Simply, a nature visit on this charming island of Sri Lanka is never complete without some good trekking and hiking. And believe us, this magical paradise houses ample opportunities for that. This very reason has become a major factor in increasing the number of tourists who visit this country each year. However, there are many hidden marvels in Sri Lanka that are perfect for hikes. One such amazing site is the Bible rock, which is also known as “Bathalegala”. It is filled with wonders starting from the name itself. Still, this Bible Rock hike is not that popular among tourists. Hence, we thought of sharing with you all about this wonderful place. Let’s explore more of this eye-catching majestic rock that lies in the Central province!
The History of Bible Rock
Bible rock contains a formation very similar to the world heritage site Sigiriya citadel. In fact, the majesty and the glory of the Sigiriya are visible through this rock as well.
Lying in the Central Province, amidst many heritages of the country, the glamour of the rock heightens as much as its significance. In the same way, it had been an important landmark in the times of British colonists as well. Starting with the name, it obviously has a liaison to the religious book of Britain, the Bible. Considering the overview of the peak point of the rock, which is quite plain, the name was named after a book.
Also, this had been an important watchpoint for the locals in the times of the British to spot the trespassers. According to historical records, the reason for it is that the top of the Bible rock gives the best and clear view of Kadugannawa pass and Kegalle valley.
Location of Bible Rock
As mentioned above, the Bible Rock lies in the area that belonged to the proud Kandyan Kingdom. Hence, it remains as a huge crown adding value to the Kandyan splendor.
Particularly, the location of this majestic rock is in the close proximity of Aranayake which can be accessed from Mawanella. This is visible and seems to be tall when you travel through the Kandy road passing Kadugannawa. This rock is 797.7m high and 710m wide. This can be accessed easily from Mawanella and there are two ways to reach the top.
However, folks say that this lies just below the earth’s magnetic field and thus the place is dangerous when it’s lightning. Hence, it is better to refrain from hiking, trekking, or camping at Bathalegala during the heavy rainy season.
However, with its location and surrounding beauty along with the wide view it gives, Bible rock is located in an ideal place to be worth the hike or trek for any person who is aware of enjoying nature in its real senses. Hence, this is certainly one of the places that prove the unbeatable natural beauty in Sri Lanka.
How to Reach Bible Rock?
It is a norm in Sri Lanka that if a journey starts with a train ride, that journey gives you more than what you expected from it. Hence, the bible rock hike also gives such a sentiment if it starts with a train ride.
It doesn’t matter where you live, what matters is whether there is a railway station in your vicinity. If yes, you can take a train to Kandy or Colombo which passes Kadugannawa station on the way. Kadugannawa should be the destination of your train ride, but it is the beginning point of the hike.
After getting down at Kadugannawa, you need to take a bus to Mawanella from the bus stand right next to the railway station. Then at Mawanella, you should take the Mawanella-Aranayaka bus and get down at the top of the Hathgampola temple road. There you find the direction board which shows the way to the Bathalegala road. Here you officially start your hike to majestic Bible rock!
Hikes are meant to be done by foot rather than going half a way by a vehicle. But since there is a saying that everything has two sides, for ease, there are two ways to reach the top. Obviously, one way is comparatively easy while the other way makes the journey quite difficult.
The Two Paths to Reach the Bible rock
Starting straight from the place you got down from the bus, walking up to about 500m to reach the top in around 3.5 hours literally gives you the best experience of hiking. This is a tough journey where you will have dozens of stops to get rid of the fatigue you feel. It will only take around two hours to reach the trailhead and the rest to reach the top of the rock. Thus, if you are going for a one-day hike it is better to start your journey as early as possible. That is because this is a walk that you need to get on the top before sunrise and get down before the sun sets as there can be animals roaming around towards the end of the day.
The other way to complete the hike is reaching the trailhead through a vehicle and walking up to the summit starting from there. However, since the road up to the trailhead is quite narrow yet steep, you can only use small vehicles like buddy cars, three-wheelers, and motor bicycles. It reduces around 10m of the way, yet you have to walk up to 500m to reach the summit from the trailhead.
Hiking is always a hard journey, though there are a few ways to reduce the difficulty slightly. Thus, if you are not ready for a tiresome trip where it stops, don’t start your walk as it will only make the journey tougher. If you are mentally strong enough to face any challenge, you will be able to enjoy the journey even if you are physically weak. It is the universal logic of hiking, and it’s the same with the Bible Rock hike as well!
Is It Hard to Hike Bible Rock?
This is one of the common questions that can be asked when it comes to any hike. And yes, the Bible Rock hike is a bit hard.
Obviously! Hiking is no easy thing to do! BUT, you can make it easier by being thoughtful.
The Nature of the Bible Rock Hike
When it comes to Bible rock hikes, it starts with a tarred road and the route gets steeper through to the summit. The trail road is tarred and consists of Maana and rubber trees beside it. Hence, when the wind blows it gives a cool breeze that makes your journey less tiresome.
One of the landmarks you find on the way is a stone well. Records reveal that it is more than 60 years old. The specialty of this well according to the villagers is that it never runs out of water. After about 1 kilometer from that point, the splendid bible rock becomes visible while getting the narrow, sloppy road a bit steeper.
Then after like 1.5 kilometers, the road gets into a lush forest covered with tall trees. After that point, you could not really find a clear path but edgy rocks balanced at fringes and steep footpaths. This is a continuous climb until the top since it is a thick and dense jungle.
Towards the end of the climb, it makes the journey a bit harder with the rocky terrain. The rocky terrain leads you to a few steps that have to be climbed with the help of a wire railing. After that, in the end, you will find a challenging slippery footpath with a few steps to the summit. Be alert and careful to make your journey easier and more entertaining. The best part is that the cool breeze and the beautiful surroundings will vanish all the fatigue and pains of you in the course of a few seconds.
The Summit of the Bible Rock
As it says every hard work pays off with a worthy and deserving end, the bible rock ends with the same. It gives a breathtaking and speechless view at the topmost of the rock. Looking down from the top will show every bit of greenery with paddy fields and maana trees amidst a light mist spread around.
Apart from that, you will see many important landmarks lie within the vicinity of Kandy on the Southern viewpoint. The Samasara mountain, the Ambuluwawa Peak on the southeast, Uthuwankanda, Urakanda on the right, Devanagalakanda, Adam’s Peak, Kabaragala, the Rakshawa Mountain and the splendid Asupini Ella at a distance are among them.
Towards the Northern viewpoint, you will be able to see some other major attraction points around Kandy. The Alagalla mountain peak, the Knuckles mountain range, Urakanda on the left, the Kadugannawa town, the Colombo-Kandy main road, and the Central Plateau are some of them.
On the summit, you will find remains of an old forest retreat used by monks. It is known as “Bathalegala Bauddhaloka Temple”, and was built in the 1970s. It consists of a little Stupa, a shrine room, and a huge entrance bell. A little down from that point you will have a rock cave that can shelter about 10-12 people. It is an abandoned cave that lies under a huge overhanging rock.
Above all, the words indeed cannot sum up the beauty of the view that the Bible Rock summit offers, yet only the naked eye can!
Tips for the Perfect Bible Rock Hike
There are a lot of things to know before you step on a hike or a camping trip. The following sections will help you with what you need to know for a perfect Bible Rock Hike!
Best Time for the Hike
When it comes to the Bathalegala hike, it is better to choose a day in between the months of January to April. That is simply because the rainy season can be too dangerous for this hike since the track is very slippery. Also, as mentioned above lightning hits the rock many times a day during the rainy period. So, make sure you avoid the rainy season when you plan your Bible Rock hike. The official website of the Department of Meteorology will help you with it. Apart from that, if you are wondering about the best time of the day for the hike, what we can mention is that the sooner you start the journey the easier and the safer it ends.
Preparation for the Hike
The next thing that you should be concerned about is the clothes and the packing. It is better to wear light, comfortable and flexible clothes in order to be prepared for anything. Also, be concerned about the shoes. It is better to wear a comfortable pair of tracks or canvas since it makes the journey easier. Also, be attentive to packing an extra set of clothes since hiking has no way back if something happens. Meanwhile, don’t forget to pack sanitary essentials and first aid along with some balms that are repellent to various insects.
Then comes the next step of carrying things. Do not pack your bag with unnecessary stuff, just make sure you have only essentials. Do not carry a lot of food, but some snacks since the input of excessive food make your journey tiring. Make sure to carry enough water, along with some glucose packets that boost up your energy. Do not forget to carry binoculars and cameras since the view is priceless.
Finally, a kind reminder! Do not forget to bring down whatever you take up including all the litter. Leave nothing, but your footprints!
The Bottom Line
If you are a nature lover, who has a great passion for hiking, we suggest to you that the Bible Rock Hike is simply a must. The experiences it would offer you would be second to none, and this trip is sure to offer you some wonderful memories in your travel diary. So, take part in the Bible Rock hike, and feel the delight yourself. Happy and safe traveling!