Scenic hike to Bathalegala(Bible Rock) 2461ft

By : Dinesh Deckker
Contact the Author : dineshdsd@gmail.com | 0716- 818740
Year & Month Number of Days Crew Weather Transport
Sep, 2010 1 4 Sunny Bus,3Wheeler
Trip Route
Colombo -> Mawanella -> Gewilipitiya -> Hathgampala -> Bibles rock ->Hathgampala-> Hathgampala-> Mawanella-> Colombo
Accommodation
N/A

Travel Tips, Travel Notes and Special remarks
  • Always carry water stock of 1L per person
  • Start the trail as early as possible.
  • If there is Lightning DO NOT CLIMB!!
  • Stong Winds Can be Experienced..
  • Special Thanks to lakdasun.org
  • Leave only foot Prints

This travelogue is dedicated to my team Members and My lovely Wife.

Although Bathelegala been seen many times on my way to Kandy, for many years I believed this was an impossible hike considering the shape of the rock. As a member of lakdasun nature forum I was privileged to see a very valuable trip report written by our dear colleague Ashan Geeganage. What a coincidence Ashan also climbed in September last year(2009).The report it self encouraged me to do the hike as soon as possible and was on my priority travel places list.

Yet, I waited….

After arranging two successful trips using lakdasun as the platform I get to know few adventures that were like minded as well as interesting and hardcore characters as the crew for Bathalegala. Although many interested only four (Nirmal Senadeera, Darshana Sumanasekara, Viraj Rathnapriya begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting and My Self) were able to join the journey.

The date was scheduled as 22nd September, but the rainy season started as expected and the night before the journey it rained and continued till the morning. We planned to use public transport and gathered in Pettah bus stand 7.30AM. Luckily we were able to get on to a Mawenella bus around 8AM and one crew member (Viraj) joined us from Nittambuwa. It took nearly 2 hours to reach Mawanella. When we reached Mawanella we were surprised to see blue skies and Mother Nature blessed us throughout the journey.

Though we saw Mawanella – Aranayaka CTB bus in the bus stand we used a 3 Wheeler to get to Bathalegala. Three wheel driver promised to drop us the closest place possible yet he dropped us 500M after we passed Bathalegala sign board. Though we felt cheated while walking up hill we understood the scenario. It was a steep climb and with four people in a tuk tuk it was nearly imposible.

(So if you are planning to climb Bathalegala better use public transport till Gewilipitiya and there is a bus towards Hatgampala and from there take a 3 wheeler. If your vehicle has good ground clearance you will have the chance getting as near as possible. )
Anyway, we had no choice and started walking and to see it was a continuous uphill journey until the trail head. We were hungry, so after 500M walk we had our breakfast and continued the hike. In some places directions were indicated using arrows.

The road was concreted till we met a small boutique on our way. We stopped there for a while and had some fresh banana. Beyond this point the road was in very bad condition and there was around 750M to the trail head from this point. We were able to see the side view of Bathalegala after some time and some breathtaking scenery.

Later we came across a rock bed where we relaxed a bit, which was a part of the base of Bathalegala. As we continued along the road we were exited to see the top of Bathalegala which was our final destination. There were lots of houses either side of the road until the trailhead.

We walked all the way till the last house and that was the trail head and we were able to see the trail through a deforested area. We started the climb 12.30PM and from the start it was a steep climb. We were tired as we started the climb after 2KM uphill journey. Around 12.50PM we entered the forest patch. Our 3 wheel driver advised us to be care full in this section of the trail as there are Wasp nests. So if you are going to climb Bathalegala in the near future please be silent and careful in this section of the trail. By the way we hurried in this section as we were very excited to go up.
After some time we came across some steps carved on the rock and because of the steps it was easy to climb. We met more steps when we proceeded and you have to be careful if the rock is wet. If you slip there is nothing to hold on to. Anyway after few minutes we came across a place where we were able to see the summit. Beyond this point there were flat sections, steep climbs and slippery terrain. The final climb there was a foot path and it was an easy climb yet It would have been dangerous if there is strong wind as there is no forest cover and nothing to hold on to..
We reach the summit by 1.25PM. The blue skies, excellent weather gave us EXTRORDINRY VIEWS!! We were so lucky and rested a bit before enjoying the views. We were clearly able to see Ambuluwawa (Gampola),Ura Kanda (the mountain minister Ashrof crashed in to) and Allagalla. We might climb “Ura Kanda” and “Allagalla” soon…

We met another resourceful group while we were on the summit of Bathalegala and luckily there were from that area and one girl who was in the group was “the sister of the Bathalegala temple high priest”. They were very nice people and we were able to learn lot from them about Bathalegala and surroundings. We walked towards the most North end of Bathalegala. The views in one word the “WoW”…


GPS Map & KML File Courtusy : Nirmal Senadeera

Note – camera didn’t capture the true beauty…



The other group and our selves discussed a lot about Bathalegala. According to their information there was a rock just before the edge on the North side of the rock which was damaged due to lightning strikes. He said it is very dangerous to do this climb if there is any sign of rain. Because lightning struck Bathalegala often and recently struck 16 strikes in one day.

So if there is lightning or rain PLEASE DO NOT CLIMB!
While we were turning to go back to the center of the mountain to have our lunch we saw the Aranayaka – Mawanella bus going towards Aranayaka. Also we were able to see a rock which was early a part of Bathalegala and 50 years ago people were able to jump to that rock from Bathalegala but now its apart and its called “Idiri Gala”. Basically the rock is going down!!


We had our lunch and continued the journey towards the southern end of the rock where temple is located. On our way we met “Podi Hamuduruwo” who is a very knowledgeable and he preached us for 45 minutes and the sermon worth the hike!

We get to know some unknown facts about Bathalegala.

1.) Bathalegala is directly under the World Magnetic Field Line.

2.) Lightning has a special attraction towards Bathalegala.( If there is lightning at least 2-3 will struck Bathalegala.)

3.) Bathalegala get rain without rain clouds on top of Bathalegala. (It has some kind of attraction towards water. It attracts water from nearby clouds.)

Explanation I got for that
According to Bernoulli Principle
“For an inviscid flow, an increase in the speed of the fluid occurs simultaneously with a decrease in pressure or a decrease in the fluid’s potential energy.”

4.) Bathalegala Temple was once destroyed by Muslim Extremists (No offence). But villagers have given them a punishment and they are always on the watch for suspicious activities.

5.) Bathaegala has a cave on the summit and once “Loku Hamuduruwo” was a victim of a lightning strike and luckily survived.

6.) Basically we see Bathalegala as a single rock yet it is not.

Explanation I got for that
Due to Magnetic Forces the particles of the rock changed eventually because of the magnetic field and the shape of the rock changes (not a significant one) but the stability of the rock changed when the time goes by.”

7.) There is a water supply and electricity on the top of the summit.

8.) There was a cable car project proposal from Kadugannawa to Bible rock which was 7.5KM cable car ride but it was cancelled.

9.) Also we were able to see a rock which was early a part of Bathalegala and 50 years ago people were able to jump to that rock from Bathalegala but now its apart and its called “Idiri Gala”. Basically the rock is going down!!

Cable cars to soar over Kadugannawa
by Anjana Gamage

Cable cars – a long term dream of Sri Lanka Tourism will be- come a reality in the near future. It will be introduced soon by the Sri Lanka Tourist Board (SLTB). In an exclusive interview with the Daily News, W. Chandrasiri, Assistant Director, Development and Resort Management of SLTB, said cable cars are being launched after an extensive study.

The proposed cable car project will straddle Kadugannawa and Bible Rock (Bathalegala) which has a direct distance of 7.5 Km. The bus route from Kadugannawa to Bathalegala covers 15 Km via Mawanella, Aranayake and Hathgampala. Four passengers can ride in a cable car. The speed limit will be seven-10 Km per hour.
Source: Daily news (Thursday, 2 December 2004)

Anyway after 1 hour we walked towards the temple which was a very small stupa with a “Gantara Kuluna” and from the southern end of the rock we were able to see “Ahupini / Asupini Ella clearly. The view was totally different than the northern end of the rock and yet very interesting.


We experienced lovely views for around half and hour and returned back to Hathgampala( Although there is a easy descending route towards Aranayaka we had to use the same route as Viraj left some belongings in a house on our way )and we had a bath in a public well in Hathgampala before returning home. It was a remarkable yet easy to do hike with best 360 degree views of the country. I can honestly say, it was one of the greatest hikes I have ever done.

Bathalegla, remain in a special place in my travel journal.

Have a Safe Journey!


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Usually “Ambalam” were built in a chosen spots such as by the side of a paddy field or stream

Commonly “Ambalam” were simple buildings built by villagers on co-operative basis. They were consisted with a hipped type tiled roof on few timber or masonry columns. Perimeter walls were short and formed a seat for resting known as “Pila”.

Few were built totally with timber structures. In such a case, the Ambalama was built on four rock boulders to prevent from termite attacks. Panavitiya (or Panapitiya) was one of the said few.

Directions…

Chamila(My wife) & I visited Panavitiya few months ago. Finding the Panavitiya Ambalama was not difficult although there was no sign board on the main road (Negombo-Kurunegala). The turn-off was nearly 3km before reaching Narammala town, where the road leading to the Matiyagana School. Having traveling another few kilometers we had to turn left again.

we reached the Archeological site passing a temple

“Sri Lanka Thilakaramaya“ the temple @ Panavitiya

With nearly 4km drive from the main road, we reached the Archeological site passing a temple. In the first moment, having seen the outside appearance of the Ambalama, I was also confused as like as most of the previous travelers, whether we had reached the correct place. But once we entered in to the shelter, we could discover the wonder of wood carvings that Panavitiya was so famous for.

The boutique located in front of the Archeological site

Little confused having seen the outside appearance of the Ambalama

wonders of wood carvings

Inside view

Beams, rafters & ridge plate

A dancer??

Column heads & wall plates

4 Responses to “Scenic hike to Bathalegala(Bible Rock) 2461ft”

  1. Hi Dinesh,

    Wow. !
    An excellent report.
    “Every thing” is in it.
    Onna aayeth Batalegala Giya wage thamai

    BR
    viraj

  2. great article. hope for the future of this blog is getting good with article more useful and good. ok thanks and god bless you