Bathalegala-Berg (Bibelfelsen)


Der Bathalegala-Berg, auch Bible Rock genannt, erhebt sich auf 798 m über dem Meeresspiegel und liegt in der Nähe von Aranayake im Distrikt Kegalle, Provinz Sabaragamuwa. Wer auf der Hauptstraße A1 von Colombo nach Kandy fährt, erinnert sich an die kurvenreiche Straße mit der steilsten Steigung, fast 20 km von Kandy entfernt. Diese alte Vergangenheit und das nahegelegene Dorf bergauf werden Kadugannawa genannt. Vom Kadugannawa-Weg erlebst du einen phänomenalen Blick auf die westlichen Berge. Bathalegala ist der markanteste Berg in dieser Landschaft aufgrund seiner markanten vertikalen Klippen, die die flache Oberfläche umgeben. Bathalegala Kanda war in der Kolonialzeit als „Bible Rock“ bekannt. Dieser Tafelberg ähnelt einem offenen Buch oder inspirierten Fantasien, wie der Berg Sinai aussehen könnte.

Als die Portugiesen das Königreich Kandy, das im 16. und frühen 17. Jahrhundert das Tiefland kontrollierte, bedrohten, errichteten die Singhalesen auf den auffälligsten Gipfeln eine Kette von Wachtürmen, beginnend mit Batalagala. Die Wächter auf der Spitze von Batalagala konnten das Kegalle-Tal und die Kadugannawa-Pässe auf dem Weg von Colombo nach Kandy leicht überwachen.

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The Shape and Hiking Trails

Bathalegala mountain's allure lies in its unique shape, resembling an open book or Mount Sinai, earning it the nickname "Bible Rock" during the colonial era. Despite its seemingly inaccessible appearance, two hiking trails allow adventurers to conquer its summit. These trails offer an opportunity to witness the breathtaking beauty of this remarkable mountain.

Accessing the Mountain

To begin the journey to Bathalegala, one must follow branch road B278 from Mawanella, which intersects with the A1 main road. After travelling approximately ten kilometres, the minor road B278 turns right at the junction in Gevilipitya. Upon reaching Hathgampela, a board indicates the small road leading to Bathalegala Kanda. The initial kilometre of this road is paved, and at its end, you will find several houses and a small shop. Starting from this point, the hike to the summit takes approximately two hours at a leisurely pace. The trailhead is just beyond the last houses, where a tiny footpath weaves through a forest and a deforested area.

The Hike to the Summit

Ascending Bathalegala Mountain requires caution, especially during the rocky and steepest sections of the trail. While mountaineering experience is unnecessary, using hands for balance and utilizing carved steps on the rock surface may be required. It is important to note that the rocks can become slippery after rainfall, making the hike dangerous during thunderstorms. Bathalegala Kanda is known to attract lightning strikes more frequently than other areas. However, on sunny days, nature enthusiasts will relish the climb for the rewarding panoramic views, the ever-changing vegetation, and abundant birdwatching opportunities.

Natural Beauty and Wildlife

As hikers venture along the trail, they are treated to the wonders of nature. The journey is adorned with lush greenery, vibrant flora, and a symphony of bird songs. Bathalegala Mountain presents a remarkable opportunity to immerse oneself in the diverse and captivating beauty of Sri Lanka's natural landscape.

The Mountain Panorama

Reaching the plateau of Bathalegala Mountain offers an awe-inspiring experience. On clear days, the entire Knuckles Range can be admired to the northeast, showcasing the majestic peaks of this iconic mountain range. Towards the southeast, the Ambuluwawa Peak stands closer, with its modern pilgrimage site atop it. The surrounding area boasts satellite hills such as Devanagala Kanda and Uthuwan Kanda, which provide additional hiking destinations and are easily accessible. The southern-eastern direction also reveals the Ura Kanda Mountain.

Religious Significance and Retreat

The summit of Bathalegala mountain has been transformed into a sacred place of worship and a forest retreat known as Aramaya, designed for reclusive monks. Though it is typically uninhabited, the area features cave abodes and a small dagoba, radiating tranquillity amidst nature's grandeur. There are plans to construct a large dagoba on the summit, resembling the record-breaking Kalutara Chaitiya. Moreover, remnants of an unfinished cable car project initiated a decade ago can still be seen, testifying to the mountain's potential as a significant tourist attraction.

Bathalegala Mountain is a testament to Sri Lanka's rich history and natural beauty. Its striking cliffs, panoramic views, and diverse flora and fauna make it an exceptional destination for adventurers and nature lovers. The mountain's accessibility through well-defined hiking trails ensures visitors can explore its wonders and immerse themselves in its serenity. Don't miss the opportunity to experience the captivating allure of Bathalegala and witness its breathtaking vistas.

Häufig gestellte Fragen (FAQs)

  1. Can anyone hike to the summit of Bathalegala Mountain? Absolutely! The hiking trails are manageable for most people. However, it is essential to exercise caution during the climb, particularly in slippery conditions.
  2. Are there any accommodation facilities available near Bathalegala? Bathalegala is primarily a day trip destination, with limited accommodation options nearby. It is advisable to stay in Kandy or other neighbouring towns and plan a day trip to the mountain.
  3. Is it necessary to hire a guide for the hike? While it is not mandatory, hiring a local guide can enhance your experience. They possess valuable knowledge about the mountain and its history and can easily navigate the trails.
  4. What is the best time of the year to visit Bathalegala? The best time to visit is during the dry season, from December to April, when the weather is generally favourable for hiking and offers clearer views from the summit.
  5. Can I bring food and water for the hike? It is advisable to carry an adequate supply of water and some snacks for the hike. There are no refreshment stalls or facilities available along the trail.



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