Rassa Ella - The mystic waterfall
By Gamini Punchihewa

There are many fascinating waterfalls of great scenic beauty while other cascades, as to where their roots are concerned, are shrouded in mystery.

On a tour around the Kandy-Matale-Wattegama mountain frontiers, I chanced to see a cascading yet boisterous waterfall roaring down into rock water pools. The rock pool, from the point of its source joining the other end of its rivulet, remains a mystery.
About six miles off Wattegama, along the Kandy-Katugastota-Wattegama highway on the road to Panvila, is this mystic waterfall called Rassa Ella. Its name describes it well - that it is as mystic in name and origin.

Rasa Ella is different from all other such miniature 'fountains of paradise' - as romantically described by certain poets. A veil of water cascades down in a loud roar into the abysmal, gurgling waters below. From these rock pools, the rolling waters do not fall and join from the other end as any other waterfalls do, as at the rock pool from where the waterfall arises, there is not a ripple to be seen or even a murmur.

Strangely, the water joins the other end without physically revealing where it actually meets. The people around that area say that it ends in a sub-way that was constructed during the time of the kings of the Kandyan kingdom, as an escape route. Others say that the source lies submerged in the subterranean depths.

While seated on the culvert over Rassa Ella by the roadside, I met a bearded patriarch in his seventies with silvery beard flowing down like a waterfall itself. He smiled at me and asked me if I was seeking the source of the waterfall. When I replied in the affirmative, he told me an interesting and amusing story about Raja Maha Viharaya called Kubiyagoda situated about eight miles away from Wattegama. He said that he lived in its vicinity.

According to him, when the British held sway in the region, a certain English government agent visited Kubiyagoda Rahamaha Viharaya with his wife. His haughty wife was no respector of the sanctity of this hallowed Buddhist temple and she sat boldly upon the arm of the statue of Buddha that was enshrined there.

This act of desecration was brought to the notice of the high priest there. His samanera used to memorise some manthrams but the incumbent priest had requested him to stop learning them. Due to the disrespect done to the statue of Buddha by the GA's wife, the priest asked the samanera to repeat the manthrams once again.

When the samanera began chanting them the GA's wife fell senseless to the floor much to the GA's alarm. The high priest then told the GA that this was due to his wife having being disrespectful. More manthrams were recited and the woman came to her senses. The GA then asked the high priest what he could give him in return. The priest replied that salt was hard to come by in that place and from then on the GA saw to it that a bushel of salt was sent to the temple each month and the temple was never short of this commodity from then onwards.