DIYATHALAWA, SRI LANKA
Diyatalawa is a garrison town in the central highlands of Sri Lanka, in the Badulla District of Uva Province. It is at an altitude of 1,499 m and has become a popular destination for both foreign and local holiday makers.
You can visit the area just for a walk through the pine trees and may be to climb up to the ‘Fox’ it self. If you do reach the top of the (Fox) hill you will be treated to a 360 view of the Uva Basin. There are two entrances to this area and the main entrance which is from the ‘Halangoda Lake’ side is controlled by the Army and the other is through the Airforce camp. Visitors are usually not allowed in to this area as this area is used for military training. The best way to get in is to be accompanied by someone you know and works for the Army or the Airforce. If you do go, try to make it either quite early in the morning or evening.
This is a man made lake and has been named after (late) Brigadier (I think) Halangoda who had been instrumental in creating this small lake. The story is that this place had originally been a marsh/bog where the people in the area used to carry out gemming illegally. It had resulted in a number of deaths and had also been a hindrance to the conduct of military training. Hence, a bund had been constructed blocking the natural flow of water thus creating the lake. An evening stroll along the road by the lake would be really nice. There is also a small ‘Children’s Park’ (managed by the Army) on the banks of the lake (It’s closer to the entrance to the Polo Grounds). But, I am sure they will not object to children using it. If you do know somebody in the Army or Airforce (especially if stationed in Diyathalawa) you should be able to get him/her to organize a boat ride on this lake. On a clear day (no rain) a boat ride in the evening will be a very nice thing to do.
This is a large open space where the game of polo had been played at the time Diyathalawa had been an R&R (military acronym for Rest & Recuperation or Rest & Recreation) station for the British military forces. However, this area is now part of the Army’s Military Academy and you and I are not allowed in unless accompanied by somebody from the Army.
Galkanda Vantage Point
This is a place from where you could have a birds eye view of the Uva Basin and the Diyathalawa town in particular. Getting there is not too difficult. The track to the vantage point starts from a point on Haputale – Diyathalawa. I have driven a vehicle (car) with difficulty almost up to the vantage point but that was some time ago and I do not know the if it’s possible to do so now. Also, I know that the local authority has now constructed some sort of a garbage re-cycling plant almost at the start of this track. Hence, it might be a little difficult on the nose to get past it. Of-course, if you are walking then you can always avoid this facility.