Monday, January 2, 2012

Sri Pada (Adam's Peak) - Ratnapura Palabaddala Trail - Off Season


Trip Name: Climbing down Sri Pada via Rathnapura Trail during Off-season (Descend)

Year and Month: November 2011

Number of Days : Two day Trip

Crew : 4 [ Samith(right flank) Sandun (left flank) Dhanushka(front ) Akila (rear) ]

Accommodation : Sri Pada Peak Temple

Transport : Hired Van

Activities : Hiking, Religious Activity

Weather : Heavy Rain,Myst,Cold


Route :
Day 1
Avissawella > Eheliyagoda > Kuruwita > Erathna > Adevikanda (Trail head)
Day 2
Adam’s Peak > Siripagama > Palabaddala > Rathnapura > Avissawella

Special remarks :
  • Be ready to face extreme weather conditions.(rain coats, comfortable  jackets)
  • Accommodation at the peak temple cannot be guaranteed.
  • Convenient Foods – Noodles ,Instant soup ,Chocolate ,Biscuits.(please refrain from bringing any meat products)
  • Rather than Hatton trail you may encounter wildlife on these trails, be ready and don’t panic.
  • You could use this travelogue as a trail guide by following the order of highlighted landmarks and special places.

Resources
:
Trail Guides






 
It was somewhere around 5 am when I woke up to some alien voices. From what I heard I realized that they were gathering up in the summit to watch Ira Sewaya (Sun Rise). Since I too wanted to watch Ira Sewaya I quickly got up and tried to wake the others to go out with me and watch Ira Sewaya. But I could only get Sandun to go out with me since other two were having a good time crawled in to their blankets. Unfortunately sun has already risen up when we went out and shining likes a majestic emperor above the horizon. If you have seen this scenery you will never wonder why our ancestors worshiped Sun.

Bliss

Enchanting

Behold

 
Even though I’ve seen Irasevaya (Sunrise) all the other times I came here, I felt a little sorrow because I missed it this time. According to folklore “when night ends and It’s finally the time for Surya Divya Rajaya (the name given to the sun considering it as a deity) to give light to earth He starts it by worshiping Sri Pada .He comes from far beyond and bow his head and worship Lord Buddha’s Siripathula” (footprint).We see sun goes up and down because He bows his head toward Sri Pada and worship Lord Gauthama Buddhas sacred footprint”. Even though I knew the scientific explanation for this phenomenon I still prefer the story. After bathing in fresh sunlight Sandun and I went inside and prepared tea for all of us (there is a small kitchen near resting rooms where you can prepare your meals, but don’t expect state of the art facilities or top notch cleanliness). Then we packed our stuff and had a quick breakfast (bread, butter and chili paste). After everything was ready for our departure we went to worship Siripathula (Buddha’s Footprint). If you visit Sri Pada during off season, you wouldn’t be able to observe the rock which is covering real Siripathula ( the actual foot print which said to be embedded by Lord Buddha Himself in a large gemstone) because the shrine which houses Siripathula is closed during that time.
Then we observed the placid surrounding. Clouds were floating below us, silvery rivers, greenish mountains, it was the perfect panorama. Then our attention was directed to a rainbow like formation in the middle of the western sky. The formation was right above the Sri Pada mountain’s shadow.

Halo

Halo


 
Caretaker told us that it’s Budu Res (Halo). He also told that it’s very rare scene and happen only few times a year.
After watching this rainbow formation we started to climb down. It was not hard as ascent but we were surprised when we saw the trail. Since it was all dark when we climbed this part of the trail previous day, we didn’t have a chance to observe the surrounding. Trail was barely visible. Trail here is divided in to two parallel paths, one for climb up and one to climb down. But only one was visible (these paths get cleared in pilgrimage season) and a large portion of it was covered with various plants, moss and grasses

Trail through dense overgrowth

Trail through dense overgrowth

Covered in moss
First important landmark you will come across when climbing down is Ehela Kanuwa.


 Just few steps after Ehela Kanuwa you will see a name board saying Sulan Kapolla.
 
 It’s more of an area rather than a place. From this place onward (if you are climbing up) you will have to face intense wind. We experienced this when we were at this place previous day.
After passing sulankapolla we reached Andiyamala Thanna.



Just before Andiyamala Thanna there is a building which belongs to Sri Lanka Water Board. Near this building there is a water tap. If your water bottles need refilling this is the best place since you would not encounter another clean water source until you reach Galwangediya.

Next we came across “Makara Thorana” (Dragon Pandol). There is a large upright Buddha Statue and a “Saman Devalaya”.

Makara Thorana

Next Prominent landmark we encountered next is “Galwangediya”. This is the place where Kuruwita Trail meets with Rathnapura Trail. There is a water tap here and a small shop. Since we had decided to take Rathnapura Trail we took the path to the left.



After brief climb we arrived at Haramitipana. There were two or three large buildings and a wide open area. This place is definitely good for a long rest as it had some permanent residents (I’m not sure but they looked like police or Army guys)

Haramitipana Ambalama

Haramitipana Ambalama

To Rathnapura Trail

Well Paved Rathnapura Trail

 
From here onward the trail is well pawed. We walked in a slow pace while enjoying the soundings. 

Small Stream

Alone!

From Above

Stream

Beautiful

Heen Dharmarajagala
 It was a tiring and a long journey. We made several power stops to regain strength. Next most prominent land mark we came across was Dharmarajagala. Since it was covered with moss we had to take extra precautions when climbing down.
Dharmarajagala

Slow and Steady

 

After Dharmarajagala we came across Indikatupahana (AKA Geththampana). There were few Army guys working at this place . We had a nice little chat with them and they seemed quite happy to see us since they don’t get human contact during off season. After wishing good luck to them we started our journey again.

Geththampana

A Shower?

Hard Work



  
 From here onward its a continues climb down with small flat sections. After about one and half hour we came to Lihinihela. According to the legend a women named Lihini (many used to call her Lihini Akka) died here. She fell from the steep cliff here and reincarnated in to some kind of protective entity. We rested here for a while and then started climbing down.

Lihinihela

 We reached end of the trail around 3pm. 
Last Few Steps


Our van was already there to pick us up when we arrived at siripagama. If you wish to use public transportation you have to hire a three-wheeler from here to the nearest bus stand. It will cost somewhere around 300 LKR. From there you can get a bus to Rathnapura Town (Public transportation isn’t reliable in this area, so it would be very wise to arrange another method of transportation beforehand)

 

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