Do you remember ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai’, the famous World War II movie. Well, most of this movie, which was apparently pictured in Burma and Thailand was actually shot at Kitulgala in Sri Lanka. It was this 1957 British film that brought Kitulgula to the fore on the world map.
But, it is not just the movie that makes this place special. Kitulgala is blessed with immensely pretty nature that consists of dense green tropical forests, wavy hills, a fast mountain stream and oodles of beauty.
It was here over this very mountain stream, the Kelani Ganga, that the bridge in the movie was constructed. Today, you do not see the bridge as it was dismantled after the explosion that was a part of the movie. The only explosion that you can feel here is the explosion in your adrenalin levels when you raft down its ferocious waters. It is said to have Class 3 and Class 4 rapids during the monsoon season. During the dry season, it is a relatively calm river, but still offers Class 1 rapids.
By the side of this river is the colonial bungalow that calls itself the ‘Kitulgala Resthouse’. This place in itself is a great getaway. Since it is located by the side of the Kelani Ganga river, it offers splendid views of the river and the surrounding forest.
This rest house offers a great holiday experience for those staying in Colombo and nearby. Since it is just about 3 hours away, it is immensely popular with the locals. Its architecture, its rich association with the British film and its surroundings account for an interesting experience.
Even their kitchen is a treat for the palate. Their local delicacies and savouries are a definite for the taste buds. The place is a tad expensive, but the locale and the overall experience makes up for the slight pressure on the wallet.
During my recent trip to Sri Lanka, I just got to spend about 3 hours here which included an hour spent on the river. Hope to spend more quality time during my next trips to Sri Lanka. For anyone visiting the central highlands of Sri Lanka, do not give this place a miss. It will be totally worth even for a short pit stop.