Day -11 - 28-Dec-2015 (I continue From Here )
It rained heavily all night. Just like it does in Mangalore. Reminded me of home. In the morning, Lal greets me with a cup of tea. He has a scooter, so I ask him if I could rent it for a day. He agrees for Lrs 1000; Less than the price in Jaffna and without a limit on kilometre. (Jaffna price was Lrs1500 for 100 kilometre)
Lal tells me that I could buy petrol in Ella but they are Lrs 30 more than the outskirts. I fill one litre petrol given to me in a bottle at Ella and take off. I first ride to Ravana cave. I am not intending to climb to the cave but want to see the temple. I am under the impression that it is Ravana temple. Ravana cave is where he is supposed to have hid Sita. A small boy at the monastery gets the keys to the temple. But it is no Ravana temple but a Buddhist temple. If you want to climb to Ravana cave then you can pay a fee at the Buddhist monastery and get the keys to the gate that blocks the pathway up to the hill. Considering the slippery condition after the rains and tired from my previous trek, I choose not to go there. Thank the boy and leave.
The ride downhill from Ella to Wellawaya is very scenic.
I stop at a very nice restaurant called Ella mount heaven and have their Buffet breakfast. The food is excellent. I have lots of Iddiyappam, Plain and sweet pancakes, Rice rotis and tea. And for all that it costs me only Lrs 500 which is Rs 250 in Indian currency. I doubt if I can get such a good buffet breakfast for that price back in India, that too in a place popular amongst tourists. Well yes, Ella town is filled with cafés and the cafés are filled with foreign tourists. That is part of the reason, I am going away from this place.
I stop at Ravana falls. It flows majestically at a bend on the road downhill.
On my way, close to Wellawaya, I fill another bottle of petrol for Lrs 30 less than the price at Ella. I ride directly to Buduruwagala. Its a small village about 5 kilometres from Wellawaya. Here you take a right turn to get into some really deserted area to reach the temple. The road to the temple is very beautiful; filled with wild trees, lakes, Peacocks, butterflies and migratory birds.
Tall statues of Buddha and some of his followers stand there midst a lush surrounding. The figure on Buddha’s right is thought to be a Mahayana Buddhist figure Avalokitesvara. On the left of the white-painted figure is a female figure thought to be his consort Tara. Local legend says the third figure represents Prince Sudhana. On Buddha’s left the three figures is thought to be Maitreya, the future Buddha; Vajrapani and Vishnu. It is undoubtedly one of the most peaceful and best places I have been to in Sri Lanka. There are few tourists and pilgrims and everything here seems very much a part of nature, nothing artificial. I think these pictures speak for themselves.
On my way back, I stop to have some fresh litchis. The boy selling it is apparently a big fan of Bollywood films. Again, Shahrukh Khan is his favourite actor like many others I have met here. The litchi fruit is utterly sweet and delicious.
I have lunch at a newly opened restaurant in Ella. An old man greets me in and while waiting for the food tells me that it is his son’s restaurant. His son has studied culinary skills and was working in a reputed hotel. He quit that and opened his own restaurant here. The father is a science teacher and during his holidays thought of coming and helping his son. The food is very delicious and well presented.
I then ride to Uva Halpewaththa tea factory which is located up a hill very close to Ella. A steep climb takes me to the factory. The view from here is beautiful. I arrive along with a couple from Holland who are cycling through the country. The tea factory is not producing today so we can not see the process. But the Tamil speaking guide Siva tells us that he shall explain to us as though the process is happening. He is right, he does an excellent job explaining to us the process. In fact he educates us clearly on different types of tea coming from different parts of the first three leaves plucked. The bud forming Pekoe known for its flavour and quality which is also the most expensive and the other types like BOP, FBOP are formed with other two leaves and are known for its strength and colour. This guided tour of the factory is very informative. We thank him and I buy some tea from the store.
I take a quick ride to see Dowa temple which I almost miss on my way as it is a small stupa by the road. After that, I ride back to the homestay, dine at my favourite restaurant and write my journal for the day there. It has been another incredible day with lot of excitement and I look forward for more excitement.