We left early from Banderawela to Kataragama. It is a pilgrimage town sacred to world’s major religions. It has history dating back to thousands of years. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kataragama
Our aim is to visit the famous Lord Murugan temple there and spend the night in the town. And the next day visit the Yala National Park.
On our way there we came across a beautiful waterfall. It is called Ravana Falls. Apparently it is one of the widest waterfall in Sri Lanka and a widely visited tourists attraction. It also has a relevance to Hindu mythology based on the legendary Sinhala King Ravana. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ravana_Falls
We stopped for lunch there and at the same time appreciate and take in the beauty of the waterfall. See the pictures below and you will understand why!!
After lunch we left the falls and proceeded towards Kataragama temple. There are 2 main parts to the temple. On the way there is the small Kataragama which house some Hindu and Buddhist shrines.
After visiting the shrines there we proceeded to the big Kataragama temple which is the main temple. We reached there around 5pm, just nice to see the evening pooja which starts around 6pm. The temple was very quiet and serene even though there was quite alot of people.
We participated in the pooja. It was a very unique experience. Apparently the traditions and culture they follow is untouched. Meaning some of the customs that have been followed is being around for centuries!!!
It was truly a unique cultural immersion we had. The pooja ended around 8-9pm. We left and spent the night at Niro Resorts. It has decent rooms (unfortunately no hot water….haha) and basic amenities.
The next day we are visiting the Yala National park. It is the closest we have to the African Safari. Stay tuned for more scribbles soon!!!
After a tiring Day 3 in Horton Plains, we wanted to take it light on Day 4. So we woke up late and had a late breakfast. We didn’t wanted to take the van. Our plan is to take train, tut-tut and travel by foot to explore some of the places around Banderawela. Our plan is to visit a popular place there called Adisham Bungalow. We took a train from Banderawela to Badulla (around 30 minutes). Below is the pic of the train we took.
Then we took a tut-tut to Adisam Bungalow. It is actually a monastary. The bungalow is preserved like a musuem showing how the founder lived many years back. You can read more about the place and history here:
There is also a shop there selling fresh jams and pickles apparently made from fresh fruits grown there. I bought the lemon pickles and to my surprise, it was very good.
Basically our aim is to have relaxing day where we could have some local experience and also at the same time prepare ourselves for the next day.
The trip to Adisham Bungalow was perfect, we experienced travelling on a local train, we took the tut-tuts, tried locally made jam/pickles and also at the same time explored a very scenic place.
The next day, we will be going on a long trip to Kataragama. A place steeped in centuries old traditions and culture.
The place which surprised me most was Horton Plains National Park. We have planned to visit the place but without knowing much about it. We went in without much expectation, but was blown away by the beauty of the plains. Take a look at the Wikipedia article here for the history of the place: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horton_Plains_National_Park
It is located in Ohiya and it has been announced as a natural world heritage site by UNESCO in 2010.
Basically the main attraction is the World’s End cliff from which you can have a breathtaking view. The only issue is that sometimes it will be very foggy and the visitors may not be able to see the view. During the time we went it was foggy too, thus we could not see the view fully. Below is the picture from Wikipedia on how it will look like.
To get to the World’s End, we need to trek about 7-9 km. The path is rocky and is not smooth sailing. But it was worth it as on the way, we could catch many beautiful views of the plains. We went in with no expectations and came out with maximum satisfaction. As shown in the picture below, kill only time and leave only footprints.
We spoke to one of the forest officer there and found out that apparently there are some leopards in the plains but they will usually come only at night (Luckily we never come across any!!).
In short if you like to be close to nature and experience the beauty, Horton Plains should be on your top of the list if you visit Sri Lanka!
It took us the whole day to cover Horton Plains. We went back to our rooms in Banderawela tired but satisfied. We have no plans for next day. Well we thought being impromptu will give the best experiences.