Sri Pada - in the off-season | Sunday Observer

Sri Pada - in the off-season

Nallathanniya, met our eyes with gloomy weather and rain clouds enveloping the area. The new buildings have replaced the old, and lifestyle had suddenly changed in the past six years. A woman starts the day chasing away the monkeys with firecrackers, while a cunning monkey tries to steal some food from her tea boutique.

Before we started our off-season hike to Sri Pada, we kept our extra luggage at the Rest House near the Seethagagula.

Though there was a drizzle there was no heavy rain, but we donned our raincoats for safety.

Mother Nature

It is rarely that we get a chance to move away from the hustle and bustle of city life, to be alone with unique Mother Nature. It’s a great experience to be cherished for life.

The fifteen-member team walked in single file on the slippery trek forward passing the vendors and their stalls. Though the weather was not so clear, we were rewarded with the scenic beauty of the surrounding mountains.

The off season rains create temporary silver lines of waterfalls cascading down the rocky surface to form the Seethagagula. The Yakahandu Ella looks like a pure black and white hand painting of an artist.

The mischievous soft misty veils dancing to the wind’s rhythm, blocked our sight of the natural beauty of the waterfall.

However, the Adam’s Peak trail during the off-season vacation was not lonely, with sailors repairing the pathway. They were busy rebuilding the steps to the Sri Pada peak for the convenience of thousands of pilgrims who visit during the season. On our way up, hikers joined the naval staff to carry sand bags to the peak. Hours later we stopped at the Seethagagula to rest our tired limbs, and shared some aggala with the sailors. The concrete building next to the bridge on the river bank was a treat to the natural environment.

The hilltop was covered with a thick mist. The sun’s rays peeped through the rain clouds and kissed the green mountain tops, while rain water flowed in silver lines. The Badulu Oya came to an end, cascading into the Maskeliya reservoir, creating a unique waterfall named Gatmore. Beyond the Gawarawila plains, the Great Western, Horton Plains, Sadagalathenna and to the right, Bena Samanala and Darmarajagala (both peaks covered by clouds) gradually unfolded in the clear blue sky. The spectacular view of Maskeliya soothed our minds.

We were blanketed in a thick mist on our approach to Ahas Gawwa. Taking a few minutes’ break we continued our trek and were surprised to see a landslide. The iron bars at Ahas Gawwa had got a facelift.

A laborious four-hour hike pushed us to the summit, giving us a feeling as though we were hovering over the clouds. We were blessed by God Saman to perform our religious activities under the sunbeam. Another successful hike came to end, filling us with picturesque memories.

Pix: Virooshan and Nayanjana

Yakahandu Ella