June 2018


Rocking Ella
June 2018




The view of the winding road on the trek to Little Adam's Peak

In Ella, one needs to literally climb rocks to explore the various places of interest. This quaint town in the hills provides a unique experience in the cooling climes.


Words: Udeshi Amarasinghe
Photography: Menaka Aravinda, Geeth Viduranga and Anuradha Perera


It was late evening when we approached Ella along the winding roads. The rain soaked roads glistened as vehicles passed-by. There were steep drops from the edge of the road but the views were beautiful. As we closed upon Ella, the majestic Ravana Falls came into our view. With the rains the volume of water cascading down the face of the rock was massive. We stopped the vehicle and watched in amazement. We drove over the bridge and the cold and wet weather soon engulfed us. We had a hot cup of sweet tea, much needed at that time, and realised that the Ella rock was just above us. The mist surrounded the cliff.


We proceeded towards the town and the warm lights from the numerous restaurants welcomed us. Various cuisines were served and diners were comfortably seated awaiting their dinner to arrive. Walking along the street, music flowed towards us, the ambience was one of relaxation and chilling-out.


The next day we planned our outing, our first stop was the Demodara Nine Arch Bridge. Along the road travellers laden with back-packs were heading towards their destination. Others were merely enjoying a leisurely stroll. A short distance away from the town we stopped near a Kovil dedicated to Lord Ganesh. From this point onwards, we had to journey on foot. Along the steep paths we climbed, ‘huffing and puffing'. Then, downhill carefully placing our steps. We reached a small landing, which provided a wonderful view of the Demodara Nine Arch Bridge. Visitors were gathering to witness the picturesque scene of the train gliding along the tracks and into the tunnel.


We were an hour early, therefore we patiently sat and let the minutes pass-by. The air was cool and pleasing. We watched as visitors posed and took photographs capturing the beauty of the area. Suddenly we heard shouts indicating that the train was approaching. ‘Toot Toot Chugg Chugg' the train with the red carriages slowly glided along the bridge. We watched holding our breath and then in a moment it had disappeared through the tunnel and only the distant sound could be heard.

Visitors were gathering to witness the picturesque scene of the train gliding along the tracks and into the tunnel at the Demodara Nine Arch Bridge.


We trudged back, uphill and then downhill to reach the main road. We decided to head to Little Adam's Peak, to witness the beautiful scenery of Ella. Another short drive and we began our ascent. The first leg of the climb could be done by taking a ride in a tuk tuk. Thereafter we trekked on the gravel road immersing in the surrounding beauty. We reached an area surrounded with trees and the sky was gloomy indicating the impending rain. We were within the Ravana Ella wildlife sanctuary and the actual ascent began from here. The steps rose above us, disappearing at times along the bends. There were moments when instead of steps it was only rocks and roots that our toes clung onto. There was a growth of tall grass that brushed along our legs. Yes, we were ‘huffing and puffing' again. Concentrating we climbed step by step, and we reached a point where on one side was a sudden drop and the other the path to take us farther atop. We proceed and reached an area where the statues of the Buddha had been placed. We had reached the pinnacle of Little Adam's Peak. We followed the path that connected one peak with another and then large rain drops started to splash on us. We huddled around a large tree, the only protection we had. After a while we decided to brave the weather and begin our descent. By the time we reached the bottom we were completely drenched, but happy with our achievement.


We thereafter proceeded to the historic Bogoda Bridge. The drive was quite long as we had to proceed to Hali Ella. Journeying along winding roads we passed lush greenery of paddy fields. Reaching the temple, we descended the large stone stairs to reach the intricately carved wooden bridge and Bogoda Raja Maha Viharaya. Podi Hamuduruwo greeted us, it was time for the evening prayers. Lamps and incense sticks were lit and fragrant smoke was spread across the entire premises. The Bogoda Bridge lies over the Gallanda Oya.


This wooden bridge is the oldest one of its kind and is said to have been built for Buddhist monks and pilgrims to travel from Badulla to the Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy and also for villagers to reach the temple from the other side. The bridge has been built entirely of wood and the roof is of clay tiles and the design is similar to an Ambalama and reflects architecture of the Kandyan period.


The Budhu Gey is believed to be from the Anuradhapura era. The interior is colourful and peaceful. The resplendent Buddha statue within was a spiritual presence. The roof of the temple is partially rock. However, photography within the Budhu Gey is not allowed, this has been taken as a protective measure.


At the back of the temple there is an intriguing sight; a cave with a tunnel runs below the temple. This is said to be one of the passages used by King Walagamba during his time in hiding from the Chola invaders.


Our journey was complete, we had explored Ella, which had entailed a lot of climbing - up and down! Definitely ‘rocking Ella!'

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    The majestic Ravana Falls

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    Ella at night glitters with light

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    A photo moment at Demodara

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    The train slowly glides along the Demodara Nine Arch Bridge

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    Bogoda Bridge, the oldest wooden bridge in Sri Lanka, leading to the Bogoda Raja Maha Viharaya

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    The mountain adjoining little Adam's Peak - an exhilarating climb

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