Thunhisgala (Kalupahana) in the Knuckles Mountain Range
Thunhisgala, or somebody called Kalupahana, is the 6th highest peak in the Knuckles Mountain range. It divides both Kandy and Matale districts, where it is situated on the border. The highest point of this mountain is 1617m above sea level. Thunhisgala is not a famous destination among most Sri Lankan travelers. But it is very popular among local hikers and mountaineers.
Thunhisgala is situated in the middle of the Knuckles Forest Range, where it is extremely difficult to reach. There are three main routes you can choose to do the hike:
1) Via Wattegama, Bambarella, and Lebonon Estate
2) Via Meemure
3) Via Riverston, Atanwala, and Duwili Ella
Here is the Google Maps location of Thunhisgala Mountain.
There is no public transportation available on each of the above routes. If you like to cross this lovely mountain, we recommend you choose the first route, which is via Wateegama, Bambarella, and Lebonon Estate. The buses are available from Wategama to Bambarella. Since you need to walk more than ten kilometers to complete your goal,
The other two routes are not commonly used, but either from Meemure or from Riverston, it is a hard journey to complete through the dense forest. If you choose any of the above routes, we recommend you bring a well-trained guide.
Lebonon Estate to Thunhisgala
If you choose the above-mentioned first route, your walk will start at the Lebonon Estate. It is the last human-inhabited area on that route. From there, you will enter the jungle first. Rathnagiriya Mountain and Wind Mountain are the two mountain peaks you will meet during this journey. A 5- to 6-kilometer walk will take you to the KMP Wadiya. It is an old house that was built by the Cadamom planters in the late 20th century.
Before 40 years, the area was very popular for the cadamom plantation. But then it was banned by the government because of its damage to the Knuckles Forest and its water resources. Anyhow,KMP wadiya is a symbol for memorizing those histories. Today, some people live there.
Most travelers will end their journey on the first day after they arrive at the KMP Wadiya House. There are 4-5 rooms where travelers can stay for a night. You can cook and enjoy it with your team, and there is enough space to sleep and for overnight stays.
Normally, on the second day, travelers reach Thunhisgala Peak. You need to walk a very difficult route along the dense forest cover to reach there. The trees on this mountain are not very tall; most of them are not more than one meter high and are called dwarf trees.
What you can observe from the top
You will definitely enjoy yourself once you reach the top of the Thunhisgala mountain. It looks like paradise for every traveler and a dream for somebody. They won’t forget to take the famous selfie from the top. You will definitely have an unforgettable view.
Thunhisgala is another good view point to observe the Knuckles Mountain Range. From there, you can easily identify the Five Peaks of Knukles, Lakegala, Wamarapugala, Gombaniya, Manigala, and the forests towards the Riverston areas.
If you are a someone who is looking for a guide for this hike, we strongly recommend this person. He is a experienced local guide who has vast knowledge in Knuckles Mountain Range:
Call/Whatsapp: 071 085 7333 (Kalana)
Other facts about the Thunhisgala
Some people call this mountain Kalupahana Mountain, and it is very popular among the local people. The name ‘Thunhsigala’ has been derived because of this mountain’s three sides. The name for three sides in Sinhala, The name for three sides in Sinhala, meaning “thunhis,” has come. Here, you can experience very huge winds during the May to September periods. As a result, its trees have been reduced in height.
Things to Consider Before the Hike
- First, you should note that Thunhisgala is one of the most difficult mountains to climb in Sri Lanka. Therefore, it’s better if you have prior experience before choosing this destination. The place is extremely difficult for beginners and amateurs, surely.
- You should reserve at least three full days for this tour. Starting from KMP Wadiya, you need one single day to go to the top and come back again. Normally, travelers come first to KMP Wadiya. Then the second day will be fully dedicated to crossing the Thunhisgala and returning to KMP Wadiya. The next day, they separate for the departure. Therefore, you need to bring enough resources for those three days.
- You must bring enough dry foods, medicine, raincoats, and other hiking equipment. It is recommended that you take at least 2 liters of water for a single person. In some parts of the area, there are no available water resources.
- November to February is considered the rainy season in the Knuckles range, and it is a very difficult time period to cross this mountain. Leeches will attack you with every step you take. Therefore, it is advisable to bring leech protection every time you go there. Mist is another disturbance you must accept during the rainy season.
- September, October, March, and April are the perfect months for the hike. The time period from May to September is considered the dry season for the area, where you can expect huge winds.
- You should be careful around the snakes, Mauza plants, and wasp caves. You will surely meet these difficulties during this tour, and you must prepare your clothes and shoes for them.
- You must note that you shouldn’t forget to damage the plants and animals in the Knuckles Range. Because the entire range is a well-protected area of the country. It is prohibited to enter the jungle without a licensed guide or permission from the Wildlife Department.
- Please bring everything you are taking, especially polythene. You should keep in mind not to damage the beauty of the Knuckles range.
- You can cross Thunhisgala via Meemure and Riverston. But don’t try those routes without a proper guide. However, on every occasion, you must do this hike with an experienced guide. Otherwise, you will face many troubles, and no one will help you overcome those troubles.
Other nearby travel destinations to cover:
- Gombaniya Mountain
- Meemure Village
- Lebanon Estate Waterfall
- Duwili Ella
- Dumbara Ella
- Infinity Pool
- Thaliya Watunu Ella Waterfall
- Huluganga Ella Waterfall
- Knuckles Five Peaks
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