Ulugalathenna is a picturesque sub-village tucked in Belihuloya, which is located in the central of Sri Lanka which falls under both dry and wet climatic zones of the country. Though Belihuloya is popular for its soul-soothing lake, and natural landscapes, Ulugalathenna is a hidden treasure, yet to be discovered by local and foreign travelers. The distance from the capital city Colombo to Belihuloya is about 156 km which takes around 4 hours. The destination can be easily accessed by car through Colombo – Balangoda road.
Ulugalathenna is a serene village surrounded by different ranges of mountains. “Thenna” in Sinhala refers to a valley, which is bordered by the hills. The Rabbit Rock is one mountain that attracts a large number of hikers and nature lovers to Ulugalathenna. The first time I visited this beauty was quite a memorable experience.
It was around the month of July, that I paid a visit to the central Sri Lanka. Having heard so much about the area, I wanted to discover unknown locations that are equally refreshing as the popular ones. After a bit of research, I decided to pick Ulugalathenna as a break from the hassle of the city. The village is a self-sufficient model that cultivates rice, beans, tomatoes, cabbages and many other vegetables.
The balanced weather system supports these plantations and the farmers follow ancestral tricks and tips to expand their production to meet the demand from the city. I was fortunate enough to speak to some of them, and was amazed by their simple, yet healthy lifestyle with much less technological chaos, saving themselves a lot of stress!
The water flow is another mesmerizing system designed, matching to the hilly landscapes of the village. Wooden planks are set up in a down flow method which lets the water that comes through waterfalls to glide throughout the valley, nourishing the plantations and serving the need of drinking water to the residents. It was that pure and cooling, that it killed my thirst within seconds. I was offered a traditional lunch by the villagers, even though I had reserved a guest house nearby. The lunch was sumptuous, prepared with garden-harvested cabbage, cucumber, and tomato salad; properly dressed with black pepper and salt, fried river fish, red dhal curry over red rice. This meal filled me up as I was quite tired after walking around in the village. It was clear to me that secret of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle of the people of Ulugalathenna, as they consume food that are not cursed by artificial fertilizers!
Not far from the village, one can also visit the Pahantudawa Falls, a unique rock formation in the shape of a lamp. The water that cascades down from the hills gather in this basin and creates a mini waterfall into the form of a tip of the lamp. The villagers will show the way to this attraction without hesitation and it is advised to take their guidance as the walk is quite challenging and dangerous. Strictly prohibited to have bath in this waterfall as the depth of the water has not been estimated but is said in the folklore as a deathly hallow! Admiring the beauty of this waterfall from a distance is preferred.
My evening was spent at the Belihuloya Lake, a refreshing dip into the cooling waters which is also home to a natural fish therapy pond. The sound of birds and the wind that blows through the green trees added music to the evening. Belihuloya is one of the few places which has a high rate of air quality along with the statistics and it was convinced to me during this trip. As it was not disturbed or polluted by fumes and dust, the air was perfectly clean and fresh.
Ulugalathenna and Belihuloya is a must tick off on a bucket list and I recommend it to all travelers that are seeking for a pure natural experience to their collection.