The horseshoe-shaped Baker’s Bend is a viewpoint located at the 23rd bend of the Nonpareil estate road leading from Belihuloya to Nagrak Banglow.
At a height of 5,000 feet MSL, the viewpoint affords panoramic views towards Balathuduwa, Gommolikanda, Adarakanda mountain range to the left and southern plains, Samanala and Udawalawe Reservoirs to the right, Nagrak division and Horton Plains loom behind usually covered in mist. [ Watch ]
British governor Samuel Bakers used to traverse from Ihala-Galagama area to Horton plains and had to pass the area where the current bend is. The horse he rode suddenly slipped and fell off the cliff but the governor survived.
There is another version of this story as well. Mr.Baker and his wife were riding on a horse cart and it had gone out of control and off the cliff at the bend. Both Mr.Baker and wife had managed to get off before it was too late.
Whatever version is correct, The horse had died. Grieved by the loss, he built this bend in the shape of a horseshoe to commemorate his travel companion.
Go along the road until you reach the Nonpareil Tea factory premises.
Vehicles are not allowed past the factory gate unless you have a booking in Nagrak Bungalow. The distance is about 11 km from Belihuloya to the bend but you can cut this distance using shortcuts through the estate.
A 4wd vehicle is recommended but a generic car can also make it to the factory premises. The road condition is decent up until the Tamil school (Google Maps) and gets worse after that point.
Don’t take the risk of taking small car types like Alto or Maruti to the factory. In such case, you can park the vehicle somewhere around the school (Near Nonpareil waterfall) and walk the rest.
There is also a CTB bus operating from Pambahinna every day starting from 06:00 AM which goes up to the factory.
Note: If you’re going all the way to Nagrak Bungalow, a 4WD vehicle is a must.
You’ll have to walk beyond the factory to the bend. Please take the below-shown shortcut so that you can make the journey in an hour. There is, obviously, some elevation gain to cover and the footpaths can be treacherous if it is raining.
If you feel uncomfortable walking through the estate, better stick to the road even though it takes longer.
Tip: The factory also uses tractors to transport tea leaves from upper divisions, ask around if one is available.
Important: Baker’s bend and the surrounding area belong to Nonpareil Estate (Balangoda Plantations) and they have every right to forbid people from going if someone got caught misbehaving. Be a responsible traveler and do not litter the place or harm nature in any manner.
If you’ve time, you can hike all the way up to the Nagrak division. It is pretty close to Horton Plains national park. However, visitors are not allowed to enter the park from this side and will be fined if got caught.
Galagama Falls is another cascading beauty located well hidden within a cloud forest someway along the road to Nagrak. To reach there, you MUST have a guide.
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