The first time I ever was direct North of Puttalam was in 2010. My dear classmate Shantha Weerakoon suggested we drive thru the gravel road thru Wilpattu had just opened. Anyway he could not come because his dogs were having problems.
So I chatted with my mother till about 12pm. Next day was Sinhala Tamil New Year. so stocked up on booze on the way. Had a Nissan Wingroad (rental) and very low. The 30Km Puttalam to EVK took me 1.5 hrs. The road was not gravel, not tarred either. By the time I got to EVK the road had closed at 3pm. So slept in the car. Next day had a early morning bath in Nelum Wewa and then crossed Wilpattu. Took 2+ hours to cross the 40km across the Park.
This is the Dry Zone of Sri Lanka, no rain from around April to late October. However, thanks to the ancient Sinhalese Kings, this part of Sri Lanka has been Environmentally Engineered since around 300BC. eg Abhayawewa built by King Pandukabhaya. Walk at most a kilometer and there is a reservoir.
Always had a yen for the Dry Zone of Sri Lanka. So after seeing Nelum Wewa thought I would buy some land around. When I sounded the idea to others, most said it was stupid. Mostly because it was civil war borderlands. One of my perfect gentleman bosses Nihal de Silva, author and photographer got blown by a LTTE landmine inside the National Parjk.
Around July 2011 had decided to buy land in EVK. My good old pal Shantha Weerakoon was intrigued always wants to see new out of the way places. Other classmates were going on a Safari next day. There was no entrance to the park from EVK till bout 2015.
Anyway Weera and I came to EVK, Weera to check out the area. Me to check out three properties the local contact had arranged. Local contact played me out big time, but thats part of the learning curve as an outsider even in your on country.
So, even tho many said I was paying too much I paid much extra for going rate. Waterfront etc.
Anyway by Sept 2011 had bought the property.
So around end Sept came with another classmate, Dushyntha Peter and we brought my tent along.
There was no electricity, or running water. We walked down to the river did some of our three S's (shit.shower and shave). I preferred doing my swim pre dawn or post dusk, so oxford style.
Mohammed and Murugan. The road thru Wilpattu closes at 3:00 pm. This is the water tower for Eluvankulam, I slept here on the camp bed (booru anda) seen just behind Murugan.