We visited Ginigathhena an year before and climbed the Adam’s Peak (Sri Pada) through Nalathanniya. But this year around we were going to a quiet bungalow to actually grab four straight days of reading and writing. The minimum was to review 30+ research papers, the upper limit to write a paper based on these literature. A repeat of that long and arduous trekking was not to happen, even though we still had two days before the Vesak Poya when the Pilgrimage (officially) ends. Memories of the accent still fresh in my mind tells me that a literature review is also a progressive climb towards a reachable objective.
We set ourselves about in the comforts of a most wonderful bungalow, built in a valley it’s glass panels opening to the view of mountain ranges. Following minimalistic architecture using glass, stone and polished timber this place was designed to induce its visitors to immerse in the surrounding environment. I found every excuse to dip in the pool, my tired feet (and tired mind) comforted by it’s cold, cold water, the view always promising.
Ahead of our trip I Googled for amazing water falls in the proximity. I had a clue about Lakshapana, Norton Bridge and Maussekele but what more, I wanted to know and how to get there and what to expect. Some of the links turned out to be informative. We never did find Maussekele. I assume it is somewhere near Castlereigh reservoir. But I did happen to trek two beautiful water falls initially on the net and subsequently for real. Lakdasun, a nature lover’s forum gave a useful guide with a map, bus routes and lots of pictures.
Lakshapana, (laksha for the iron in the rocks) 129 meters in height and the 5th tallest waterfall in Sri Lanka, is a breath taking drop off the edge of the cliff. As you drive towards Norton Bridge on Hatton road you could get a good view of the falls. And then 18 kilometers from Hatton a foot path (700 meters) leads you down to the falls. The descent left me quite breathless and I was still hoping either my partner or my son would agree to climb Adam’s peak the next morning! No matter how bad your physic is a walk in the woods is truly rewarding – it does wonders to your spirit. And as in Yoga a bit of pain and stress is good for the body. It so happened that we walked past the turn off to Pathana village and came to a large pool beneath the mighty fall. While the boys ventured waist high in water to get a better view of the pool and perhaps to get closer to the falls, I took a quiet dip. I didn’t for a moment take my eyes off the cascading stream, it was a worthy object of meditation. A labyrinth of tunnels connect Lakshapana to another water fall that we were to visit, the Aberdeen. Our guide, a local boy of 15 yrs there showed us a cave high on the flat rock as the outlet to a river that runs within the rock. But before that we climbed up and drove a short distance to be directed by the locals to the top of the Lakshapana falls. It is extremely dangerous to venture to the edge and this is as far as we got to get a snap (see on right).
Now that was a super experience, to actually witness the fall. On our way back we were able to take a good view of the Seven Virgins mountain range (Saptha Kanya) and the exact spot (on the 5th mountain) where the unfortunate plane crash of the Indoneasian flight, Garuda took place. This crash remains as the worst disaster in Sri Lankan aviation history. That was in 1974.
We drove through pine forests back to Norton Bridge to find our way to the next destination. Abadeen is a water fall that’s hidden from all the routes. It required the visitors to actually trek down to view it. At this point I don’t recollect how far we climbed down (both treks were equally hard) when we reached the viewing platform Aberdeen (98 meters) proved to be worth the trouble, descending in all it glory, into an emerald pool. We had an impromptu guide, an agile youth who was eager to show us the peak of this water fall. He claimed that seven mini falls formed the descend of the fall. And that proved to be remarkable, only I fell half way to the edge and scared the rest of the party.
Over here on the left is the view from our room, you must wake up around 7 am and watch thin strands of mist clears off revealing layers of the scenery. And the rest of the holiday, was spent in an around the Tea estate, long walks, swims and hours of reading (of course I had a target to meet). We ventured to find out the workings of a Mini Hydro plant, walked the footpaths of the tea pluckers and marveled in their hard work. Then we walked 5 kilometers to the town one day to buy groceries, rather tired we caught the bus back to the 57th mile post. A memorable holiday – even though we didn’t venture out to find out Maussakele or climb the Adams Peak for the 2nd time!
So did I finish the literature? Yes. Did I do the paper? No. It seems we manage what we really must do and anything else can wait.