Our ears became attuned to a roar increasing its crescendo as we progressed. It is the sound of falling columns upon columns of water in mighty swirls. The ‘swirls’ in Sinhala ‘kerali’ gave the name to the waterfall. Diyakerella Waterfall was in all its glory making silver bubbles as it fell. This majestic waterfall stands forty-five metres tall feeds the Heenganga tributary and finally the Mahaveli River
On deciding to spend the vacation in a rural, far-flung village surrounded by a range of mountains with a group of friends, our choice was Meemure.
Meemure, in the deepest backwaters of Sri Lanka is also famous for the Diyakerella Ella waterfall. It can be reached turning off at Hunnasgiriya leading to Lulwatte from the Kandy – Mahiyangana road. When passed Lulwatte one meets Corbert’s Gap. The terrain is very rough and the road is too narrow for two vehicles to cross leading to Lulwatte. To make it worse the road is full of potholes. It has sharp ascends and descends.
Suddenly we encountered a three-wheeler racing towards our vehicle blocking the path. The three-wheeler was carrying a serious patient to the hospital, and we had to reverse a long distance to give way. The only mode of transport of a serious patient seemed to be the three-wheeler in this remote area.
Travelling little further we reached the Corbert Gap where there was ample space to park vehicles and we found communication signals were very strong unlike in the surrounding areas and my companions were busy with mobiles. We continued the journey at about 5.30 pm when the sky was bright. Then we came upon a valley when the darkness fell.
Though our journey slowed down due to poor visibility and dilapidated road condition, we reached our friend’s place where we had made prior arrangement to lodge that night. Though, our friend was willing to offer lodging in his place he had another option which we jumped at. A campsite for tourists. Camp consisting of tents and wattle and daub huts. The latter were already fully occupied, so we opted for a tent. The campsite was self-contained with electricity and water. We slept with nature looking at the moon and the stars.
A friend in our group, Thanura wanted to climb the Lakegala Mountain early next morning. But we had to abandon that plan as the weather was very bad as the damp that made the steep climb extremely slippery and treacherous. I contacted a lady friend in the Forest Conservation Department to get detailed information of the topography of the area. She also discouraged us against getting villagers from the area as guides who might become a nuisance and would spoil leisurely sight-seeing.
One of our companions, Jehan doubled as cook with all of us helping him. Too many cooks did not spoil all of the fun and we also had a spare tent to cook under a steady drizzle.
At early dawn we decamped and started for Meemure. The caretaker of the camp volunteered to join us as it was an off-day for him. Though we preferred expeditions without outsiders, considering an additional helpful hand, we gladly took him on to the team.
Meemure is some distance away from the night stay, was not difficult as the path was smooth. The guide suggested us to visit the Veddapini Elle (fall) en route to Meemure.
We reached an expansive paddy field passing a bazaar and a housing settlement which overlooked Lakegala. The guide skillfully scrambled over the terraces of the paddy fields. But we were not so nimble. We took breaks to relax pretending to stop to take pictures. The guide was uneasy with our lethargic progress.
Part of the paddy field was cultivated, another part in the upper region was cultivated with bean and the top most part was fallow. In the border of the field there was a style which marked the limit of the forest. The guide was far ahead of us and we tagged behind him.
Thanura ahead of me shouted at me to come over to him soon. When I rushed to him I saw his posterior was completely drenched in blood and the leeches were lying bloated with blood on the ground. I had to attend to his wound while others were waiting for us near a stream.
As we were hungry we decided to have the breakfast by the stream. No sooner than I relaxed my paining feet in the stream a school of fish called ‘Galpaandi’ endemic to Sri Lanka prevalent in every stream in the Knuckles mountain range encircled my feet.
After the breakfast respite we resumed our journey. Now we were in the very isolated area of the Knuckles range.
Further, proceeding about two to three kilometres in the jungle our ears became attuned to a roar increasing its crescendo as we progressed. It is the sound of falling columns upon columns of water in mighty swirls. The ‘swirls’ in Sinhala ‘kerali’ gave the name to the waterfall. Diyakerella Waterfall was in all its glory making silver bubbles as it fell. This majestic waterfall stands forty-five metres tall feeds the Heenganga tributary and finally the Mahaveli River.
Continued next week
Courtesy Sunday Rivira
(Translated by Ananda Elkaduwa)