Discover HIDDEN SERENITY
Walking In Search of…
Text and Pictures by Imaad Majeed
The Dalada Maligawa happens to be Kandy’s biggest tourist attraction, bringing in a steady flow of the devout and faithful Buddhists in the country as well. Take a walk down D.S. Senanayake Veediya though, and you will realise what is just behind the temple, as you turn along the street at which the Post Office is located. The Udawattakele Forest Sanctuary is just one of the many nature reserves that exist undisturbed by the bustle of the busy.
Paying just Rs. 28, you will initially be greeted by a troupe of monkeys waiting for you to feed them. You can not take food into the premises, which might explain the monkeys’ strategic location. Enter the forest and you are guided only by a clearly demarcated footpath that winds along the mountain, with signboards pointing out the various attractions. The foliage is immediate in fixing whatever headaches the noise and pollution of the town may have given you Lyanas climb tall along the trees, almost columninal in their arrangement. There are a few flowers interspersed, an orchid here and some orange plant I could not recognise. There is also the jak trees you will find along the way, and stray fruit rotting on the ground.
Look out for the sign that points to Pus Wela, which happens to be the oldest known creeper that is still surviving within the forest. Walk through the path and you will hear twigs snap and leaves crackle at your feet, now turning a yellow shade. The creeper lies across the ground, raising into the air to grasp onto one of the trees.
There are knots and strange twists from its past consorts, making for pleasant seats if you want to pose for a picture. Be careful, though, as this is a national treasure of sorts, now over 300 years old. Beyond the Pus Wela however, there is little that is new to nature-lovers. However, the sanctuary still serves as a great escape from the city.
You could spend about two hours if you liberally walked through the entire place, though boredom may set in if you are not with the right company. Oh, and do not litter, or the monkeys will thank you.