Travel Date – 26 January 2016
A Traveling gang called “Wanagatha Kollo” in Sri Lanka did a trekking and hiking tour to Kurundu Oya Fall in January 2016. Here is their story.
This tour was planned in a long weekend. Many were planned to participate to this hike, but only some of them finally made it due to variouse reasons.
The journey started from Kandy around 7 am the gang hired a Van to accomodate 8 people gang. The group travelled to Walapane via Adhikarigama. The travellers explained the roadside view of the Randenigala Reservoir is fantastic and we couldn’t resist stopping to take photos of few places for better camera angles.
The have reached Walapane around 11:00 AM, and direction to Japanese peace pagoda, which is also the road to Kurundu Oya Ella wasn’t much hard to find. This road is better access by a 4WD vehicle. The initial bit of the road is concreted and then it is a dirt road. the group came to a junction and took the road towards right (up hill) after asking the neighboring villagers. The road to left is to the Japanese Peace Pagoda.
Next bit of driving is really tuff It was a dirt road from there most of the time and there are 45 degree angled corners. tour driver had to reversed the vehicle to get it turn uphill until the next elbow bend as it was easier than taking that turn. then they reach another junction, beyond this point it is difficult to drive the van. For future tourists it is recomend to use a four wheeled drive for this tour. The driver of the hired van refused to go further. So the group had decided to trekking toward Kurundu Oya Falls as the road conditions were bad. They took their backpacks and started hiking from the junction. However, a truck that carried construction material for mini hydro power plant construction in progress which will be fed from the water of Kurundu oya waterfall offered a ride for them. The construction site is near the waterfall and the group went from there by foot.
The truck driver also instructed the best way to visit the water fall. After walk pass few hundred meters from the construction area of the inlet valve for the water tunnel and they were instructed to used the concrete canal (which was under construction). But this gravel root was full of mud and some rain water (1~2 inches high) accumulated in the canal and the muddy water inside our shoes slowed our walk. Only one from our gang was wearing a pair of safety shoes and he survived from that problem. If you can walk on the side walls of the concrete canal, it also a good solution for that matter, but as one side is a steep cliff it doesn’t worth the risk. End of that canal was a steel gate to prevent the water coming in and we climbed on to the concrete structure to have a good look at this massive water flow. The tiny water drop mist created from the water fall seems trying to cover the waterfall.
Kurundu Oya fall was in its best shape with full of water flow as the upstream area had good bit of rain during previous few weeks. The group turned up at the bottom of the Kurundu Oaya waterfall facing the third cascade and the first one was hidden behind the Second. Then they went through the journals available on the internet about Kurundu Oya Ella and thought of climbing to the second cascade through the thick cover of vegetation. So they went back on the same path they arrived to the bottom until the place where they were dropped by the truck drive. Then they went back towards Walapane untill the small foot path along the way towards the second cascade.
The group started the walk along the foot path and came to a little fountain where they refilled water bottles and had a little break. After crossing few barriers over the path the group came to a dead end facing a thick Sub-Montane Forest. One of the friend who travelled to the Kurundu Oaya Fals before knew the direction from this potn. So they called the friend who travelled along this path confirmed that they need to travel through the vegetation. It it time for everyone to put on our long sleeve t-shirts, packed cameras and put them in the backpacks. After walking few steps inside the vegetation lead them to a small cave like path that go through the bush which they followed. Mind you this area is full of Leaches and the ground was covered with wet decaying leaves making it hard for them to walk . The rocks were sliding down as they try to stepped on them and had to keep a few feet distance to avoid rocks hitting each others heads unexpectedly. The path became more unclear towards the jungle and the group came to a point whether they should be continuing or abandon the tour and go back. Considering the time and thickness of the jungle and available light make it difficult to go further. So they turned back and rushed towards the fountain. Even then it was hard to find the way back.
As soon as they reached the fountain first thing they had to do was remove leaches sucking blood from the skin hiding inside the socks and shoes. They took further rest and had snack before starting the walking back. They were disappointed with unsuccessful trail towards the second cascade and thought of climbing the mountain over the path at least to have a good look at the first and second cascades of the waterfall. The mountain was shorter and easy climb as they saw from the previous foot path. It took a while for them to realise that eventhough t seems easy from distance its not the actual case. There are little carrot farms that hide the foot path and then was a steep climb full of loosen rocks. Finally when they reach the mountain top, they realised it was worth passing that hard climb the view from the mountain top was breath taking and they spent lot of time their zooming cameras to capture the best of natural beauty.
After captural and enjoying the beautiful Kurundu Oya Water fall they started heading back. Their expectation were to easy walk downhill the mountain. But actually the footpath they came was much harder walk downwards. The group climed to the very top of the mountain to see the Walapane from distance and they saw the van we came visible bottom of the mountain like a little dot. They realised meant if they could go down from that side the distance will be shorter. Two members of the group decide to go down on that way and everyone else had quietly accepted and strated following them downwards. This was a steep endless cliff it was even harder that the foot path we climb the mountain. Everyone’s arms and legs were bruised and all of them had to slide the steep areas from their bums as it was had to walk and their bums areas of pants were full of mud. Then there was a area full of head high thick vegetation grown naturally called “Maana” bushes where a shades of a foot path was available. Walking through these bushed make you itchy.
After taking the foot path they came back to the point where the truck driver dropped them in the morning. From their, they walked back to the Van. The grou have decided to abandon the visit to the Japanese peace pagoda as it was around 4 pm. They rushed back to Walapane town then travelled Belihuloya near Padiyapella and had some roti bread and cuppa in a little milk bar type shop. Then they jumping in to the water in a area of the belihul oya where you can have a shower. After spending about half an hour in the water started heading back to home with very satisfied faces. It was around 9pm when they arrived Kandy. Story input was taken from wayfarersnotes.wordpress.com