September 14, 2012

Hike to Uthuwankanda and Bathalegala- part 1

After the off-season journey to Sri Pada this is our next hike, climbing Uthuwankanda and Bathalegala (aka Bible Rock).

Our first destination, Uthuwankanda; this is famous for a hide-out used by a local hero named Deekirikevage Saradiel better known as Utuwankande Sura Saradiel who fought bravely against British colonialism. Actually our destination was the Saradiel Rock located in Uthuwankanda area.

So it was 7 in the morning when we got off the bus at Mawanella with a crew of three, had our breakfast and hired a three wheeler to Uthuwankanda junction (1.5km from Mawanella), turned right at the junction to Uthuwam Mawatha. It is possible to travel in a vehicle along this road to get closer to the destination but since we needed to see the surroundings we started our journey on foot from the junction, after about 1km turned left to a concrete paved way which was heading toward Saradiel Gala and about 500m ahead we found the trail head.

The trail was through a small rubber estate and from there it was a continuous climb to the peak, not too hard but not too easy either. Within 45 minutes we could reach an open area where the peak was located in a side but the moment we saw it what was on our minds was how the hell are we going to climb this. It was just like a cuboid with a stone  fist carved on the top(about 10m in height, 12m long and 5m wide). This part of the hike was really challenging. Three of us spent some time in the open area enjoying the scenery. It was quite windy but had some fine weather. At first climbing the peak was not in our minds since it seemed quite impossible but that's when another crew of three arrived one being a local guy. He showed us the way to climb the peak and with the help of him we could get to the top. It was  a pure 90 degree climb and when we stood on the top there are no words to express the thrilling experience we just witnessed.

A glance at our destination..
The summit
On the top..
Colombo-Kandy(A1) main road
It was quite windy, felt like floating. Some dark clouds were approaching and soon it was drizzling, we had to climb down immediately since it was very dangerous to stay on the rock when raining even with the drizzle the rock can get very slippery and also we could easily turn into ashes if lighting stroke. So climbed down and started our descent with other crew and on the way the local guy mentioned about a cave with tunnels built by Saradiyel, a fact that we hadn't heard about. Even he didn't know the exact location of it, so we decided to do some research and the 'Operation Saradiyel Cave' was executed :) We were climbing up and down, following the other trails which was branching off and our biggest obstacle was a plant called 'Nambiriththa(නාබිරිත්තා)' a stinging plant just like Nettle(කහබිලියා) and it gave me a hard time when a leaf of that plant rubbed against my hand, it was getting really itchy but because my hand was sweaty and since I washed it with water asap I was ok.
Nabiriththa( නාබිරිත්තා)
Finally after a strenuous effort we found the cave. It was hidden in a rock boulder covered with trees. We went inside the cave, it was dark as hell and luckily we had the flash lights in the phone. It was a tunnel dug by Saradiyel to escape. About 15m-20m ahead the main tunnel branched off to three more tunnels. It was unbelievable. It became even more unbelievable when the local guy said each of those three tunnels are few kilometers long, One led to Bo-Ella which was about 2km away. He advised us not go further as these tunnels said have cobras.
Finding the cave..
In the cave, entering the main tunnel
One of the three tunnels inside the main tunnel

It was raining when we came out of the cave, after spending about an half an hour started our descent. The path was muddy and slippery, we were all wet getting caught in the rain on the way. However our next stop was Uthuwankanda junction, there we said good bye to the other crew and took a bus to Mawanella.

We had been planning for a hike to Bathalegala for a long time but no one of our crew thought that it would turned out to be this day because before climbing Saradiyel Rock there was nothing about a Bathalegala hike in our minds, but after descending since we had a whole half a day left(it was noon) we decided to climb Bathalegala as well.

continued on next post..:)..Hike to Uthuwankanda and Bathalegala- part 2


  1. Wow..

    I have got clear idea about that...

    Thanks for sharing :)

    Waiting to see your next Adventure

  2. HI friend i also planning for a hiking activity, have you hired any guides or do u have any maps?

    1. Thanx for visiting my blog :)
      Actually we haven't hired any guides
      And we do use maps, google maps are really helpful, if u want more detailed ones u can buy 1:50000 or 1:10000 maps from the survey department at Narahenpita (1:10000 maps are available for certain areas only)

      visit you might find it useful.