Day trip around hilly terrain | Sunday Observer

Day trip around hilly terrain

18 August, 2019
STEEPD IN LEGEND: The historic Batatota cave temple
STEEPD IN LEGEND: The historic Batatota cave temple

This is the perfect time for travelling into the three destinations that harbour Nature’s secrets in Kuruwita, Ratnapura. With clouds playing hide and seek over fabulous viewpoints, and wooded trekking paths, the mountainous terrain of Kuruwita is just the monsoon escape you could be looking for.

Irrespective of the trekking route you choose, you are never out of touch with Nature in Kuruwita. So ready your backpacks and arm yourself with a good pair of breathable, waterproof hiking shoes, binoculars and DSLR camera and set off to enjoy the sweet-smelling clean air and a change of scenery.

If you start early morning from Kuruwita, you can choose your first stop on your journey to Batatota. The Batatota Mountain lies in the valley where the Kuru Ganga starts from Sri Pada (Adam’s Peak), flows through Eratna and Kuruwita, and later joins the Kalu Ganga.

Batatota is well known for the Batatota cave temple 7 Km from Kuruwita. The temple is made up of several caves and the most famous is the Divaguhawa. It is said that during daytime the cave is filled with sunlight, hence the name Diva - day, Guhawa – cave. The climb to the top is quick but strenuous, where a steady stream of water drips into a small pond with a massive sculptured figure of a frog, lending cool air to the visitors. Inside the cave there are two statues of the Buddha and beautiful murals on the cave shrine covered with a Makara Thorana (Dragon Arch).

The thirty-minute ride from Kuruwita town to Batatota cave temple is rather hard on the stomach and the nerves as the vehicle almost tilts to a side while negotiating slopes and climbs on the road. It dips and rises on the hills and you hear yourself gasping with delight or fright – depending on the strength of the daredevil within you – when you look down the road. But once you reach the Batatota cave you instantly forget the travails of the ride and soak in the beauty of the scenery around. The quiet hills standing in all their splendour and the wind gently caressing your hair, with the distant noises of chirping birds is an experience that cannot be described by words. From the cave, there is a panoramic view of the valley below including the square-shaped Kunudiya Parwathaya. Depending on the weather, one can also catch a glimpse of the silhouette of Adam’s Peak in the distance.

We next head to another historic destination - the Batadombalena, a cave which had been home to pre-historic inhabitants who lived in this patch of forest around 13,500 years ago. It helps to unravel hidden mysteries amidst the dense trails of the Batadombalena forest reserve off Kuruwita.

On your way back from Batatota cave, two kilometres ahead of Kuruwita town, turn left to the Guruluwana road, proceed another 4.5 km, and catch a glimpse of a signboard which shows the uphill climb of 100 m to the summit of the Batadombalena cave under the forest canopy.

Trekking through the natural trails of Batadombalena in the monsoons is all about discovering some deeply magical moments. In the middle of the forest, you would come across water flowing over rock boulders and splashing into a series of mini-waterfalls and pools that are icy cold.

During excavations of the cave, the Department of Archaeology officials discovered the skeleton of a pre-historic man estimated to be 16,000 years old. Among the finds are tools, nails and various implements used by early inhabitants.

No matter where you are in Kuruwita, the hills are like a magnet for trekkers. You only need to know your limits and the body’s ability. And yes, you have to be wary of leeches during the rainy season.

Our final destination is the magnificent Bopath Falls.

It is said that when it rains in the upper portion of the peak wilderness of Adam’s Peak, the sound of the gushing water is heard in the foothills along Devipahala. And, the green swathed road to Bopath Falls via Kuruwita through which the water flows like a song is indeed one of beauty.

With a couple of showers hitting the peak wilderness during the last few days this is the perfect time to take the twenty-minute drive from Kuruwita, a sort of battle in a dreary monsoon. Just 1.5 km away is Bopath Falls, 115 ft. in height and shaped like a ‘Bo Path’ (Bo Leaf). The Falls comes to life during the monsoon when the area experiences heavy rainfall. It is a common sight to see large numbers of local tourists visiting the Falls in the weekends and bathing and relaxing.

On rainy days, it is advisable for visitors not to reach close to the waterfall as the rock boulders get slippery and could pose a danger. .

At the end of the day, you can have a dip in the shallow waters off Bopath Falls, enjoy some refreshments under the shade of a tree and wind up your one-day trip to Kuruwita.