One of Sri Lanka’s busy railway routes is the South bound service that links the capital Colombo with the Southern cities mainly Galle & Matara. This journey could take from 3 to 6 hours from one end to the other, depending if it’s the Inter-City train or the slower train.
This route run’s mostly parallel to the ocean and the views you get are just stunning. In the morning, you will see a calm sea that’s just so inviting. If you are traveling from down South to Colombo, you could see the fishing nets being pulled in and the days catch on the beach. The occasional jogger or those who take a morning walk might just stop in their footsteps and wave at the passing train or just keep looking on in fascination. In the evening, its nothing but the sunset with all its glory & colour that will enchant you as you go home after a long day at the office.
Sunsets as glorious as it ever could be at Mt. Lavinia
It’s one of those train journey’s I always enjoyed taking when I used to travel to office by train in the late 80’s. The breeze from the ocean always cools you while you travel, even when the train is full with everyone going to work or going home after a busy day, it’s still a lot of fun as you are so close to the beach and the smell of sea spray hits your face.
It’s a good route to take as a lazy ride on a weekend or if you want to go down South with family or friends to have some fun on a slow train.
Unfortunately, due to its close proximity to the ocean, when the tsunami struck in 2004, it took the life of many of those who were on the trains at the time. The tracks took a while to be reconstructed and the service was resumed with warning systems placed for immediate action if a tsunami may strike again.
I am no expert on trains and always enjoyed riding and watching them go by, like these that passed while the sun was setting at Mount Lavinia recently;
Class S11 doing the after office run towards Colombo.
Riding the foot board – enjoying the view of the setting sun.
S11’s coupled together, the long train.
An old Class M4 – Coughing a cloud of smoke, but Still in service.
An Old Faithful On Duty at High Noon ( It must have been like 34C at the time it was spotted)
Yes, I wish we were back in the water at Belihul Oya. Its so hot at the moment here in the Middle East (around 40C) that it feels like we are in the middle of a desert even though there isn’t one for a good 100Kms.
Oh, the cool water and the fun we had when we visited the place around June last year is just unforggetable. It was our first visit to the Rest House. We had passed the place many a times but never stopped for a dip or a meal. Now we are longing to be back in the water some day, hopefully soon. Nature at its Best, recommended for anyone for a day trip from Colombo (best is a weekday, leave a bit early around 6.30am as it takes about 2 ½ hours to get there and ample time to get soaked before lunch) .
The drive up to Balangoda and beyond is also very interesting specially after you pass Rathnapura, the open spaces, green fields, distant mountains, lonely and winding roads and the little wayside kade’s with fruits, and snacks, hmmmm…….. Sri Lanka in full glory.
The small draw back was the Rest House lunch menu. I hope they could update the menu, we love the usual rice and curry spread at Hotel Corporation or UDA Rest Houses, they are clean, tasty and the prices are very reasonable. But the rest house at Belihul Oya lacked a bit of variety, and our request for a bit of spice saw us sweating from place we could not recognize. Everybody who was feeling drowsy after the dip in the oya was now wide awake and babbling like lunatic parrots with their mouths on fire. The fruit salad which was the only thing available did little to sweeten the mouth, but we gobbled it as that was all the help we could get in our moment of pain.
We left the place around 4.00pm and was back in Colombo by 8.30pm which is a bit longer than usual if it is not raining. Anyway, it was a good trip with everyone enjoying themselves, hope to repeat it soon.
More clicks of the Trip http://www.flickr.com/photos/86008366@N00/