Posted by: lrrp | May 19, 2006

BELIHULOYA

You find Belihuloya on the way to Badulla from Colombo. Famous for it’s colonial times rest house and Natuaral Beauty Belihuloya is a great stop over on your way to National Parks of Udawalawe and Yala as well as Hortan Plains and bandarawela.
BELIHULOYA, a very picturesque little hamlet renowned for its eco tourism opportunities, is situated in the “Sabaragamuwa” province of Sri Lanka , approximately 160 km from Colombo . This beautiful hillside location is a climatically transitional area, linking both the dry and wet zones and the hill and low country at an altitude of less than 1500m. As a result, the vegetation consists of moist semi-evergreen forests, tropical savanna forests, dry patana grasslands and montane temperate forests, making it one of the richest bio-diversity spots in Sri Lanka – a perfect location for nature lovers
Waterfalls in the area

Pahanthuda Fall
The base of this 15ft waterfall, carved out of the rock bed is shaped like an oil lamp. Hence it has earned the name Pahanthuda Ella from the Sinhala word “pahana” for lamp. Located about 1½ km from Belihuloya, to get to the waterfall, one has to travel along the Ihalagalagama road for 1 km and then walk down the mountain for ½ km. The time taken would be about one hour.

Bambarakanda Fall
The highest waterfall in Sri Lanka (790ft in height), is reached by a small motorable road off Kalupahana, which is 14km from Belihuloya towards Badulla. This base pool can be reached by walking about 500m through the forest. It takes 1½ – 2 hours to travel the 18km from Belihuloya to get to the waterfall.

Surathalie Fall
Eight km from Belihuloya, one can see this waterfall from the Colombo-Badulla main road at Halpe. In the true sense of the word, this is not a waterfall but a water-slip. The water, slides down along a rock wall on the eastern slope of Mt Ellamana for about 65ft, forms this water-slip and joins the Weli Oya later. This waterfall can be reached in about 20minutes from Belihuloya.

Brampton Fall
Along the Colombo-Badulla road about 10km from Belihuloya, one comes to this fall (about 6 metres in height) among several other smaller falls. This tributary of Weli Oya flows down the eastern slopes of Mt Papulagala (1530m) forming several cascades among huge trees of the surrounding monsoon forest. In half an hour one can reach this waterfall.

Papulagala Fall
Off the Badulla Road, 5km east of Belihuoya at Lower Hiralouvah, a steep winding road leads to Upper Hiralouvah through the Brampton Estate for about 4km. This part of the estate is bordered in the north by a rock range flanked by Mt. Papulagala. During the rains a brook forms this waterfall, which is about 30m high. This can be seen from the A-4 Road.

Galagama Fall
This 500ft waterfall is in a deep gorge in Belihuloya covered with large slippery rocks. To reach this, one has to travel up to Ihalagalagama along a small motorable road for about 5km and walk a further 6km through paddy fields and scrub jungle. It will take about 2 hours to reach this waterfall.

Duwili Ella Fall (Walawa Ganga Fall – East)
The name of this 40 metre waterfall is derived from the Sinhala word for dust – ‘duvili’, as it appears to raise a cloud of dust at the base. To reach this waterfall one has to turn off at Kaltota (28km from Balangoda) and walk about 2km through rough terrain where sometimes even wild elephants prowl. The distance from Belihuloya to this waterfall is about 45km and would take about 2 – 2½ hours to reach it.

Hulang Ella (Walawa Ganga Fall – West)
This 30m waterfall is set in the deep monsoon forest about 22km from Balangoda. To reach this fall, one has to travel 8km up to Aldora along Balangoda – Kaltota road and another 8km to Mulgama along a rough small road, where, though motorable, only a jeep or tractor can ply. The rest of the distance has to be walked through rough terrain and jungle. The journey to this waterfall, about 53km away from Balangoda, takes approximately 6 hours.

Diyaluma Fall
The majestic Diyaluma Fall, the second highest in Sri Lanka, has a height of 220 metres and can be seen from the Koslanda – Wellawaya main road. This is the last of a series of waterfalls of the Poonagala Oya. The distance of 34km to fall can be traversed from Belihuloya in about 1-1/2hours.

Scenic Trekking Trails in the area

Hagala Trail
Approximately 2½ hours walk from Belihuloya, this area consists of moist semi evergreen forest and dry ‘pathana’ grasslands. One can get an incredible view at the top of the mountain. it goes about 400m towards Badulla, along the Ihalalagama road for about 5km, turning off at Landuyaya, walk through an abandoned tea plantation for about 200m, through a pathana for 2km to the summit and back the same way.

Appalagala Trail
This trail takes approximately 2½ hours. It goes through moist semi-evergreen forest and dry ‘pathana’ grasslands. It is possible to see a lot of birds and other fauna and flora during this trail. the route leads towards Colombo about 200m, turning off and climbing up the road to the Hermitage about 500m. Entering the forest bordering the hermitage, climb up further through the forest about 1km and come to the pathana area. To take a different route back through the forest go through the village to the main road from where its about 250m to hotel and the trail ends.

Samanalawewa Trail
This is a lovely half-day (approximately five hours). The trail leads through the village for about 1km, through a forest reserve for a short distance before reaching the point where the Belihuloya River falls into the Samanalawewa reservoir.

Horton Plains (via Bambarakanda Falls) Trail
you will drive to Kalupahana where you will leave the main road on foot and hike for approximately 6km to get to the Bambarakanda Falls (Sri Lanka’s highest waterfall). Within a majestic basin-shaped valley bordered by huge steep rocks and dark green forests of pines and tropic plunges an impressive 790ft over a vertical dark grey wall from the green saddle between Mt.Welihena and Mt. Bambaragala into a deep pool only 500m walking distance from the trail. From Bambarakanda, you will hike another 14km through the West Haputale Estate and Kingslyn Estate before arriving at the Udaweriya Estate junction. From here you can choose whether to do the last 6km to the park entrance by foot or getting back into your vehicle. On arriving at the park entrance, you can then enter the HORTON PLAINS NATIONAL PARK itself.


Interesting Viewpoints in the area

Lipton’s Seat
Located in the Poonagala hills, this was a favourite look-out point for Sir Thomas Lipton (the great tea pioneer) when surveying the surrounding region of his tea plantations at Dambatenna near Haputale. To get to the viewpoint, one has to go 28km from Belihuloya to Haputale and proceed towards Poonagala for 4km to Dambetenna and walk about 1km up the hill through the tea plantation.

St Catherine’s Seat
St Catherine’s Seat is located through Nayabedda on the Poonagala Rd. It overlooks Bandarawela and the distant mountains. The viewpoint can be reached by travelling 28km from Belihuloya to Haputale and another 4½ km along the Poonagala road, passing Dambatenna to Nayabedda before a final stage on foot of approx 1½ km.

Kellibedde Seat
Proceed as above to Poonagala and 2½ km towards Dambatenna from which point one can reach the Kellibedde Seat, with an incredible wide view of the Haputale area.

Pilkington Point
Proceed as above to Poonagala and from there, on the road to Kosl
anda one can get to this point. Pilkington Point has a fabulous view over Wellawaya and Moneragala.

Haputale Gap
When one travels to Haputale from Belihuloya, a few kms from Beragala there is a tremendous view in the southwest region over the Mahawalathenna Valley.


Historical and Archaeological Remains in the area

Uggal Aluthnuwara Dewalaya
The ancient Aluthnuwara Kuda Katharagama Dewalaya has a history going back to the era of the Kandyan King Senarath Yapa in the year 1304AD. It is the sub shrine dedicated to the god Katharagama in Sri Lanka. It still has the mini Kataragama Devale, a moonstone, old stone pillars, a 600 year old wooden arch, a stone arch and ruins. Old gold jewellery too can be found there. The Dewalaya is situated about 1km from the turn off point on Colombo-Badulla road, which is about 4km from Belihuloya towards Colombo.

Bolthumba Dewalaya
This Dewalaya belongs to the King Rawana, whose official flag is said to be still in it. Legend has it that it rains when the flag is taken out!

Haldumulla Ancient Fort
This is a Portuguese Fort, built on the summit of Haldumulla hill. Since this is built on a strategic location it gives one a very good view of the surrounding area. This fort can be reached by walking approximately 2½ km from Haldumulla, which is 20km from Belihuloya towards Badulla.

Haldumulla Ancient Temple (Viharaya)
This Temple, over 200 years old is situated approximately 100m from Haldumulla town which is 20km from Belihuloya towards Badulla. It has one of the highest dagobas in the area. The murals still remain in the old building of the temple of which the architecture belongs Kandiyan era.

Soragune Devalle
The ancient Katharagama Devale of Soragune temple has a history going back to the era of King Walagamba. Ruins, such as, stone scripture, old stone pillars, slabs and buildings with drawings still remain at the site. The temple is approximately 6.5 km away from Halatuthana junction which is 18km from Belihuloya towards Badulla.

Adisham Bungalow
Adisham Bungalow, a 19th century British period building, was modelled on Leeds Castle in Kent, England. It was the country house of Sir Thomas Villiers, a distinguished British resident in Sri Lanka in the early 20th century. It is now a Benedictine, adjoining the Thangamale Bird Sanctuary. The Bungalow, 30km away from Belihuloya can be reached by going to Haputale and proceeding about 1 ½ km along Boralanda road and another ½ km through the tea estate.

Bogoda Bridge and Temple
The 16th century Bogoda Bridge is the only roofed wooden bridge of the Kandyan period. Located on a byroad of the Badulla – Bandarawela road, this graceful bridge spans the rocky Gallanda Oya and is constructed entirely of wood. The gabled shingle roof is supported by 11 pairs of elegantly carved pillars and banisters and the entire structure had been painted with vermilion, turquoise and ochre natural lacquer. The Bogoda Raja Maha Vihara Rock Temple nearby has pre-Christian era inscriptions and old murals and images. The total distance to this bridge and temple from Belihuloya is 67 ½ km.

Sankapala Temple
The Sankapala Temple, consisting of three rock caves containing stone inscriptions dating back to the 2nd century BC, was built by Pussadeva, one of the ten commanders (“Dasamaha Yodayas”) of the army of King Dutugemunu who ruled over our island from 161 to 137 BC. After the major battles were over, Pussadeva became a Bikhkhu and meditated in one of the caves. This Temple is situated on the Pelmadulla-Embilipitiya Road, 52 km from Belihuloya).

Buduruwagala
One of Uva’s most striking and dramatic monuments, Buduruwagala is a group of seven colossal standing rock-cut Mahayana Buddhist figures. Carved in high relief on a cliff face in thick jungle, the central Buddha figure is 51ft in height and is flanked by Bodhisattva figures and the Goddess Tara. The figures show traces of their original plaster and paint and are dated between 8th to 10th century AD. This location is about 50km from Belihuloya, situated at Nugayaya on a turn off on the Tanamalwila – Wellawaya highway.

Dowa Rock Temple
Located on the main highway between Badulla and Bandarawela about 42 km from Belihuloya, the Dowa Rock Temple has murals and inscriptions dating back to the 1st century BC. The colossal unfinished rock-cut standing Buddha figure (8m high) carved on the cliff face is one of its main attractions.

Halaba Iron Bridge
This 700ft long iron bridge over Uma Oya was built in the year 1867. This is an unbelievable and fascinating situation where it is said that this bridge, originally approved to be built in Halawatha (Chilaw), was mistakenly installed in Halaba due to confusion in names. Installing a bridge in no man’s land where there is not even a road is, in fact, ludicrous! To arrive at this bridge one has to go to Jangulla through Hali Ela and from there about 2 ½ km through a somewhat difficult terrain in the jungle. The distance from Belihuloya is 68 ½ km.

Nine Arch Railway Bridge
This culvert-bridge was built at Gotuwala between the two railway stations – Ella and Demodara during the British Colonial period. The 99.6ft high bridge is called “Ahas namaye palama” (Nine skies bridge) in Sinhala. When one stands underneath it and looks up there is a beautiful sight of “nine skies” through the nine arches, hence the Sinhala name. The bridge is located approx. 50 km from Belihuloya.

Demodara Railway Loop
Designed and built during the British Colonial period in the shape of a turban, this railroad loop is a unique feature in the hill country. The track goes around the mountain in a loop and through a tunnel beneath the Demodara Railway Station. It is about 50 km from Belihuloya.

(http://spaces.msn.com/dcp/)

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