“Guys. There’s this gorgeous place called Miracle Valley. We need to go there”
On a random evening sometime in January, Dilshan uttered these words. On much-planned day in July, four of us set out to Miracle Valley – finally – to experience the beauty of this nook in real life.
We set off by train, at 3:35 pm from Fort, and reached Kandy by 6:30 pm. The train ride was uneventful – we were in second class and slept most of the way because the heat was unbearable. However, if you are taking the train to Kandy, do look out for some scenic shots past Kadugannawa (though nothing like the Badulla track).
Once in Kandy, we were greeted by Priyanka, the proud and humble owner of Miracle Valley. Getting into the back of his Mahendra truck, armed to teeth with snacks and bags, we made our way to the destination, 65km away from Kandy. Have you ever heard of the Sinhala expression “කෑලි කපන්න පුලුවන් අඳුරක්”? I learnt the meaning of the phrase on that journey. Darkness fell, and the road was without light. I am pretty sure Priyanka drove from muscle memory and not because he could see much on the road. The air smelt fresh – you could smell “green”; and the surrounding was so thick with darkness that you could almost slice through it. All in all, by the time we reached the turn-off from the main road, we have already embraced that this was going to be a memorable experience.
The bumpy ride to Miracle Valley was uneventful, except for the frequent hitting-head-on-the-roof-because-of-the-bumpy-ride and the screeches made by roadside branches dragging along the canvas of the truck. The former made us glad we were hungry, and the latter was haunting.
By about 7:30/8, we arrived at our home for the weekend.
While we couldn’t see much of the surrounding, the house looked simply beautiful. We were told that this house was made brick by brick with Priyanka’s own hands – and it was nothing short of perfect. We were directed upstairs where there were two spacious rooms, two neat washrooms, a large open veranda and a balcony that was half the size of the entire upper floor. We were told that the balcony faces the Randenigala reservoir, although all we saw at that point were some lights flashing from the Power station.
A wash and a change later, dinner was served. The dinner consisted of home-made string hoppers, pol sambol, potato curry and a beef curry that no one (except me – too spicy for the little girl who likes her string hoppers with only kiri hodi) could get enough of. The dessert was banana fritters, which I believe deserves an entire blog post on its own. It was so SO good! And I don’t even like bananas that much! Priyanka was the perfect host, and kept us company through the dinner. He told us our options for the next day – to kayak our way up the reservoir or to go on a boat – and we obviously opted for kayaking, a decision we would question in less than 24 hours’ time.
Tired but already falling in love with the place, we opted to sleep on the balcony under the starry skies. I really wish there was any way to illustrate how gorgeous the sky looked with the million starts and satellites twinkling above us. It was a peaceful night, the four of us lying under warm blankets with a strong, fresh wind blowing across the balcony, staring at the numerous worlds above us and reflecting on what it means to be alive. Well, three of us did all that, and one of us was sound asleep the second his head hit the pillow.
Nisal and I were woken up by the bird songs and the feeling that Sun has already risen – we were hoping to watch the sunrise – only to realize that it was just 5am. The view that greeted us was nothing short of mesmerizing.
Like the soppy lovers that we are, we decided to snuggle under a blanket and simply watch the beauty around us, drinking in sights and smells and sounds that we haven’t sensed in a long long time.
Dilshan was the next to wake up, and promptly took to documenting the scenic beauty around us. Tea arrived, the Sun arrived, and a grumbling Annie woke up.
We were ready, or as ready as a non-morning person who was woken up at 6am could be, to take on our first day at Miracle Valley.
<Kayaking, hiking, and tears of paralyzing frustration – to be continued in the next post>