, Dambulla,Kaduwela
Thanks for reading