Central Province

 

 

Sita Amman Temple

Sita Amman Temple

 

Devotees on the Rama trail or the Ravana trail in Sri Lanka make a stop at this shrine. It’s located in a green valley with a cool stream rushing by just under the Hakgala Rock which some call the Hanuman Rock. The site is rich in legend and folklore. The ancient site had been newly renovated and the temple had been built in the name of Sri Ram, Sri Sita and Bakthi Hanuman. Legend also says that this is the famous “Asoka Wanaya or the Rhododendron garden’ quoted in the epic Ramayana. Sita who was a captive held by Ravana was in an underground cavern further down in the valley, and the lady prisoner developed a rash on her body due to the lack of sun light. Ravana being a medical practitioner realized this and tunneled a passage up to this point where Sita surfaced. Thus the place where Sita saw the sun light came to be known as Sita Eliya, where the temple exists. On the rock adjoining there are two imprints. One that is round is believed to be that of the foot print of Ravana’s elephant that was guarding Sita and the other footprint was that of Hanuman who was spying. Both mastiffs stamped on the rock to show their power to each other. People of all religions who pass this spot in their vehicles come to a halt to make an offering to seek their blessings. The Hakgala Botanical Garden which is almost a part of the “Asoka Wanaya” is well worth a visit. The cool mountain air, the beautiful scenery and the view of the Uva Downs below will certainly make your journey memorable.

 

 

 

 

Kurunduoya Waterfall

Kurunduoya Waterfall

 

There are many wonders of nature off the beaten track of the island. One such attraction is the 2nd highest waterfall in the island – the Kurunduoya Ella. It’s one of the least visited waterfalls in the land, thus not a victim of human pollution. Thanks to its secluded location the environment is not damaged as it is at many other falls. The access to the waterfall is through Walapane, off Ragala, close to Nuwara Eliya. One finds guides at Walapane to lead you to the waterfall. The fall is 79.5mtrs high. The hike to the fall begins at the Japanese Peace Pagoda at Walapane. From here on it’s a trek uphill along an abandoned tea plantation. An ancient jeep track is visible here but it’s not motorable. The best time of the day to start the trek is early morning. The view from here is wonderful with the Randenigala Reservoir sparkling in the distant horizon. In this abandoned tea field there remain some dwellings of plantation workers and besides plucking the tea that grows untended now, the people here engage themselves in farming on a low key. There are two places of worship here, one a Hindu Temple and the other a Buddhist temple. Emerging from the now abandoned tea plantations there one has to negotiate some bush country until you suddenly fall upon waters of Kurunduoya which greet you with its roar .. and you’re in a place of much legendary stuff. The voice of the waterfall changes according to the direction in which the wind blows. The area has an abundance of the pungent cinnamon tree which has lent its name to the fall. Cinnamon is “Kurundu” in Sinhala. A trek up to this hidden beauty is well worth the effort.

 

 

Ragala

Ragala

 

This is ideal country for those interested in motoring the by-roads across rugged terrain. There are also interesting trekking and hiking possibilities here. The panoramic view from Dixon’s Corner on the Udupussellawa Road is fantastic. Another interesting trail is through the Kandapola Sita Eliya forest reserve via St. Leonard’s Estate across the villages Uduhawara and Perawella passing the majestic Bomburuella waterfall and Ravanella waterfall up to Hakgala or detouring up Kotakithula mountain and trekking past the one-time British stronghold of Fort Mc. Donald and then onto the Isthripura caverns, the underground city of Ravana, Manawelaella where captive princes Sita went for a bath and end up at Welimada. You would really be in mountain country, a legendary land where time stands still. But this is specially recommended for seasoned hikers and trekkers. If it’s a daring drive you prefer try going down Devil’s Staircase on Marigold Estate, the shortcut to Padiyapalella and then to Kandy via Rikillagaskada. According to folklore Ragala means Ravana Rock. The rock precipice here is believed to be the place where Ravana’s body was thrown and that his grave lies here. Close by is the Diamond Rock with patches of red blood of the bird who was spying and following Ravana’s flying machine when he was snatching Sita away to safety. The bird’s wing was cut by Ravana and the blood splattered all over the rock. Close by is another site: Vahugala – Ravana’s Dairy Farm. The stone pillars where the cows were tethered remain to this day. It’ the very best of a total packages : nature – culture – history, romance- intrigue, love, war, death, adventure.