Arangala, which is named after its shape which is similar to Arungal (අරුංගල් – traditional ear rings) is situated beside the A9 (Kandy – Jaffna) road at Naula. The highest among the three peaks is about 750m high.
Me and my friend got onto a Wawuniyawa bus at 6:50 a.m from Katugasthota and reached Naula at about 8:00 a.m. we got down the bus near the Youth Corps Camp, Naula and bought some snacks and milk packets as we didn’t bring the lunch. Then we walked back the way towards Matale and took the concrete road (as directed by the shop owner) that led us to the foot of Arangala.
The concrete road had a dead end and a foot path along which a plastic pipeline runs began immediately. (The pipeline started as 1 n 1/2″ PVC, reduced to a 3/4″ conduit and was broken from several place. We couldn’t figure out what it was used for.) The pipeline came to an end at a dried up water stream.
As per the reports we referred to and as a friend of mine advised, we kept going along a non clear foot path for a while and it vanished after sometime as these dry zone forests don’t have a thick undergrowth. So it was basically common senses and instincts we relied on, to get up as we knew that we have to go along the flank side and get to the back of the mountain avoiding the main rock face in order to get onto the peak. Halfway to the top, we started to follow up the dried up water way again.
It was significant that the earth was totally covered with dried up leaves and made the off trail climb up so hard as it was so slippery. As well we had to be mindful about the serpents within the leaves as one of my friends was stung by a viper few months ago at Arangala. The climb up didn’t have any exact path as we continuously diverted to avoid steep climbs over slippery earth. but we made sure that we go parallel to the waterway.
Halfway to the peak, we started to follow up the dried up water stream and it went well as it led us all the way up to the top. But unstable rocks we stepped on rolled off several times.
It took about three hours for us to get onto the peak. There are three peaks, south most one with a kind of pagoda being the shortest while the north most one being the highest. But the middle one offers the best 360º view as the highest has a blunt peak. We spent some time on the peaks enjoying the snacks we brought, doing some photography and enjoying the glamorous view.
Then we started climbing down. But we decided to follow the water stream all the way down without diverting. But after getting halfway down, the water way went under a very shrubby area. So we diverted towards the main rock face in search of the path we took uphill. (We have been marking the path by making cuts on the trees on our way up.) But instead, we found another waterway and we followed it down. It went well and we reached the pipeline where we left into the woods.
The total climb down took only about one and a half ours as we took only one rest and kept up a high pace. Then on the way towards the main road, we asked a person in a nearby house whether there is a well which we can use to wash ourselves as I saw one in a review. He (A war veteran who had only one leg.) said ‘No’, but was kind enough to let us wash ourselves from a tap at his house and even gave us a lift to the main road on his three wheeler which his son drove.
We had some roti from a nearby shop and took a bus back to Kandy.