17 October 2009


This magnificent nature trail is situated in the Knuckles Range. Maningala is a flat, long, rocky outcrop somewhat shaped like a reclining elephant. It is situated just behind Etanwela village and the ledge spread North East towards Illukkumbura. Usually you can see this mountain clearly on your right hand side while you descend towards Illukkumbura passing Riverston along Pallegama Road.

You can either start the hike from Illukkumbura or you may do the reverse from Etanwela. The actual path is starting from the Forestry Department Office of Illukkukmbura, but Etanwela path is easier to climb. The reason is Etanwela situated about 500 feet above Illukkumbura. The entire trail is about 6km long and the total climb is less than 1500 feet.

A traveler has to turn from the Pallegama Road and travel towards Rathninda village. Then you have to start walking at the boundary of Rathninda and Etanwela village. First you have to cross the beautiful Thelgamu Oya over a foot bridge and then enter Etanwela village.

The trail is not a difficult one. Although the rocky outcrop looks absolutely sheer and imposing, the trail takes you via a less steep path. In fact this is the foot path used by the villagers to reach Illukkumbura area. There are not many steep hills and the path is quite clear with no under growth and also there are arrows marked at all uncertain places. But you may need to ask the path from the villagers during the first stage as there are many similar paths leading to a few other places. (E.g. Meemure, Kalupahana, Rambukoluwa, Walpolamulla etc.)

At the top of Maningala you will see one of the most spectacular sights of Sri Lanka. There is a flat surface before the summit point (the head of the elephant) and it is at least about the size of a football ground. From there you can see most of the prominent places in the Knuckles Range like Thunhisgala or Kalupahana, Pitawalapathana, Karagahathenna, Riverston, Gammaduwa etc. The top of Maningala is quite windy. The descend towards Illukkumbura is equally pleasant as you can see the vast land up to Batticaloa, Trincomalee and even the North Western area. When you descend further down you will see the beautiful Illukkumbura village.

To learn more about this nature trail, you can visit this wonderful site, Lakdasun.

The above photo was taken from Etanwela village. You can view photos taken from top of Maningala in my next two posts, here and here.


poefusion said...

i can see myself enjoying a day's hike here. it's beautiful. the lying elephant is an inspiring image. have a great weekend.

Anonymous said...

So Breathtaking !..sort of reminds me of Sigiriya,...the color of the rock that is !... I can't say it enough...you really are so lucky to be able to witness all these amamzing locations.

Anonymous said...

Do you offer your services as a trekker to the general public ? Lets say if a group would like to take this trek with you, or spend about 2 weeks in SL going to all these amazing places is it possible to get things arranged through you ? I know that Amila [bird man] takes groups , but do you too ?

This is one of the problems that I have encountered with the local tours to SL. They are so much the standard thing "oh, here is hill country, here is the beach" type. They do not take the visitor 1KM beyond coach. The whole thing is planned around getting to the hotel for meals on time !!!!! Revolting !!!!

Betsy Banks Adams said...

Hi K, Looks like a fabulous place. I'd love to be there hiking on that trail. I can't wait to see pictures from the top.

Amila Salgado said...

Hey K,
I have climed Manigala on a birding trip with the FOGSL in another lifetime. It was not too strenuous, at that time, but I don't know how I will fare with all my paraphanalia now.

Sunny said...

Lovely scenery, such lush greenery.
Sunny :)

Janith said...

wow K! the mountain looks absolutely stunning! I too can't wait to look at the other pictures! :D

rainfield61 said...

It is tempting for a hiker like me.

BPOTW said...

Your photos are great! That looks like a wonderful place to explore!

Kirigalpoththa said...

That was a great place a nd you'll surely like this place!

The edge of the rock looks like Sigiriya but it is much longer. Also quite a lot of vegetation on top of the rock.

Agree with the general way how tour guides operate. I have faced that in a few countries too.
I have taken friends of mine on my hikes but never taken any teams or groups. If anyone likes can join me but they have to get ready to face the extremities of nature :) Also if anyone goes with me they are sure to miss a meal or two ;)

You will surely enjoy this maginficent trail..I'll upload pictures with my next post!

Glad you have done this trip before. It will be bit tricky to do the climb with lots of belongings but I feel it won't be a problem if you have one or two to acomapny you. Two n half years old little fellow came with us. His mommy n daddy had to carry him during difficult terrain..but he did it :)

The scenery on the top is even better!

Sorry for keeping you waiting but I'll upload them very soon :)

I'm sure you are. I saw this mountain about two years back and was tempted to do the hike but could not do due to tim constraints. Glad I did it this time.

Thanks very much for dropping by and for linking me :)

Thanks all for your wonderful comments!

George said...

I think this would be a fascinating hike, probably from either direction. I look forward to seeing more pictures from your hike, especially those you took from the top.

Kirigalpoththa said...

Yep I did it via Etanwela side but even from the other side also it is a great journey.
Thanks for your comments :)

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful place to see! It looks mysterious, and sacred..

Kirigalpoththa said...

Icy BC,
Thanks a lot for your comments!