Conquering the nine peaks of natural splendour: Namunukula

Conquering the nine peaks of natural splendour: Namunukula

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Most Sri Lankans escape the scorching April sun and head to the cold and misty highlands, seeking refuge with a refreshing walk surrounded by alluring nature. As the motorcades make their way up the hills, the mountain slopes carpeted in emerald greenery keep them company with breath-taking vista and crisp cold air. Among these peaks playing a game of hiding and seeking through the clouds is the iconic Namunukula mountain.

Standing tall in the backyard of Badulla, the Namunukula mountain range is one of Sri Lanka’s 12 highest mountains. Deciphering nine peaks in the Native Sinhalese language, the highest peak of Namunukula is at 2035m above sea level, making it the tallest peak in the east of Sri Lanka’s southern mountain range.

With easy trails to navigate along, paired with idyllic camping grounds, Namunukula is a haven for the adventure-devotee. Although the climb doesn’t demand you to be a veteran, it is a strenuously steep uphill hike. The surrounding nature stands mesmerising in solidarity with the hikers, giving them a deserving rest with a cold breeze, clean and cooling water springs and rare sights of macaque monkeys, sambhar deers and wild boars within its denseness. Lucky are those blessed with a glimpse of Sri Lankan leopards, an unusually scarce sight within these forested highlands.

Once you reach the peak, the panoramic view will steal the little breath left in you. The view from here is awe-inspiring, truly a destination worth the challenging journey. The clouds masquerade, taking on different shapes before blocking out the foliating views from time to time. On good days, the peak gives a crystal-clear view of the eastern and the southern coasts of the island where the deep blue waters wave from the distance.

The natives believe that Namunukula and its visitors are protected by a deity named Indaka. Small shrines for Lord Buddha, and gods Vishnu and Saman are dedicated at the top, inviting the visitors to pay gratitude for their protection and good health. After a demanding hike up the mountains, tourists face an easy descent through the winding roads towards the Spring Valley; the Uva province tea region delivering a harmonious blend of the world’s finest Ceylon tea. Wash away the sweat toiled by the hike with cold water springs along the trek and feel the breeze gust away the fatigue. Experience the warmth of Sri Lanka’s endless beauty at the coldest of altitudes when you visit the iconic Namunukula Mountain range.

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