Thanks Priyanjan and Mithila for your input on this.
I'm planning to start early morning from Colombo and to take Ratnapura-Rassagala-Balangoda-Udawalawe route. Depending on the time available, can decide whether to visit Duvili Ella, Diyavini Ella, etc. At least the covering the scenic route is an achievement.
I want to arrive in Udawalawe park at least by 4pm for a round of safari.
I'll update you about the journey...
As promised, this is the update from the journey...
- We started the journey to Uda Walawe via Balangoda from Colombo at about 5.30AM on 20th August, 2010.
- There was a continuous light rain from Avissawella onwards up to Balangoda. At Ratnapura, due to the weather condition we decided not to go through Alupola, Rassagala road to Balangoda, assuming the weather condition is not good to visit the water falls along that route.
- We continued on A4 route further and arrived in Balangoda by 9AM.
- A very light rain continued when we were passing the Sabaragamuwa University and Samanala Wewa dam area.
- We drove to Kuragala and climbed the rock. As it was cloudy day, climbing wasn't that hard even at 10AM.
- The road condition is good throughout up to Kaltota (and up to DiyaInna too).
- Visited the breathtaking Duvili Falls and spent some time there. I would say Duvili Ella is a magnificent water fall in Sri Lanka. The rock cliff of the fall is unique, flat and vertical. A must see by tourists.
- We were told the water fall is at its' lowest water levels as this is August, the dry season, but it wasn't that low as I saw.
- It was 2pm when we left Duvili Ella and drove to Kaltota, turned to right and drove to Diyainna along the bund of an irrigation canal. Surprisingly there wasn't a single hotel selling lunch after Kaltota junction, so we survived with some snaks.
- Diyawini Ella did not have sufficient water to impress us.
- It was then 3.30-4.00PM when we decided to turn back to go to Uda Walawe.
- If we go back to Kaltota and Welioya, it is a long distance to Hambegamuwa, so we asked a villager and found a 'short cut' to join the Hambegamuwa road from DiyaInna.
- We were lucky and told to take the road called "Damvel Odaya Road". The junction to this Damvel Odaya road is before 3-4kms before you see Diyavini Ella on the bund road. There is a sign board of a temple (sorry forgot to take a picture of this sign) at the junction and it says "..... Temple, Damvel Odaya".
- It is a gravel road in decent condition even 3 wheelers travel. At a course way (Sapattu Palama) the road crosses Walawe riiver. (See picture).
- There is a school called Laginagala Viduhala (School) before you meet the main road of Kaltota-Hambegamuwa and it is close to Dahaiyagala police post as I remember.
- The condition of the route upto Thanamalwila-Udawalawe road via Hambegamuwa is not good; bumby and a lot of holes, and this was the same back in 1990's as I remember.
- We passed Hambegamuwa and it was 5PM when we arrived at Uda walawe NP gate. 5PM is 1 hour late from my estimated time of arrival. As Priyanjan told it is very difficult to give an accurate time for a journey... and trips like this proves the statement.
- We found we have missed a new road from Hambegamuwa to Udawalawe Park border on Thanamalwila road. I couldn't figure out how we missed the junction to turn at Hambegamuwa.
- Just after we entered the UW park, it started pouring in, and the rain was heavy overnight. The rain gave new life to dried up trees, surroundings and the animals inside the park. We saw the initial part of the park has burnt down (donno why or how). The rain continued till 9AM on 21st Saturday which caused us to cancel the pre-planned early morning safari.
- We stayed at Gonawiddagala Bungalow of Udawalawe NP.
- Few pictures attached. Last photo is Kuragala and DiyaInna mountain range as seen from Gonawiddagala Bungalow of Udawalawe NP on 21st Aug 2010 morning after the rain is seized.