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Author Topic: Ideas for a 4-day trip - Ratnapura, Balangoda, Kalthota  (Read 5123 times)
dinukamendisj
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« on: June 15, 2009, 12:52:29 PM »

Hello All,

I was on my way to Colombo on 22nd May and at a point between the 125 & 126 km posts I was lucky to see a fantastic sight. In this area, to the North of the road is a mountain range of which the name according to the map is 'Kabaragala Kanda'. On the southern rock wall of this mountain range I was able to see and count over 10 waterfalls! It was something I had never ever seen before although I had traveled up and down this road many, many times.

A person I met on the road conformed that it had rained a hell-of-a-lot that morning & afternoon. He also told me that although he was from the area, he too had not seen these 'instant' waterfalls before.

Here is a photograph taken at around 4.15 pm.



Spare a little time to view this very short video clip. Sorry for the poor picture quality.  View My Video

Thanks,

Priyanjan.

wow ...nice shot machan...anyway I need your help machan...can you plz tell me some nice places to see around Balangoda area. Bcoz I heard that there are so many nice places to explore in that area...(I'm planning to go there in the end of this month.) ...thnkx


« Last Edit: June 21, 2009, 09:19:12 PM by lakdasun » Logged
Priyanjan
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« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2009, 01:02:38 PM »

Hello Dinuka,

Balangoda..... Lets see.....Tell me,

1.     How many days.
2.     Whats the vehicle.
3.     How far from Balangoda can you travel.

Also, I might not be here for about 2 days. So, please pardon me if I am silent for two days.

Priyanjan.
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dinukamendisj
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« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2009, 08:37:56 AM »

Hello Dinuka,

Balangoda..... Lets see.....Tell me,

1.     How many days.
2.     Whats the vehicle.
3.     How far from Balangoda can you travel.

Also, I might not be here for about 2 days. So, please pardon me if I am silent for two days.

Priyanjan.

maximum 4 days... as usual i am travelling by my Yamaha xt 250 trail bike(with off road tires)   Grin Grin (so any road conditions are ok with me). we are taking a tent with us so we can go any far from the town... Smiley thankx for your assistant ..
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Priyanjan
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« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2009, 09:08:02 PM »

Hello Dinuka,

Sorry, for the delay. I hope you have still not embarked on your trip to Balangoda.

Well, this is what I think you could do. Please note that all distances I have indicated are approximate figures.

Day 1

Travel to Balangoda through Ratnapura and Raassagala.

From Ratnapura proceed along the road that leads to Siripagama and then turn right at a place called (I think Malwala) (7km). This road leads to Balangoda through Wewelwatta & Raassagala. On the way you will be able to see the Dehen Ella (just by the road), Pandioya Ella (although it is by the road, it’s difficult to see. You need to pass it and go a little further forward and look back to see the waterfall), Beruwatte Ella (Passing the Wewelwatta Tea Factory proceed until you cross a bridge over a waterway. A few hundred metres ahead you will need to park your vehicle and walk about 100m from the road to your right to reach the fall), Alupola Ella (Proceed up to the next junction and turn to your left. Proceed towards the Alupola Tea Estate to see the waterfall). In addition to these waterfalls, there is also said to be another waterfall called Bambarabotuwa Ella (which is said to be seen from the church at a place called Bambarabotuwa. But, I have not seen it). If there has been rain, you will be able to see many more waterfalls on your way to Balangoda through Rassagala. I am not sure of the exact distance from Ratnapura to Balangoda on this road. Here are some photographs.

Dehen Ella - http://www.panoramio.com/photo/9867503
Pandioya Ella - http://www.panoramio.com/photo/9867542
Beruwatte Ella - http://www.panoramio.com/photo/9867492
Alupola Ella - http://www.panoramio.com/photo/9867478

Day 2

Proceed to Bogawanthalawa and return.

As you are operating on a bike this will be a very nice route to drive/ride on. Proceed along the Badulla road and at a distance of approximately 4-5km, you will come to a junction of which I just can’t remember the name now. You won’t miss the place as there is a board with directions at this junction. Take a turn to your left and just keep riding first through the village called Pinnawala and then up hill until you reach Bogawanthalawa.  If I can remember correct, the distance to Bogawanthalawa from the junction I have mentioned is 38km. I have also read that from Pinnawala village you could visit a waterfall called Gerendi Ella. But I have never been to it and and has only seen it from far. Also, it will have water only after the rains. You will find more information in the following link.

http://www.lakdasun.com/forum/index.php?topic=580.0

Day 3

Go towards Kalthota and explore the area.

There are two routes that will take you to Kalthota. The first is to go along the Balangoda - Kalthota road from town which I don’t consider as interesting. The more interesting route is; First go along the Badulla road until you come to a place called Pambahinna (19km). From there take the road to your right. This road goes past the Sabaragamuwa University (Belihuloya) and the Samanalawewa Dam. Mind you, on this road there are two security barriers close to the dam and you will only be allowed to pass through these between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. The road surface is very good.  I can confirm this as I drove on this road day before yesterday (20th June 2009). The road passes below the dam where it crosses the Walawe Ganga. At this point remember to notice the ‘leak’ that has caused the whole project to be a failure. Anyway, after passing the dam the road passes through a forest and that is the most enjoyable part of the drive/ride. Later the road passes through a couple of villages and then falls on to the Balangoda - Kalthota road (close to the location of the 14th km post) at a place called Rajawaka. The distance from Pambahinna to Rajawaka is approximately 22km. A few metres ahead of this point, there will be a junction. But, do not turn and just keep going straight ahead. The road to your right is the one that will take you towards the Samanalawewa Power Plant (7km).

Samanalaweaw Dam - http://www.panoramio.com/photo/15232102
Samanalawewa Reservoir - http://www.panoramio.com/photo/15232106
Road through Samanalawewa - http://www.panoramio.com/photo/23691138

Somewhere around the 23rd km post there will be a turn off (to your right). This road leads to Kuragala (2km). It is a place connected to Islam with traces of an ancient Buddhist dwelling. The place is worth visiting as the sight/view from the top of the Kuragala rock is nothing short of breathtaking! These days the view is really nice especially because all the paddy fields far below are green. Yet, watch out! For the blowing is very, very strong these days.  

Path to Kuragala - http://www.panoramio.com/photo/15232085
Path to the Summit - http://www.panoramio.com/photo/15232099
Ruins at the Summit - http://www.panoramio.com/photo/15232091
View from Kuragala - http://www.panoramio.com/photo/15232109

Somewhere close to the 25th km post is once again a gravel road to your right which will take you to an archaeological site called Galtamyaya (500m). Nothing much to see there unless you are very interested in archaeology.

Ruins at Galtamyaya - http://www.panoramio.com/photo/15232069

Proceed ahead along the road to Kalthota and you will come to a point where there will be a turn off to your left which will take you to the Doovili Ella (2km). Remember, to pass through the gate you will have to purchase a Rs.10/- ticket plus a Rs.30/- ticket for the vehicle. Your bike will manage this road with ease. Also, remember to walk down the 300 plus steps that will take you closer to the waterfall.

Doovili Ella - http://www.panoramio.com/photo/15232078

Proceed up to Kalthota Junction. From there, I would suggest that you keep going in the direction of Welioya / Hambegamuwa until you come to the Kalthota Sapaththu Paalama (1km). You will certainly enjoy the drive/ride up to it.

Road towards Welioya - http://www.panoramio.com/photo/23691141
Kalthota Sapaththu Paalama - http://www.panoramio.com/photo/15232076

Then you can turn back and head towards Kalthota Junction and from Kalthota, take the road that goes past the Police Station and the Hospital. In fact the road is actually the bund of an irrigation canal. When you go some distance along this road you will come to a place called Budugala where you will find a temple. Just before the temple, on the hill on to your right are some interesting ruins of (according to the people in the area is) a palace. I found the place very interesting.

Further along the road you will see on your right a waterfall called the Diyavini Oya Ella. Some call it as the Diya-Inna Ella. In fact there are two waterfalls close to each other. What you must remember is that this waterfall will look nice only during the rainy season when there is sufficient water. If you continue to go along this road you will go past the Samanalawewa Power Plant and its huge tube that brings water from the Samanalawewa Reservoir. Passing the power plant, there is a road that turns right which will take you to Rajawaka (7km). At Rajawaka take a left turn and go along the Balangoda - Kalthota road until you reach Balangoda (14km). Even if you don’t take the road through Rajawaka you still can return to Balangoda by going straight up to Weligepola and then by following the Pallebedda - Balangoda road.  

Diyavini Oya Ella - http://www.panoramio.com/photo/15232065
The tube that brings the water - http://www.panoramio.com/photo/15232114
Road from Rajawaka to the Power Plant - http://www.panoramio.com/photo/15232052
View from the Rajawaka – Power Plant road - http://www.panoramio.com/photo/15232107

Day 4

Return to Colombo.

I am sure that there are lots of other places to visit in Balangoda. But, this is what I know of. There are lots of nice places to camp especially in the Kalthota area. It’s not too difficult to find a place close to the Walawe Ganga. The people in the area are good and they will help you to locate a place. I hope this will help you. I suggest that you read the 3rd post in http://www.lakdasun.com/forum/index.php?topic=196.0  and the 6th post in http://www.lakdasun.com/forum/index.php?topic=473.msg1974#msg1974 . You will find more information. Please feel free to ask for any clarification.

All the Best. Enjoy your holiday.

Priyanjan.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2009, 09:13:40 PM by Priyanjan » Logged
dinukamendisj
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« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2009, 08:13:31 PM »

priyanjan aiyaa thank you sooooo much..this is really helpful. Anyway we will go there on 4,5, and 6th of July ... wow.. this is a really nice plan for our trip....thankx again...

Anyway is there anyone who likes to join with us plz contact me because I really like to get to know the friends who have the same interests like me... Smiley ..

priyanjan aiyaaa u r great thankx again...
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Priyanjan
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« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2009, 09:24:35 PM »

Hello Dinuka,

Glad you like the plan.

If you don't mind, tell me; Where are you planing to spend the nights? I am under the impression that you will be spending every night at Balangoda. But, if its possible, it would be advantageous to spend the 1st night at Balangoda and the 2nd night (after getting back from Bogawanthalawa) in Belihuloya. The 3rd night could also be either Balangoda or Belihuloya. (You can return back to Belihuloya through Samanalawewa.)

Also, if you have only three days it would be better to drop the ride up to Bogawanthalawa (plan for day 2).

If you are planing to camp in the Kalthota area, the best would be to find a spot close to the Kalthota Sapaththu Paalama. I went past that place on the 20th and there was sufficient water (thanks to the leak in the Samanalawewe Dam). Do not plan to go to the other place (Neluyaya - Welioya) which I have mentione in http://www.lakdasun.com/forum/index.php?topic=196.0 as the water level is very low and there is almost no flow (thanks to the weir constructed across the Weli Oya inorder to divert water to the Hambegamuwa area). 

Anyway, I might go that way in a few days time and if I do I will be able to get you up-dated information.

All the Best. Enjoy your holiday.

Priyanjan.
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dinukamendisj
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« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2009, 12:46:23 AM »

Thankx priyanjan aiya for the valuable info. anyway now we have a little problem that is our tent.the tent is bit bigger than we excepted so it will not be possible to take the tent with us. (because we r traveling by bikes). hmm so we r planning to go there and try to find some place. Thankx again
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Priyanjan
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« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2009, 01:40:34 AM »

Hello Dinuka,

Well then,

I have no idea of any places that provide accommodation in Balangoda.

In Belihuloya, there are quite a number of places by the main road but, I have no idea as to how much they would charge.

In Kalthota there is a holiday home that belongs to the Irrigation Dept. Never have I stayed there but, it's location is quite nice. I have no idea of the facilities it provides. Bookings are done through their Head Office in Ratmalana. I plan to go that way in a couple of days. I will try to see the place and give you details on the facilities available.

Lets wait and see...

Best Regards,

Priyanjan.
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Chamara
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« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2009, 12:19:38 PM »

Hi Priyanjan,

Balangoda area has many fascinating places to visit as Priyanjan stated.

I'm planning to visit udawalawe park in July 2009, so thanks to your report, I can take the route via balangoda-Kaltota-Hambegamuwa road to Udawalawe. And also planning to see the water falls you have listed here.  Grin

Regards

Chamara
« Last Edit: June 27, 2009, 12:26:25 PM by Chamara Ratnaweera » Logged
Chamara
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« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2010, 12:05:13 PM »

Hi Priyanjan and All,

I couldn't make this trip to Udawalawe via the route via balangoda-Kaltota-Hambegamuwa road to Udawalawe as expected  Cry, however planning again next week  Roll Eyes.
Purhaps I would take the route from Udawalwe to Colombo via Hambegamuwa-Kaltota-Balangoda-Rassagala-Ratnapura-Colombo on my return trip.

How long (approx hrs) will it take from;

1. Udawalawe to Balangoda via Hambegamuwa, Kalthota (planning to visit Duvili Ella, Diyavini Ella, etc)
2. Balangoda to Ratnapura via Rassagala? (if you assume I visit to see few water falls by the road)

I hope these 2 scenic routes can be covered in a day (assuming I leave Udawalawe at 9am)
Vehicle is a 4x4 vehicle.

Thanks in Advance!
Chamara
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Priyanjan
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« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2010, 06:37:23 PM »

Hello Chamara,

That's a very difficult question to answer. I have never timed the journeys through these areas. Also, whenever we had gone we have had many stops on the way.

Very sorry that I am unable to give you a specific answer.

Hope you enjoy your drive through these areas.

Best Regards,

Priyanjan.

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mithila
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« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2010, 08:18:10 AM »


How long (approx hrs) will it take from;

1. Udawalawe to Balangoda via Hambegamuwa, Kalthota (planning to visit Duvili Ella, Diyavini Ella, etc)
2. Balangoda to Ratnapura via Rassagala? (if you assume I visit to see few water falls by the road)

I hope these 2 scenic routes can be covered in a day (assuming I leave Udawalawe at 9am)


While it is possible to drive from Udawalawe to Ratnapura in a day along this route, to experience the beauty and enjoy the scenary and attractions you need to spend two days. So do one of the stretches in this trip and explore the other in another day.
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Chamara
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« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2010, 10:58:34 PM »

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.  Wink
I want to arrive in Udawalawe park at least by 4pm for a round of safari.

I'll update you about the journey...

Regards
Chamara

=============================================================================
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.  Wink
- 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.   Grin
- 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.  Smiley
- 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.  Roll Eyes
- 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.


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* DSC08787.JPG (874.5 KB, 1555x1166 - viewed 77 times.)

* DSC08834.JPG (63.36 KB, 1229x922 - viewed 57 times.)
« Last Edit: August 24, 2010, 11:33:15 AM by Chamara » Logged
viraj
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« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2010, 09:51:32 PM »

Hi Priyanjan,

Very big thanks for the superb trip-plan for Balangoda area.  Smiley
What is your proposal for the follows:
Vehicle : a small van with an average ground clearance ( suppose a vanete )
Start : From Wellawaya at 8.00am
End : 9.00 pm @ Colombo
Crew : 8 ( 4 to 60 years)
Interests : Waterfalls ( Diyaluma, Duli ella & more with minimum effort ), Archeological sites, natural bathing etc

Just a flow diagram is sufficient.  Wink

regards,
viraj
 

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