An exciting day’s hike to Kabaragala and Raxagala Mountains
Those who are more adventurous and loves trekking could try out climbing this gigantic mountain plainly visible from the Wirawa Bungalow. This could be a day’s hike, however if you set off at dawn you could climb Kabaragala and proceed to hike to the adjoining Raxagala on the Dolosbage mountain range, passing the Nil Diya Pokuna (pond) where you could have a refreshing dip.
Kabaragala is the highest peak situated in the Dolosbage mountain range which stands at 1506 metres. On the northwest ridge is an odd-shaped peak, the second highest of the range at 1,438 metres. It is a relatively moderate climb which could be covered within one day with hours to spare. The hike takes one along various types of terrain, through tea estates, Savannah-type grassy slopes, bare rock surfaces and thick forest cover. The first viewpoint before reaching the Kabaragala peak is a treat in itself and the less adventurous should feel a sense of achievement (and perhaps relief) at reaching this point and experiencing the 360-degree panoramic views of the valleys below and faraway mountain ranges of the higher hill country of Nuwara Eliya.
The shortest and the more challenging trail is via the Maryville junction (which is a turnoff from the main Nawalapitiya-Dolosbage road approximately 2 kms from the Craighead Tea Factory junction). The Craighead tea estate trail is longer and easier, and not as steep as the former and follows the ridgeline southeast to the summit of Kabaragala.
It takes just over 1hour to reach the peak from the trail starting point. Well! Maybe for the fitter people. It is advisable that you pace the climb by taking a couple of breaks while climbing and observe the scenic view unfolding around you. First you will pass the Raxawa tea estate and then the climb gets steeper as you reach the top. It is also advisable that you start climbing in the early morning hours and descend before noon and if you wish to proceed onto Raxgala you will have to backtrack by descending Kabaragala and take a left turn from the track at the Raxawa tea estate and start another hike for about 2 hours to reach Raxagala. However, for the more adventurous the route is shorter if you wish to cut through the thick dense forest between the 2 peaks of Kabaragala and Raxagala. Between these two peaks there are dense forest cover and steep crevices and only recommended for hard trekkers. The flat tops of Kabaragala and Raxagala, also have their own jungles, floating like isolated green islands, cut off from the outside by the vertical cliffs, like lost worlds.
The route to the summit of Kabaragala is marginally easier, There is, however, no easy way to the top of Raxagala. It is simply a 150m climb straight up the jungle-covered northeast face of the mountain to the walls of Ravana’s fortress.
It is recommended that you hike during dry weather. During the rains, the jungle is crawling with leeches, and anti-leech gaiters or pants are essential. The climb seems steeper then, often on hands and knees to prevent oneself from slipping and falling at certain points of the track, sometimes having to physically push through the thick undergrowth, and rain makes this near impossible, as the trails become slick with mud.
Once you conquer Kabaragala and even better Raxagala you feel a sense of euphoria at having achieved the impossible coupled with the excitement and panaroma you encounter along the trail!