Pallan-Hela Mountain, a mountain fortress with a scenic view


Pallan Hela, a 1065 feet tall mountain standing tall over the Gal Oya basin is alleged to be a fortress of King Saddatissa, the brother of Dutugamunu the Great and the provincial king of East, in the days gone by while some holds it to be a forest hermitage sheltering the meditating monks.

Standing tall over the Wickramasheelaramaya, a temple at Devalahinda the path towards the top of the mountain falls through the temple and permission should be sought prior to the climb. Scattered around the present temple are the ruins of a temple of yesteryear, maybe a temple belonging to the hermitage, which once flourished atop the Pallan Hela.

11-perfectly-framedToday, a small stupa stands on the ruins of a much larger stupa, the work of the ancients while the perimeters around the olden Bo-Tree too is scattered with more ruins while steps carved onto the rock leads the way up to a pond carved into the rock with a carved gutter to channel rainwater to the pond.

The drip ledged caves at the foot of the mountain are proofs to the mountain been a forest hermitage although signs of a fortress too are abundant on Pallan Hela.

From the small devalaya on the temple premises, a steep path littered with years of fallen leaves leads to the peak of the small mountain, which affords a view of a larger part of Gal Oya Valley. From here starts a trek through a narrow rock corridor sometimes bounded by rock walls allegedly constructed by King Saddatissa for the defense of his fortress.  The rocks not bound by cement or any form of plaster are made to fit into each other in unique form and had withstood the test of more than two millenniums.

4-ancient-stepsThe final part of the walk falls through a forest patch and the summit of the Pallan Hela and the surrounding view bursts on the climber. The view expanding over to the Eastern coastline covers the Gal Oya project and its wildlife park, Namal Oya and Mullegama mountains, Ali oluwa, Kondawattawana and  Ampara lakes. Ampara town, Ekgal Oya, Ambalam Oya , Pannelgama lake , Jayanthi lake, Wadinagala and Govinda Hela in one bird eye view providing a breath-taking experience to the breathless climber.

More ruins are found on the top of the mountain in the form of a stupa and ruined buildings while a larger pond filled with clear water is too found on the peak, evidence to the archaeological importance of the mountain.

Near Pallan Hela are the Pallan Oya and the lesser known hot water well of Kivulegama, which too provide a perfect footnote to any exploring trip to Pallan Hela.

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