Rumors were everywhere sating the rear stating Nelu has bloomed in Horton Plain around end of October 2013. I have seen few photographs in Facebook, but was very busy during all the weekends in November with scheduled plans except for the second weekend. It was then I saw a message stating few of my friends are leaving to Horton Plains to witness this rare event. But unfortunately they have plan to leave on a Friday morning, leaving me no choice but to give it up because of it was a working day.
Pattipola Railway Station
Then I got a call from Ashan, one of my friend at Monaragala who has plan to go to Horton Plains on Saturday. He was suffering from loneliness as Horton Plains entrance does not allow lonely travelers to enter its territory. He wanted me to join him somehow, but the issue was I had to go to Pattipola on train all by myself which was kind of a boring activity. But Ashan was determined to get me down there so he has managed to find a partner for myself. Thinuwan is a frequent visitor to Horton Plains for his research activities and we both got in to fully packed night mail train on Friday around 7.30 PM. I was horrified about going to Pattipola standing all the way in a packed train but fortunately we both got seats by the time we reached Rambukkana railway station.
It was around 4.30 in the morning when we reached Pattipola station. We were more than happy to call Ashan and wake him up in the cold morning and get him down to the station to guide us to his accommodation. He has stayed in a small guesthouse near Pattipola station known as Karunadasa Rest House , very nice and clean place with hot water for a good rate. We had a quick wash and a tea and waited there for our taxi to arrive. Udara, who is a tracker in Horton Plains was the person we have contacted to take us to the Horton Plain entrance.
Nelu bloomed by the road Just about 500 meters before park ticketing counter, we came across first forest patch with Nelu blossom. It was an amazing view and I couldn't just watch it, so I got down and started clicking while my friends was laughing at me. Within few minutes we reached the Pattipola entrance and in new minute were at Thotupola Kanda trial head. Nelu bloomed close to Pattipola entrance
Thotupola Kanda was one of the main areas where Nelu has bloomed in huge quantities. According to Udara, they can be seen in Ohiya entrance area, Kirigalpotta trial and around Bakers Falls area as well. In Sri Lanka there are around 31 different Nelu species while 26 of them are endemic to Sri Lanka. References state there are 8 Nelu species in Horton Plains. Out of them, this season there seems to be around six species has bloomed. Out of these eight Nelu species, seven species are endemic to Sri Lanka.
Sun rays on Nelu Nelu on both side of the Totupola Kanda trial
It says, Nelu plants are bloomed once in their life cycle which has a 12-14 years span. Once they were bloomed they die away giving chances to their next generation. However, there seems to be not much researches done about these plants.
Nelu everywhere Written records of this event is first done by Thomas Farr, the person who created Farr Inn, which is the Horton Plains information center now. He has witness this phenomenal event first in 1881 and again in 1893 and 1905 before he left the country in 1912. He has predicted that Nelu will bloom in 1917 as well. In his last sighting of Nelu, he also has witness them bloomed in Adams Peak and Piduruthalagala area as well. Thotupola Nelu blossom
Nelu has last bloomed in 2001 at Horton Plains and this time they were bloomed again after 12 years.
During our visit on Thotupola kanda trial and surrounding, we have seen around seven species of Nelu bloomed in the area. There were lot of bees. We even saw a beehive. Thotupola kanda trial was amazing with bloomed Nelu flowers on both sides of the trial. Weather was blessing us all the way giving us uninterrupted view around the peak which was covered with mist during my last visit. Seven Nelu flowers we saw were in purple, blue, white, pink white, Yellow, Pink mix purple and purple white colors. I missed the importance of capturing all separate species that we saw at that time, however I'll share what I have captured with all of you.
Nelu and the Adams Peak
This phenomenal event occurs once every 12 years and last only for 2-3 weeks. So if you haven't been able to witness it, you will have to stay another 12 years till 2025 to see it again. Till then enjoy what we have captured in our quick visit. We have spent around five very productive hours in Horton plain enjoying Nelu beauties before getting back to Pattipola railway station and got back home on same day via Rajadhani Express. I must thanks Ashan for pushing me to go there as well as Thinuwan for accompanying myself. Enjoyed every bit of it!
Karunadasa Rest House, Pattipola
Contact: Mr. Karunadasa (0524900110)
Udara for three-wheel hire (0770046050)