Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Kurundu oya falls.. sri lankas' 2nd tallest waterfall (Pilot hike)

It was around 8.30 pm on 19th may 2011 and I was busy in a dansala. I got a call from one of my seniors in the uni. telling that they are going on a hike tomorrow and I can join with them if I like.why unlike I'm always up for hiking and the only problem was that I had to be in Kandy at about 7.30 am next day and I'm still at Gampaha.
Next day I got up early in the morning and Got into a bus from Yakkala to go to Kandy & I was right on time in Kandy. There I met some my batch mates and few seniors to go on that hike in all 9 of us.We got on to a Kandy- Walapane bus from Kandy good-shed bus stand. It was around 10.30 when we arrive at Walapane  finishing a Rs. 73.00 costing bus journey. From Walapane we had to buy everything we need such as food we need because we are not going to meet any shops on our trail to buy anything again.Walapane was kind of rural but a populated area. We had our breakfast from one of the little hotels there and thankfully our charges were settled by one of our seniors dad.

The road that we had to follow to come to Walapane

 after that we had to hurry up to start our hike on our trail. As the people said its going to take around 5 hours to get to the water fall. we had to walk on Walapane Nuwara eliya road for about 500m and then we could see the long staircase to a Japanese temple or the Japanese pagoda called peace pagoda. There were around 200 stairs to climb up & it was horrible.But the scenery in front of our eyes was really beautiful.

8 of the guys in front of the entrance to the pagoda
The scenery from the stairs to the temple
at the end of the stair case there was that quiet and very neat temple. It was a wonderful place and nice scene for our eyes. We didn't forget to do some worshipping there too. after that we spoke with one of the villagers at the temple and he told us about the route.

The Dagoba at Peace pagoda
Lord Buddha statue

Nicely trimmed trees in a artistic way
Having a chat

from there onwards we had to travel on a kind of not well prepared road and some parts of the road were damaged by landslides. we knew it was dangerous but but it was a quick way to climb up so we used that land slided area to climb up. The soil there was loose and it wasn't easy to climb up.
climbing up in the landslide area
Again it was that road and we had to and we had to walk around 4kms on that road.on the way there was a shrine too. there were some rocky areas and there was a nice pattern in those rocks too. after having completed that 3kms on that road there was a village. Most of the people were Tamil but they could speak Sinhala well. In that area we saw their farms too. potatoes, cabbage and tea plantations etc.from there we had to walk around 1 km on that road.as you take one bend you get to see the very beautiful enchanting waterfall atones and it was visible that there are two parts of the waterfall.

Pattern in the rocks(cracks)

Scenery to the road
First glimpse of sight of the waterfall

There onwards we had to walk through a thick forest for about 1km or so & that part of the trail was not that easy. It was slippery with lots of slippery leaves making a slippery cover over the soil. There were few bumble bee hives on the rock too. we had to be silent and keep quiet. Anyway there was no way of  loosing the trail to the waterfall because it was regularly used trail to go to that waterfall by hikers. For this part of the hike you must have good hiking gears. That means you should be well dressed for the hike with a pair of trousers, long sleeved top, & pair of boots at least. The reason is there was a tree called Maaussa and it was really poisonous. there was a poisonous nap on that tree and when our skin impinged on that tree in began to itch really bad. It was not only itching it was really painful too. We had to suffer from that pain for days and still I'm suffering from that pain(24/05/2011).
Firstly we came to the upper part of the waterfall and It was really beautiful. As the sunlight level changed the waterfall looked more and more beautiful. Anyway the rocks around were covered with mud and moss and it was very slippery
All the guys engaged in this pilot hike in front of the waterfall
Kurundu oya ella upper part

After enjoying there for about one hour we started our hike to the lower part of the waterfall. the trail was even harder. We had to search for a safe path for climbing down.Most of the area it was deep drops which we can't climb down.the soil was very loose and very slippery as before. But anyhow we got to the lower part of the waterfall. there also the rocks were even more slippery. so we had to minimize our movements and stand still and enjoy the beauty. There were nice flowers too
Kurundu oya ella lower part
After enjoying the beauty of of the falls we started to climb up. Climbing up was not that hard & we found the proper route to the lower part of the waterfall too. There too were those poisonous Maaussa trees here & there.
On the way back we had to walk a bit quickly as we had to catch the last bus from Walapane to Kandy at  4.45pm however I was a bit tired with all the hard work for few days. Actually we were not lucky enough to catch that bus to Kandy but Luckily there was a bus to Keerthi Bandarapura at 5 pm.So we had to come by that bus and catch a Badulla- Kandy bus from Keerthi Bandarapura to come to Kandy. Without any problem we could get those Buses and ended our hike safely but with minor injuries with that poisonous Maaussa trees. We could come to Kandy at about 8.30.  
This Natures marvel Kurundu oya ella is the 2nd tallest Waterfall in Sri Lanka being 206 m (676 ft) high. But its lesser known among people.Surely that's not because any shortage of its beauty but only because of its location. Its located in a remote & outlying area in the country away from populated areas. Because of that this place is not yet polluted that much. Its Natural beauty is still preserved. So its our duty to keep this waterfall away from pollution.
 ""Please Please humans love our mother nature and Don't Harm it....................""

Monday, May 23, 2011

Piduruthalagala.. "A journey to Sri lankakas' highest place"

As a traveler I enjoy reaching extreme points & I think so do the other travelers..Actually reaching an extreme point is some kind of a goal for the travelers so I'm very happy that I could get to the highest place of my country & the peak is situated 2524m above MSL.
Piduruthalagala mountain range from Nuwara eliya
Thanks to the University Explorers Club of University of Peradeniya I got this rare chance to go there. Unlike other mountains we can't just climb up this mountain.The specialty of this mountain is it's an ultra high security zone as few very important buildings in the defense sector of the country are situated on top of the mountain.So the club had to talk with the ministry of defense & make all the arrangements & get the required permissions to go there. The scheduled date for our journey was 2600th Sambudhdhathva Jayanthi wesak poya day, that means 17-05-2011. I was excited and waiting to go on this journey.
we were informed that we have to come to the science faculty premises before 7o' clock in the morning on that day as usual for a hike with UEC & It was specially highlighted that we have to be punctual.
I got up early &  was energetic in the process of getting ready though I was late to go to the science faculty. It was around 7.30 when I came to the science faculty. Like that It was almost 9.30 & very late when we started our journey, it is a very common thing in UEC events.
Like that we got on to a hired bus at the faculty of science at about 9.30 and started our journey. Using the normal Gampola road It took only 2 hours or so to come to Nuwara eliya . Then we could easily find the Sir Jayathilake mawatha & Its Piduruthalagala end led us to a Sri Lanka army Sinha regiments check point on the foot of the mountain.from there onwards cameras or mobile phones with cameras were not allowed & security personnel collected our national ID cards also.
The Road that we followed to reach Piduruthalagala from Peradeniya

Beautiful flowers

Natural beauty and the concreted road
Unfortunately it wasn't a hike as we all love but a journey to the top of the mountain by bus.we were not allowed to get down from the bus but we had to get down from the bus because of some problems in the bus. & we enjoyed that time walking here and there in that places where we got down. It was a well built concreted road from foot to the top of the mountain but it was a really curly route.Anyway it was a real displeasing scene to see such a road in the middle of a big jungle & the pollution caused was largely evident. In this manner that road had killed the beauty of the nature for sure. Though that road was that unpleasant, there were nice charming flowers all over the place on the sides of the road. those flowers were small but very colorful. There were some areas, when we were getting closer to the top of the mountain, seeing them i remembered Horton plains. We could see the way the jungle changes with the height the jungle is in. when we were near to that check point it was a thick jungle with very big trees and it almost looked like night time with the darkness. when we are getting to the top, trees got smaller & smaller. & the reason was gutsy wind. I could see Maharathmal trees with their beautiful red flowers.
 When we got to the top of the mountain it was not the scenery that we expected at all. It was a thick concrete jungle on top of the mountain & there was a reasonable military presence there also. I was really upset seeing those things.We could speak few words with engineers who were there also. & their ideas were also same as mine. & I got to know the way the Japanese built the first building on top of the mountain Piduruthalagala for Sri Lanka Rupavahini corporation with the correct environmental engineering methods. they haven't build roads to take goods to the top of the mountain. Instead of that they have used cable cars. & they haven't used the very top of the mountain to their building as that mountain peak is something special for our country. Like that they didn't harm the environmental system of the mountain and they have taken care of the beauty of the mountain. After that Sri Lankans have made few buildings for Sri lanka Army, Navy, Airport aviation & most recently for the Sri lanka air force. It's true that those buildings are helping the country in various ways in the defense wise and in other ways. But it really has destroyed the beauty of this mountain. At-least, we couldn't do any sight seeing there  because of those badly planned buildings. It was evident that there was no real connection with the firms there too.
It was a Wesak poya day so we didn't forget to do some meritorious things also. so we conveyed a Buddha statue to the little temple at the top of the mountain from our university & presented it to a one of the engineers. With them we could go inside the Rupavahini transmission center and they taught some very valuable things about their equipment & technology too.
University explorers club crest
Unfortunately the time period that we have used to go there was not the perfect. If we went there in the months of  January to March & before 11 in the morning we could have done some good sight seeing. If the sky is clear, we would have been able to see the whole mountain range of the country. Not only that we would have been able to see the Katunayake and Ratmalana airports ,from an another side, the Kuda Ravana light house too.. when its July and August the wind is too strong so we can't just stand still on the top & its nearing low temperatures around 4,5 degrees.
There were many things to be happy about that journey. Not only that there were many things to be worried about too..There are no ways to re-correct the bad things that man had done to this natures' marvel.. Now Its our duty to stop such bad things which are to be done in the future.

 ""Please Please humans love our mother nature and Don't Harm it....................""