Waterfalls In Sri Lanka
May it be an elegantly cascading beauty that requires a few hours of hiking to reach, or a gushing mass of impatient waterfall you randomly encounter by the roadside, Sri Lanka has it all covered. Having the highest waterfall density in the world with a recorded 382 waterfalls spread throughout the country, Sri Lanka is the place to be to see all kinds of waterfalls.
Fed by two half-yearly monsoons, rivers rush down the rocky precipices and form spectacular waterfalls. Only some of these picturesque waterfalls can be viewed with ease as the others are located inside thick forests and around tea plantations.
The waterfalls in Sri Lanka are well distributed and are not confined to the hill country. Colombo District has four waterfalls; two of which are just four meterseach, with the others being 10m and 15m. Kurunegala District has just one of six meters andGampaha and Hambantota districts have two each.
The largest number of waterfalls are in the Ratnapura district (109) followed by Nuwara Eliya (75) and Kegalle (40). Some of the waterfalls have interesting folk tales and legends attached to them.
1. Baker’s Waterfalls
Fed from BelihulOya, the Bakers falls cascades down from the Horton Plains near World’s end. With the spectacular backdrop of mountains and surrounded by rare black monkeys and rhododendrons in bloom; its icy water forms a curtain of mist around it. It is named after Sir Samuel Baker, who discovered it.
Even though not visited often due to its remote location, the Bambarakanda falls boasts of being the tallest waterfall in the country. Being 263 meters high, it is the 299th tallest waterfall in the world and is a seasonal waterfall that peaks capacity from October to March. Situated in Kalupahana in the BadullaDistrict,It is only four miles away from the Colombo–Bandarawela road in a forest glade, reached on the Haputale – Kalupahana Road and 22 km from Balangoda- the closest town. Bambarakanda falls is formed by a branch of Walwe River which is known as KudaOya. With the breathtaking view around and the picturesque view from the top of the mountain, one should not miss this place in their bucket list as the beauty of the fall is that the whole stream sways to and fro due to the very strong winds blowing across it.
3. Bopath Ella
Tking the shape of a “BO” leaf, the Bopath Ella boasts of the highest turn-over of visitors due to its convenient location of Devipahala off Kuruwita on A4 High Level road close to Ratnapura. But it is also notorious in claiming victims who lower their guard as well. At a height of 30 meters, this heart shaped falls capture the hearts of passing by travelers and tempts them to stay.
4. Devon Waterfalls
Devon Falls is 97 m high and are located on 1,140 m above the sea level, situated in the Devon Tea Plantation, named after a pioneer coffee planter called Devon. It is situated in 6km west of Thalawakale Nuwara Eliya District and is formed by Kothmmaleoya which is a branch of Mahaveli River. It is one of the most magnificent falls in the country whichhas several cascades that add to its beauty and a clear space in front of the fall which magnifies the gigantic nature of the fall.
5. Diyaluma Waterfall
With its impressive heigt of 220m, Diyaluma is the 2nd highest waterfall in Sri Lanka and is often mistaken to be the highest. It is located 6 km away from Koslanda in Badulla District and flows towards KirindiOya underneath a bridge on the highway from Beragala to Wellawaya. The name in Sinhalese language means “rapid flow of water” and it lives up to its name specially in the rainy season. According to a local legend, Gods, seeing the heartbreak of a prince whose runaway romance ended in the death of his sweetheart whom he had tried to haul over the Diyaluma precipice, created this beautiful cascade to weep forever in the wilderness. The top of the fall is famous as a camping site.
6. Dunhinda Waterfall
Even though it is significantly smaller than the tallest of the waterfalls at 64 maters, “Dunhinda” is one of the mostly spoken-about waterfalls in Sri Lanka. It rivals almost all the waterfalls when it comes to natural beauty. Situated about 2 km distance from the main road which runs to Taldena from the remote city Badulla in the Uva Province this is easily accessible and is frequently visited. In native tongue “Dun” means mist or vapour, which symbolizes the curtain of mist the falls spray around its surroundings. On the way to Dunhinda, “KudaDunhinda” ( “Kuda” means small in Sinhala )can be seen the, which is the prologue to its mighty brother. It is formed by the BuduluOya River that flows through mountain boarder of Uva highlands. The track of 2km is worth the sight of this beauty.
7. KirindiOya Waterfall
The KirindiOya Falls is the third largest waterfall in Sri Lanka which cascades down 200 metres. It is situated near to the Katupitiya road which is between Ratnapura and Pelmadulla. A footpath near a local tea factory leads quite close to the falls.
8. Mapanana Ella
Mapanana Falls is found at the foot of the “Sri Pada”( Adam’s Peak ) range and is one of the tallest and the most beautifully formed falls in Sri Lanka. Meandering its way down from a height about 150 meters, it carries cool and crystal clear waters from the springs originating in the peak wilderness sanctuary. Getting closer to this falls, however, is quiet dangerous due to the hazard of sudden gushes of water especially during rainy seasons
9. Olu Ella
Dancing its way through several cascades before finding its way under a wooden bridge along the road, Olu Ella adds to the rustic scenery of the village. Situated in a remote village called Malalpola off Yatiyantota on the High Level road from Avissawella to Nuwara-Eliya, Oluellais quite famous among travelers, even if the locals take it for granted. You can experience the lush feeling of water spray on your face as you cross the wooden bridge at the foot of the falls.
10. Ravana Ella
Being one of the widest known with a reckless reputation of being wild, the Ravana falls also is an important location narrated in the famous Indian epic, the Ramayana. Situated in the Dry zone off Welimada, the falls is a tourist hotspot as well as a water source to the villagers who cultivates the surrounding mountain. The cave behind the Ravana falls, aptly named Ravana falls cave, is said to be the place where king Ravana held the kidnapped Sita captive. TheRavana falls is not a competitor for the tallest title at 25 meters in height, but sure has its unique charm of being wild. It is located 6 kilometes away from the famous Ella railway station. The fall is fed by a tributary of River Kirindi and is visible from the Ella-Wellawaya road.
11. Rikille Ella
Rikille Ella is an elegant waterfall in a serene landscape situated in the remote but motorable road from Bulathkohupitiya to Dedugala; both very small villages in the hill country. Rikille, which stands for a twig, aptly conveys the aura of the thin and elegant falls, which is an ideal spot for relaxing.
12. St.Clair’s Waterfall
Situated close to the main road from Avissawella to Nuwara-Eliya, the St.Clair’s Waterfall cascades down in two tires inviting regular bathers because it is fairly easily reacheable from footpaths downhill through greeny tea shrubbery. Named after a British colonist, it can be seen from the Main Line rail track close to Talawakelle as well. The St. Clair’s Falls are called the “Little Niagara of Sri Lanka” for being one of the widest waterfalls in Sri Lanka. It is 80 meters high and is situated 3 km west of the Talawakele townon the highway at Hatton – Nuwara Eliya. It is one of the 6 waterfalls formed by the Kotmaleoya, (which is a tributary of Mahaweli river) which was formed due to the Kotmale Hydropower project
13. The Lovers Leap Ella
The 100 feet high Lovers Leap begins its journey as a fountain at the Southern slope of Sri Lanka`s highest mountain Pidurutalagala and can be seen from the Nuwara Eliya town.
14. Galagediyana Ella Falls
This 35 feet tall waterfall is situated quite close to Colombo just off Dedigama. It is also situated close to the KotaveheraDagaba, which is known for its caves and magnificent stone arch. The name of the falls is derived from the heap of rocks from which it wildly cascades down, leaving a strong impression on visitors.
15. Ramboda Ella Falls
This gigantic fall consists of three distinct steps with the first being 100 meters tall situated in the jungle above the A-5 road (near 53 Km post), the second flowing close to the road and being 3 meters tall and the final being 100 meters tall flowing down to the Ramboda basin. The Ramboda inn situated in the basin offers a spectacular view of the entire waterfall with a curtain of mist engulfing the top section of the falls.
16. Poona Oya Ella Falls
Situated right next to the Ramboda falls, the Poona oya Ella is another one of the waterfalls that falls to the Ramboda basin. It is one of the 5 waterfalls that descends to form the Kotmale river. Ot is a twin waterfall about 100m tall and both falls about 4m away from each other.