Trails unsung ; A roadtrip to Poonagala
Poonagala is lesser known to the mainstream traveler – perhaps for the better. But for those who venture here, it offers a unique and pristineness that is unique among all of the central hill country in Sri Lanka.
Situated in the lee of a massive mountain – namely the
Nayabedda Mountain , the small town is a reminiscent reminder of old srilanka’s colonial past and it’s ongoing ties with tea cultivation.
The road leading upto poonagala from Bandarawela , where we started our journey is well paved and weaves it’s way through sparsely populated area’s that are ringed by lush tea fields.
The route is about 30 km’s and takes about an hour of steady motoring – but stopping for the sights along the way is a must! You should probably start your journey in the early morning as opposed to starting out late because there is a fair chance of clouds setting on in, in the evening.
The road takes you around the base of nayabedda mountain and occasionally you will find small collection of hamlets which are predominately home to the resident tea plantation workers ; indeed their influx of culture and tradition can be felt all throughout the area , with beautifully crafted hindu temples and small charming wayside shrines that dot the
One of the most prominent places to visit while at poonagala are the viewing points of millennium and pilkinton.
They are easly found on your way from the latter and moving down and making your way to koslanda – a small mountain track will lead you there. The track itself starts out quite dilapidated , with huge potholes and odd stones jutting out here and there – but with careful driving can be negotiated ( smaller ground clearance vehicles will find it difficult )
A few hundred meters on you will find a gate and a friendly gatekeeper who w issue you with an entrance ticket ( the tickets are relatively cheap costing about 150Lkr )
And from hereon the road is well paved with a twin concrete driveway leading upto almost the viewing points .
Rather than proceeding to the viewpoints we chose a separate route – leading down a steep ( very steep!) inclined roadway all upto a beautiful kovil ( still under construction ) - the twisty narrow road takes your breath away and takes you all thw way down to the kovil .
Perched on top a rock face jutting outward in majestic fashion , the kovil ground end just short of where the cliff face begins. We crossed the grounds and a short walk down came up with an incredible view! Where both pilkinton and melenium point lacks , here it delivers : massive rock faces. The cliff faces are result in a sheer drops perhaps a few hundred meters down – and offer unparalleled views.
Take care when you traverse the slope though – a misstep and you will either fall face first into the rocks or tumble down , so be very mindful of your footing .
The cliff faces are majestic and weather-beaten , reminiscing the cliffs seen somewhat in middle earth. Indeed sir Pilkinton , whom after the nearby viewing points are named , declared it as a close run in to the Scottish hill country of his native lands.
the stunning vistas are amazing - the vast inland plains with intermittent towns scatted about and the rolling hills – not to mention the myriad of lakes that can be seen is truly breathtaking.