Why I dream of Hiking on Alagalla, Potato Mountain

Have you ever been on a top of the mountain that you always wanted to climb whenever you see it?

I was dreaming of climbing a beautiful mountain which caught my eyes while travelling to Kandy by train.

After reading few articles and a research few of my friends planned to visit this beautiful mountain called as Alagalla, which is known as Potato Mountain because of the shape of the mountain.

We started our journey from Fort railway station in a sunny Saturday in last month, March 2017.

Train departure from Fort railway station around 6.55 in the morning.

Tickets were around Rs 100/= to Kandy, one of my friends has arrived early than all of us and bought tickets to Kandy because he couldn’t recall for the name of the station we have to get down.

After 2 hours ride among the beautiful scenarios besides the railway tracks we arrived “Ihalakotte” railway station around 9.30 am.

First thing we did was meeting the station master and get confirmed that there are no other trains coming towards Kandy on that way as we were planned to walk down to “Gangoda” station passing a railway tunnel.

Since walking on the railway tracks are prohibited station master advised us to walk next to the tracks, and he was so helpful and informed us that there will be a train to Colombo around 4.30 in the evening if we get down from the same route.

Also he gave a mobile number of a tuk tuk driver in case if we miss the train.

We thanked him and started to walk down to Gangoda station.

You have to walk nearly 1 km to reach the station, while passing the second longest tunnel of the hill country railway tracks.

Even it is bit hard in the beginning from the Gangoda side, hike will be easy from the midway since there are concrete steps built by villagers to visit the temple on the top of Alagalla.

There is a small shop near the station where you can have hoppers or tea as breakfast before starting the climb.

Even we had some sandwiches on the way we had some hot hoppers from the shop since it looked so good!

Trek started next to the shop, we had to walk up in a dusty road across the village.

Few kids we met on the way gave us some Jumbu fruits fresh from a tree.

Villagers we met on the way were so helpful, showed us the way and informed to carry enough water.

We walked up in a dusty road and reached to the bottom of the Alagalla.

End of the route we met a small shop which is run buy a little girl while their parents are working in the vegetable cultivation in next land.

We bought few chocolates and biscuits from there even it wasn’t necessary for us, just as a help for the girl. Beginning of the hike was bit hard with bushes and it was really hard to walk under the sun in the noon.

Therefore you need to carry enough water and use some sun protection if you are visiting in dry season. Luckily we hadn’t have to worry about leach attacks. But in rainy days you have to pay attention to leach protection if you plan to visit Alagalla.

Midway of the trek you will meet a water tank and that is the last resource of water you meet on the way. So better to fill your bottles from the tank. From there after passing few meters of bushy path, you can reach the area with concrete steps.

From there we had to climb up a steep rock for another few minutes and arrived the temple on the top of one side.

There was a Buddhist monk in the temple who guided us to reach the summit on the other side. Even it is not the summit, you can still get a good view of the valleys underneath your feet.

We walked back to the other side of the rock after getting filled our water bottles.

Path was not so clear, so always make sure that you trek as a team. After walking up under a shady green canopy we reached a huge rock with a dangerous steep.

There were some ropes already hanging on the rock which helps to climb. But we had our own ropes since we weren’t sure about these old ropes.

So always make sure to have some ropes with the team in case you need a help to climb a rock.

Few boys first took the risk to reach the top. And then the girls had to climb with the help of the rope while boys held it on the top.

Ladies are not always first in this case!

This steep rock is known as “Katusu Konda” which gives the meaning of a back of a huge lizard.

This is the only way to reach summit of Alagalla mountain Range. Even it’s hard, it gives you an awesome view of valleys underneath after the climb.

We were amused to see the green valleys and other mountains around the central province. You can see Hanthana Range and Bathalegala sometimes if there are less clouds.

Wind can be harsh to you and sweep away your caps and hats on the top. Two of us lost caps while enjoying the nature with a wind came up suddenly.

Since it was a dry and hot day we couldn’t stand for so long on the summit with heat of the granite rock. But we were too tired and hungry we decided to sit on the grass area of the top and have some snacks.

If you eat biscuits or anything wrapped in polythene make sure that you bring it back once you come back leave only the foot prints.

We have already decided to get the Poththapitiya route to come down, since it is easy to get a bus from Poththapitiya to Colombo.

We had to come back to Katusu Konda and walk around the rock to get the Poththapitiya route. Even there was a way to come down from the summit we took the safe way around the rock since it was not that safe to climb down.

After walking down for few minutes we found a path to the tea estate. Road was slippery with the dust, and road was not clear all the way.

After a hard trek finally we arrived the tea estate. Few workers were resting on the gravel road redirected us to the correct way.

End of the foot path, we saw the tea factory and gravel road started from there to Poththapitiya. We walked down the tea estate for few minutes without getting any rest since it was getting late to catch last bus from Poththapitiya to Kandy.

Luckily we caught the last bus from Poththapitiya to Kandy at 5.30pm.

It was an old CTB bus, so once it speed up engine got heat and made a fire in the bus on the way. Since there were no any buses, we had to walk to Kandy road.

Even it was really tired we had no option other than walking few kilometers to reach Kandy Road.

After waiting few minutes we were able to a catch a bus and reached Colombo around 10.30 pm with lots of memories of Alagalla Mountain Range.