September 2018


Tranquil Deniyaya
September 2018




Camp in the mountains to immerse in the beauty of the cooling climes of Deniyaya

Ringed by emerald mountain ranges and a dense forest cover, Deniyaya offers an adventure at every turn. Exploring the serenity of this hamlet is to witness first-hand the serendipity of the island.


Words: Darrshini Parthepan
Photography: Vishwathan Tharmakulasingam and Geeth Viduranga


Our journey to Deniyaya took on hairpin bends, unveiling a scenic route of verdant tea fields and mist wrapped mountaintops. Located in the Southern province of the island, the little village of Deniyaya is the flipside of the sunny coastal belt. As we drove farther passing Neluwa, the breeze wafted its scent and blew down a drizzle of wild blooms to refresh us on the way.


The calm town of Deniyaya came into sight with humble roadside boutiques enticing the traveller with fresh veggies and fruits. As we made our way along Temple Road, the village was awake, buzzing with activity.


Leaving a perfect scene of village life, we journeyed further alongside the looming mountainside filled with excitement as we would soon be reaching the Patna sliding rock.


Past the Deniyaya town, we ventured on the narrow road that lead to Ensalwatte Tea Estate. It took a winding course, revealing mesmerising views of the rolling tea fields speckled with diligent tea pluckers dressed in vibrant colours. Under the cool gloom of a drizzle, we reached the Patna division of the estate. From there onwards an arduous walk of two kilometres through tea plantations, ushered us to the picturesque Patna. The welcoming sound of flowing water conveyed the sense of fun that pervaded in the atmosphere. Many were gathered to enjoy the exhilarating experience of this natural water slide. Gliding along the flowing rock, the sliders cheerfully plunged into small pools at the base with a great splash. Nearby villagers served freshly prepared pol roti with lunu miriis and vadai, a treat for the thrill-seekers. While a cuppa of ginger plain tea warmed us as we relaxed on large boulders captivated by the striking views of the surrounding verdant landscape.


Refreshed and revived, we trekked uphill entering the path that stretched towards the east corner of the extensive Sinharaja rainforest. The tea fields disappeared from sight and the lush wild greenery of the rainforest instead filled the backdrop. Amidst the serenity of nature, we unexpectedly encountered the Samangala Jana Vijaya Viharaya, wedged into a rock sheathed in foliage.


Pausing briefly, we traversed further along the muddy path where trees leaned and vines dangled. Monkeys flung from branches and birds chirped.


The rustling of the leaves intrigued us to watch out for more wildlife in the dense forest. In a moment's flash, we were greeted by the rare sight of a solitary purple-faced langur (leaf monkey) endemic to Sri Lanka. It sat still and alert on a branch, though weary of our presence.

Before plummeting to the river, the water cascaded dramatically at ‘seven levels’, hence the waterfall’s name ‘Sath Mahal’. The waterfall is approximately 350ft high and is said to be fed by two half-yearly monsoons.


Many pathways leading into the dense forest lay ahead, each beckoning us to witness the marvels of the rainforest. Yet, it was time to head back to town, and we were content with the encounter with nature along the periphery of the rainforest.


Back in town we resumed our search for another scenic destination in Deniyaya - the Sathmahal Ella. Heading along Pallegama Road the waterfall seemed to elude us at first. However, a helpful resident of the village pointed us in the right direction, to a path shrouded by trees and shrubs opening out to the gushing falls. The sight of the milky white curtain of water that spanned the entire breadth of rock was breathtaking. Before plummeting to the river, the water cascaded dramatically at ‘seven levels', hence the waterfall's name ‘Sath Mahal'. The waterfall is approximately 350ft high and is said to be fed by two half-yearly monsoons.

The Annual Perahera of Getabaru Raja Maha Viharaya will be held from September 20 to September 26 with the Maha Randoli Perahera on September 24, 2018.


As our excursion in Deniyaya neared its close, we reached the hamlet of Kotapola, where we encountered the Getabaru Raja Maha Viharaya, the abode of the guardian deity Rajjuru Bandara. To witness the ancient cave sheltering the reclining Buddha statue over 26ft in length, we ascended along the steep climb up the hill upon which the temple sits. This statue and remnants of a mural in the cave are believed to belong to the Anuradhapura Era. The flights of stairs lead to many places of worship, finally reaching the main shrine situated at the summit.


After immersing in the tranquility of the area, it was time to bid adieu to our pleasant escape to Deniyaya with a treasure chest of memories.

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    Have a splash! It's fun time

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    Sip a cup of ginger plain tea and munch on some vadai and roti with lunu miris

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    Picturesque view of the Patna sliding rock and verdant landscape

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    Extensive tea factory amidst dense tea plantation

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    A purple-faced langur endemic to Sri Lanka spotted at Sinharaja rainforest

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    An exhilarating drive through the narrow bends lined with shady trees

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    Samangala Jana Vijaya Viharaya against the misty surroundings

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    Cascading beauty of Sath Mahal ella

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    The tranquil environs of Getabaru Raja Maha Viharaya

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