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 Post subject: Waterfalls in Sri Lanka
 Post Posted: Sun Apr 24, 2005 4:04 pm 
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Waterfalls in Sri Lanka

17APR2005 / ST+

Waterfalls are a rich natural asset in any country. They are beautiful to look at and admired. Some, like the Niagara Falls are world famous and offer breathtaking views.

The Niagara is made up of two waterfalls in West New York, USA on one side and South Ontario in Canada on the other, lying between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, on the international border. American Falls are 55.5metres/182 feet high and 328m/1076 ft wide. Canadian Falls, known as Horseshoe Falls are 54m/177 ft high, 640 m/2100 ft wide. It has been a popular tourist attraction since the early 19th century.

Angel (upper fall) in Venezuela is considered the highest waterfall in the world. Its height is recorded as 975m/3212 ft. Among the ten highest waterfalls in the world, five are in Norway, two in South Africa, and one each in Zimbabwe and USA.

Sri Lanka, in comparison to its size, has perhaps the largest number of waterfalls of any country in the world. Indeed, there are nearly 400 in Sri Lanka. A recent study undertaken by the Lanka Council on Waterfalls (LCWF) - an organization set up to improve public awareness and understanding of water issues to promote the conservation and wise use of nature and natural resources - has recorded 382 waterfalls in Sri Lanka.

The waterfalls in Sri Lanka are well distributed and are not confined to the hill country. Even Colombo District has four waterfalls. Of course they are not very tall - two are just four metres each, another 10m and the fourth is 15m. Kurunegala District has just one - six metres tall. Gampaha 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 very interesting stories attached to them, mainly folk tales and legends. The most beautiful waterfalls have been selected for stamps and there have been a number of issues featuring waterfalls.

Bambarakanda Falls is the highest waterfall in our country. It is 241 metres and it ranks 48th among the 100 highest waterfalls in the world. It is formed by the Uduweriya Haputale mountains’ Kuda Oya, a tributary of the Walawe River.

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Bambarakanda Falls

Situated in the Badulla district, where there are 33 waterfalls, Bambarakanda falls within the Haldummulla Provincial Council area. It is on the Colombo-Badulla highway and is 18 km away from Belihuloya, where the popular rest house is. It is 27 km from Koslanda and is also quite close to the World’s End, one of Sri Lanka’s major natural tourist attractions. The approach to Bambarakanda is not difficult.

Second in the list is Kurunduoya Falls with a height of 189 meters. Thus we see a difference of 52m between the first and the second. It ranks as the 58th in the list of highest world waterfalls. It is one of 75 waterfalls in the Nuwara Eliya district.

Also called the Maturata Fall, its source is the Kurundu river from where the water cascades down into a deep ravine before joining the Mahaweli Ganga. On the road from Nuwara Eliya to Kandapola, it is situated in the hill country.

Diyaluma, the third highest waterfall in Sri Lanka, is one of the most popular mainly because of its easy accessibility. The 114 metres high waterfall is in the Ratnapura district which boasts of 109 waterfalls - the most in the country. Situated on the Koslanda-Wellawaya road, it is just six kilometers away from Koslanda and 13 km from Wellawaya.

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Diyaluma Falls

Diyaluma ranks 62nd in the list of highest waterfalls in the world. It offers a spectacular sight during the rainy season.

Among the legends related to Diyaluma is one about a king who had fallen in love with a young woman belonging to a lower caste. The king’s subjects were angry about it and the couple decided to flee. Arriving at the site of the fall, they began climbing. The king made it to the top but the creeper the woman was hanging onto became entangled in rocks and she plunged to her death. It is said that the tears shed by the king in his grief were collected by a deity and turned into the fall as it stands today.

Mapalana in the Ratnapura district is the fourth highest. It is 114m high and is in three sections. It is served by Ella Oya. According to the villagers, the fall has been named after a nobleman who came to bathe there.

Located in the Samanala Kanda, it is 22 km from Ratnapura at a village called Kondagala. The water gushes down so heavily during the rainy season that the loud noise can be heard as far as six kilometers away.

The fifth in the list is Laksapana Fall in the Nuwara Eliya district and is 129m in height. Considered one of the very popular waterfalls, many believe that it has got its name from the presence of iron ore (laksha) in the rocks over which the water flows. The Laksapana reservoir, where the fall is found, is used by power stations at New Laksapana, Canyon and Polpitye Samanala, resulting in a certain amount of water depletion.

The most convenient route to get to the Laksapana fall is the Hatton-Maskeliya road. Falling within the Ambagamuwa Korale, one has to pass the Pathana village to reach it. Ginigathena is the closest town.

Kirindi Falls in the Ratnapura district is 116m tall. The source of this breath-taking, 116m-high fall is the Kirindi Ela (stream), which flows from its starting point 940m up the Kuttapitiya mountain. The stream travels 13km before the cascading point in the Kaluwaramukalana Jungle. It then flows via the Denawaka River to the Kaluganga, located in the Bambarakotuwa Jungle. Local villagers say that there is a picture of a tortoise etched into stone here.

At the base of the fall, the water plunges into a deep pool called Diyagathwala. A popular story is that a flight of stone steps leads down to the bottom, where a treasure trove is hidden. But this may only be a myth since although the water completely dries up during times of drought, there have been no reports of a treasure being found here.

In the wooded area surrounding the fall, there is a multitude of plant species together with wildlife including wild boar, cobra, monkeys and reptiles. This area was previously known as 'Kustapitiya', meaning itch, as folklore has it that a king suffering from an itch had lived here. While villagers believe that sometimes human voices can be heard near the fall, they also say that fireballs can be seen in the skies above the fall at night. The nearest town to Kirindi Falls is Pelmadulla. The fall can be easily reached through the Ratnapura-Pelmadulla road turning left before the Kuttapitiya junction and proceeding for about five kilometers.

Ramboda Falls on the Nuwara Eliya - Pusselawa road is 109m tall. It is a double fall borne of the many convergent brooks in the area that flow into the Puna Oya Reservoir, a tributary of the Kotmala River. Take the Nuwara Eliya - Pussellawa road for 12km.The fall is located 1.5km from the highway. It is 10km from Pusselawa Resthouse.

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Ramboda Falls

Uranwetuna Falls in the Ratnapura district is a staggering 108m high. The name of the fall is derived from the numerous wild boar found in the vicinity that come to drink water and often get swept away by the gushing waters. The river flows onto a rocky ledge, which creates a three-tier fall. Further downstream, the river passes another fall called Kottun, before joining the Kaluganga.

Even in severe droughts, the fall never dries up and supplies the nearby Kiribathgala State Plantations estates and hospital with water. A wide variety of trees and medicinal plants grow in the fall's lush surroundings. The fall flows from the Mirishena jungle from the Pettiyagala mountain in the Opanaike Divisional Secretariat division.

Demali Falls, also in the Ratnapura district is 105m in height and flows to the Deni River. There is a massive crevasse at the base of the fall. Many are the theories as to how the fall got its name. One is that it has got its name from 'de-mala', meaning 'twin falls'. Other tales of folklore are all connected with Tamils. One is that a young Tamil (demali) shepherd woman who was carrying a pale of milk from Ambagaha Arawa village to Kiri Kandula village was startled by a nefarious king. The woman panicked and fled but tripped, fell into the fall and got drowned.

Another story tells of the mansion of a Tamil minister. When he left to go to war, he told his seven queens that if he was defeated, a white flag would be hoisted from his ship's sails. If the white flag is hoisted, he instructed them to flee in disguise. However, the white flag was hoisted by mistake, so the queens naturally assumed the war had been lost and preferred to commit suicide rather than flee.

Another tale tells of how King Walagamba was waging war on the Tamils and as he passed the fall, a Tamil woman reacted by jumping into the water. The nearby Hakgala mountain is also associated with the Ravana epic. The arrow released in war games by King Ravana is said to have pierced seven mountains and penetrated two more mountain peaks. This narrowed the gap between the two peaks at Hakgala. The passage through the mountain is called the Ravana Passage. The closest town is Balangoda, Ratnapura District. Take the road from there to Pasaramulla and turn right. Continue for 3km to find the fall.

Mahakandura Falls - 102m high - is situated in the Nuwara Eliya district. It is served by water from the Katukelle Estate (1200m). Below the fall is a canal network, constructed in 1888. It can be reached through the Ragala - Kandy road. The fall is located between the 25th and 26th mile posts. The nearest town is Hanguranketha.

Ratana Falls - also known as the Navaratne Fall - is 101m high and is the highest fall in the Kandy district. The stream that serves it irrigates the paddy fields of the surrounding villages.

Superstitious villagers say that there were seven vessels filled with precious stones hidden close to the fall, but that five have now been found. However, anyone attempting to find the final two is said to meet with an untimely death at the bottom of the fall.

The route to the fall winds through villages between the Hunasgiriya mountain range and dense jungle. It can be reached by travelling on the Kandy - Mahiyangana highway from Hasalaka towards Wasgamuwa National Park to the Eke Ela Agri-Colony. From here, turn left onto a side road and continue until the footpath which leads to the fall after 4km. It is 7km from Hasalaka.

The Mahagal Oya springs from the western slope of the 718m-high Higurangala Mountain and flows over a stone slab, creating Nekkavita Fall in the Kegalle district.

Take the Avisawella - Hatton - Nuwara Eliya road via Talduwa to Deraniyagala to reach the fall which is situated 85km from Colombo. It is 50km away from the Kithulgala resthouse, the popular stop famous the world over as the location where the award winning film, ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai’ was filmed.

The Gerandigini Falls is an amalgamation of several falls in the Ratnapura District including the Ramboda and Gerandi falls. While this fall is 100m, the total height is 270m. Such is its scale, the fall can be seen from a considerable distance. The stream springs from the Galaha Forest Reserve, passing Galbithiya and onto the Puna Oya .

At the estuary where Gerandi Falls meets Puna Oya, another fall measuring 6m in height is created. The fall is situated about 100m below the tea estate in the Ramboda area and can be acc-essed either via the tea estate or the footpaths of Ramboda village. From Ratnapura take the Pelmadulla - Pathakade road to Samanalagama village. The fall is 3km south of Samanalagama.

The Galdola Fall (Ratnapura district) originates from a tributary of the Rakwana river, which flows down the eastern slope of Suriyakande mountain in the Sinharaja forest reserve. The water courses over rock-strewn terrain and at times the flow is submerged by rocky outcrops. This profusion of rocks gives the fall its name ‘dola’ meaning ‘rockpool’.

The fall is situated at the 82nd mile post near Rakwana, on the Ratnapura - Pelmadulla road. Rakwana rest-house is just 3km away. The 100m-high Elihatha Falls, as the name suggests, encapsulates a series of seven falls, each identified by a number. The first can be viewed from the Udaboda Estate (Kegalle District). To view the second fall, walk past Maliboda Bazaar, through Uda Malimboda, Nuriya, Thalawa and on to Dickwella mountain. The other five falls are difficult to reach.

The fall is situated in the Nuwara Eliya district at Bambargala mountain in the Middeniya ‘grama niladhari’ area. The only road on which to approach the fall in any type of vehicle, is from Deraniyagala to Malimbada. Go up to Uda Malimbadatown, and then use the road running adjacent to the cooperative of Uda Malimbada. The nearest town is Deraniyagala.

The impressive Dansinashin Fall cascades in a spectacular sequence of steps before flowing to the Pundalu Oya , the Kotmale river and finally the Kotmale reservoir. The nearest town is Pundalu Oya.

Take the Kandy road towards Nuwara Eliya toThavalamtenne. Turn onto the Gampola - Pundalu Oya road that leads to Pundalu Oya. Once there, continue for a further 2km to the two large tea estates called Dansinan and Shin. The fall flows between these estates and can be viewed in two segments, from above the road or below.

Aberdeen Falls in the Nuwara Eliya District with a 98m fall makes up a section of the Kehelgamuwa river and joins the Maskeli river at Kalugala before flowing into the ocean via the Kelani ganga. The Norton Bridge dam constructed under the Lakshapana Project has decreased the volume of water in the fall, but it continues to cascade except in severe drought conditions. According to folklore, there is a tunnel leading from Aberdeen Falls to the neighbouring Lakshapana Falls - the supposed opening of which can be seen near the Puna river.

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Aberdeen Falls

Aberdeen fall is located 6km from the Nuwara Eliya District in the Kehelgamuwa mountain range, which encompasses an area made up of Ginigathhena, Norton Bridge, Lakshapana and Maskeliya. There are a number of routes to the fall. The first involves using the Maskeliya - Dehigasthena road, and then trekking for a distance of about 2km. Another route is from Norton Bridge to Kalawelldeniya and trek from the 3rd mile post for a distance of about 1km, but one has to watch out for wild terrain and abundant leeches. Thirdly, start from Ginigathhena town and head for Ella Uda. When you reach the Alagala village in Hulanwanguwa, Aberdeen Falls is visible from a distance.

Devon Falls, also in the Nuwara Eliya District, has been in the news in recent months since it is one of the six falls affected by the proposed upper Kotmale hydro-power project. Environmentalists argue that this project would have an adverse impact on the environment. A front view of the 97m-high fall is possible from Midigama.

Devon Falls is located along the Talawakele - Hatton road near the 20th mile post (Talawakele, Nuwara Eliya District). From here it is a walk of 1km through tea estates. The Talawakele rest-house is 6km away and it is 21km to the Dick Oya rest-house.

In 1998, Kumar Bandula, otherwise known as Tony, established a record of the fall. There was once a threat that the area surrounding the fall and diverse species that live here, including the endemic purple-faced leaf monkey, would be adversely affected. However, the persistent lobbying of environmental groups averted disaster.

Devagairi Falls in the Kegalle District is 90m in height. Yet it is not popular with visitors as the route involves a trek through tea estates and difficult terrain. It is also not possible to get a close view. The source of the fall is the Dedugala Ehala Palanpitiya mountain in the Kegalle District.

Pulun Falls in the Ratnapura District is 86m in height and 12m wide and consists of two segments, the upper part being 9m in height. It cascades into a deep cleft (6-9m) and the overflow creates the second segment, which runs down a slab of rock.

The fall is located at Sigapulikande mountain in the Denawaka area in the Pelmadulla electorate. Take the Ratnapura - Pelmadulla road and turn onto the Devalegama road at Pathakada junction. The fall is 0.5km from here.

Dotulu Fall is 83m high and is situated in the Kegalle Distirct. To reach the fall, one has to travel from Halwatura Kelle Tea House for 1km, to the west of the Bambaragala area. It is also possible to view the fall from the east, 2km away, on a 900m slope. The route is through difficult jungle terrain and should not be undertaken without a local guide. The Kitulgala rest-house is 25km away


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Sri Lankan waterfalls on CD

Daily News, 25.01.2005

Lanka Council on Waterfalls (LCWF) released Sri Lanka's first CD titled "Sri Lankan Waterfalls". This is the first ever CD in Sri Lanka which contains 383 waterfalls with photographs.

The launching ceremony held at National Library Auditorium, Colombo 07 Saturday 22 and Professor of Environment Science at University of Colombo, Sarath Kotagama. President of LCWF Chief Engineer of Welioya Irrigation Project, Anura Nelugolla and several other speakers delivered lectures at the launching ceremony, states a press release by LCWF. The event was initiated by Lanka Council on Waterfalls after research from January 2001 to December 2004. LCWF completed their first national study on Sri Lanka Waterfalls. At the end of this study 382 waterfalls in Sri Lanka were identified. Earlier only 99 waterfalls had been recorded. This program had the objective of developing a set of activities that would contribute towards the study of waterfalls by LCWF.

LCWF is a non-profit organisation which has worked nationally and internationally since its inception in 2000 to improve public awareness and understanding of water issues with a view to promote the conservation and wise use of nature and natural resources. LCWF designs and manages innovative high quality programs that build capacity in the field of environment education. LCWF's program and activities seek to create awareness and enable individuals and communities to make decisions that favour environmentally sustainable development.

The CD contains details of 383 waterfalls with photographs, lists of the highest waterfalls of the world, popular waterfalls, world waterfalls, websites, several other environmental important facts with environmental information centres, most influential green groups and individuals, Sri Lanka Green Award Winners, Sri Lanka's Environmental Issues and Problems, Web Directory of Sri Lankan Green NGOs and World Environment Day themes. The CD can be obtained by calling 011-281 78 03 or e-mailing lcwf@sri.lanka.net or it is available in LCWF, 7A, Albert Perera Mawatha, Nugegoda.

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 Post subject: Fascinating waterfalls of Lanka
 Post Posted: Sun Jul 17, 2005 2:57 am 
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Fascinating waterfalls of Lanka

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Dunhinda is considered to be one of the most enchanting falls in Sri Lanka and is in close proximity to Badulla town. The water resembles a thin cloud as it cascades 63m downwards into a large pool. The backdrop to the fall is known as 'Dunhinda Adaviya'. 'Dunhinda' translates to 'spraying/vapour waterfall' - the word 'dun' means 'gave/was given', while 'hinda' means 'evaporate'.

This fall is steeped in history. The area was once inhabited by indigenous people - the Veddha tribe. During the time of King Rajasinhe, a giant fern got stuck at the top of the fall, between two mountains. This acted as a dam, which resulted in the flooding of Badulla town. Seeing the gravity of the situation, the king entrusted the task of clearing the sluice to a person named 'Ranhavadidaraya'. After toiling for three months he managed to clear the water and the town re-emerged.

The fern was swept away but got stuck again at a place now known as Pussellawa ('pus' meaning fern). It was the first fall on the island where a fee was introduced to view it. This applies to both local and foreign visitors.

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Dunhinda Falls

Dunhinda Falls is 5km from Badulla town and from the main highway it is a tortuous 1km walk. The Ella rest-house is 29km away.

Standing at 63m, the Okandagala Falls in the Ratnapura District is a spectacular sight during the rains of the eastern monsoon, when the water reaches the Belihul Oya. Some say that from the bird's eye view, achieved by climbing to the top of the rocks, the fall appears to flow from the sky. During a drought however, it dries up completely. The wild undergrowth prevents visitors from viewing the fall at close range.

According to folklore, treasure troves containing 32 crowns and assorted gems are hidden in the rock. A visiting king is supposed to have asked "is that the rock containing the treasure?", giving the fall its name ('okandagala' means 'is that the rock?').

Take the Kandy highway towards Nuwara Eliya via Wathumulla, passing both the 42nd mile post and the second culvert. At the three-way junction, take the Mandarampura road. Near the Makandura Reservoir, there is a road that leads to Okandagala mountain. This 2.5km journey is extremely difficult.

At the summit of the Okandagala mountain the Okandagala river flows, creating a minor fall (known as the Okandagala Sub-waterfall), which is 5m in height. Continue for a further 3.5km, past a huge mango tree to reach the fall, which cascades down a massive section of protruding rocks.

Surathali Falls is 60m in height, 2m wide and made up of three segments. It is named after a film that was shot in the area. Originating from the Sri Pada Reserve's Ellamana mountain range (948m), the fall is created by the Kadawath ganga, which flows along Sabaragamuwa, Uva and later into the Weli ganga. It is bordered by an untouched wildlife sanctuary.

At the Mahaeliyakande there are certain soil crystals known as 'Sita Devi Guli', which resemble the rice used to make 'aggala'. According to folklore, Sita Devi (Queen Sita) is said to have made sweetmeat here and spilled some of it, which is what remains at the site today.

Another story has it that two villagers saw gold plates glittering in a cave, while on a jungle trek. They decided to retrieve the treasure and ventured inside the cave but as soon as they were inside, the stone door of the cave shut, barring their exit. They were allowed out only once they had acknowledged that the treasure belonged to King Walagamba.

Take the Balangoda - Badulla road to the 169 - 170th mile posts, between Halpe and Marangawela. Turn at the Belihuloya, near Halpe and proceed for 8km along the Colombo - Ratnapura - Batticoloa road. Near the 105th mile post, 20m through mountainous jungle, the fall can be found. The Belihuloya rest-house is 8km away and the Koslande rest-house is 40km away.

From the Nanu Oya, the water flows through the Udaradella and Bambarakelle areas to the Nanu Oya Falls. The water cascades through mist down a sequence of 25 steps (60m in height) before joining the Kotmale and Mahaweli rivers. A hint of grandeur is added to the scene by the imposing bridge that spans the fall.

The fall is situated in Nanu Oya, 6km from Nuwara Eliya. Another 60m high fall is the Mannaketi Falls in the Kegalle district. The source of this fall is the Girankitha Oya Reservoir, that is served in turn by the western slopes of the Unagula mountain. Later, the Mannaketi Falls flows into the Kelani Ganga that enters the Indian Ocean in Colombo North.

To reach the fall, take the highway from Kitulgala, over a bridge, to Malwatte. From here, climb the mountain above the Girankitha Oya Reservoir (across the road at a small hamlet in the rubber plantations) for 3km until a footpath is reached. After about 400m, the footpath reaches the fall. Alternatively, take the highway from Kegalle, and 13km before the town of Bulathkohupitiya, Mannaketi Falls can be viewed on the right-hand side. The Kitulgala rest-house is 5km away.

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The 53m-high Diyavini Falls forms part of a tributary of the Diyavini River, which is in a jungle 8km east of Balangoda, south of Vikiliya. The tributary, together with another stream created by the Diyavini River, flows into the Walawe Ganga. The Devagiri Vihare and an ancient Dagoba overgrown by the jungle are nearby.

Local villagers believe that a treasure trove is buried in the vicinity and that a village head disappeared when he tried to find it. They also maintain that Brahmin scripts are inscribed in caves and further assert that there are three stone vessels, each 3m deep, located here.

Take the Balangoda - Weligapola road to Kapugala road and the ancient village of Diyavini. The fall is located near the old Rajamaha Vihare Delta Fall has six streams and is 50m in height, flowing through shrubs down a rock-strewn slope. Its source is a tributary of the Kotmale river. This is also the site of Sri Lanka's first tea plantation. Introduced by the Dutch and owned by Rothschild Vomes, it proved unsuccessful.

Delta Falls is 6km from Pussellawa, at a bridge near the 41st mile post and can be reached by road or rail. The Pussellawa rest-house is 9km away. The 60m Alakola Fall is served by the Oban river, which follows the shape of a large 'V' beginning at the Buwalpola mountain (1955m). The fall is situated in the Hanguranketha area in the Nuwara Eliya District and the nearest town is Nuwara Eliya. Follow the Udupuddalewa - Kandy road for about 7km to Eramuthukelle where a Hindu kovil (temple) sits atop a rock formation. The fall is behind the kovil.

Ratnapura district boasts of a large number of waterfalls. In all there are 109 waterfalls in the district, the highest for a single district. While the higher ones have already been discussed, here are a few more in the range of 50-55 metres.

Beruwatta is a 50m-high fall, set amongst tea plantations and a plethora of mountainous flora and fauna, formed by the convergence of several brooks originating on the Rakshagala mountain. The cascading waters of the fall have been poetically likened to pure white cotton and a length of loosened hair, flowing from a fairy in the heavens, free for anyone to comb.

At the base of the fall is a rock that offers a perfect seat for quiet contemplation, and also a pool known as the Beruwatte-vila, from where two brooks converge to flow into the Weveldola stream. This stream is later joined by the Alupoladola and the Ravuladola, and finally flows into the Mahaweli ganga near Malwala. Both the Balakotunna mountain range and the Mahalassa estate are visible from the elevated ground close to the fall.

To reach the fall, from Ratnapura town, head towards Balangoda via Wevelwatte and the fall can be found in the village of Balakotunna. Alternatively, from the Wevelwatte junction, head towards Balangoda for 1.5km and turn right at the tea estate. From here, it is necessary to trek for around 100m along the track adjacent to the estate to reach the fall.

Goxin fall gets its name from a British planter, Goxin, said to have been adept at aquatic sports. It is 50m in height and up to 50m wide during the rainy season. The source of the fall is at Bubula in Mannikaya patana. The water flows over a rock to join the Kaluganga at Gilimale. At the base of the fall, the water plunges into a deep pool, though the exact depth is unknown. The surrounding area is mainly used for tea plantations.

The fall is located 25km from Ratnapura town in the Pelmadulla area. Take the Ratnapura - Wewelwatte road and turn left at Nugapola town onto the Dehena - Kande road. Go through Wewalketya village and Kambiadia. From here it is 4km to Halakande village where the fall can be found.

This 53m-high fall cascades in two sections. At either side of the upper segment there are two elephant trunk-shaped stone arches. The fall's source is the Devipahala Ela Canal, which flows through Demalegama village before pouring off a rock ledge. The surrounding wooded area contains herbal plants such as ruliya, hathmetiya, vitex attissima and helapeda. Diverse species of wildlife can also be found here, including wild boar and deer.

Dodan falls can be reached by taking the Colombo - Ratnapura road and turning right at Higashena bazaar, down Devipahala road. Continue for 5km to find the fall, which is situated along the route that also leads to Bopath Falls.

Local villagers believe the area may be of some archaeological significance. The ancient caves of Batawita and Batalena in Kuruwita, where early humans once lived, are nearby.

The 54m Arambe Fall's name originates from the 'arama' through which it flows - an area of jungle, rich in resources such as food, wood, water and medicinal plants, traditionally utilised by hill country farmers. Local trees such as jak, breadfruit, rasakinda, cane, na and kumbuk as well as cloves and goraka can be found.

The source of this fall is a tributary of the Rakwana river, which springs from the Sinharaja forest. Until colonial times when plantations were introduced, this 'arama' satisfied the needs of local villagers, who accordingly gave the impressive 14m-wide fall its name.

Take the road from Rakwana to Yahalawela village, which after about 1km leads up o the Lenark State Plantations. Here stands the fall, in the Rakwana area.

Among the most popular waterfalls in Sri Lanka is Bopath Ella mainly because of its close proximity to Colombo. Take the road from Colombo to Ratnapura and before you reach Kuruwita, turn left along Devipahala road. The fall is just three kilometres down the road. The distance is around 90km from Colombo.

It's an ideal location for a day trip though one has to be careful about the somewhat treacherous nature of the falls. Water can suddenly gush down and as it happened to a party recently, you can be marooned. Care should also be taken not to slip and fall since one is tempted to climb the rock since the falls do not appear to be very tall.

The Bopath Ella cascades in the shape of a bo leaf (Ficus religiosa). That's how it has got its name. Its source is the Kuruganga which later joins the Kaluganga at Kurugammodara. The height is 30 meters and the mean speed of the flow is 6 cubic metres per second. The upper reach of the fall is made up of granite and biotite virin, and is covered by sand. The water from the fall irrigates the paddy fields of the Udakada and Kuruwita areas.

Many are the folk legends connected with Bopath Ella. One is about a young man from Colombo, who visited the falls and on losing his way was helped and sheltered by a local village girl. A romance developed between the two and she became pregnant before his departure. He left promising to return but never did. Overcome with grief, she took her own life by plunging into the fall. Villagers say that her ghost haunts the fall. She is supposed to appear as a floating blue light.

Another local belief is that a treasure trove lies somewhere within the fall and that one thousand human sacrifices are needed to retrieve it. The fall is rich in bio-diversity. The surrounding plant and tree life includes attikka, kumbuk, midella, dun, para, ginihota, rathmadiya, ketala, and many more. There are many varieties of orchids too. Animal species include wild boar, meemina deer and reptiles. The water is home to many species of fish including bulathhapaya, lellu, magura, korali, sonnu and eel.

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Situated in the Ratnapura District, Bopath Ella is in the Kuruwita Divisional Secretariat at Agalwatte village. Peessa Falls, a 45m-high fall is enchanting and one of many in the Uva region created by the rains. It is not widely known and is created from an aquifer at the peak of Lunugala Mountain. Later the water flows into the Kurakkan Oya, which flows across Madolsima. The fall is the only one in the area that flows all year round, regardless of droughts, even surpassing the better-known Dunhinda and Diyaluma Falls. When it rains, the extra volume of water makes Peessa Falls cascade in two streams.

Peessa Falls is so named as 'peessa', in old Sinhala, refers to a place where people assembled. It is said that it was here that King Dutugemunu assembled workmen to construct 'viharas and dagobas. The 5km Peessa canal irrigates about 20 hectares of land in the agricultural colony all year round. The starting point of the canal resembles a minor fall. There are also five turbines here supplying power to the surrounding area.

The nearest town is Passara in the Badulla District. Take the Passara - Bibile road and turn right at the 22nd mile post. Travel for 6km along the road running south. The fall is situated at the Peessa agri-colony. Alternatively, travel from Badulla to Passara, continuing to Lunugala and on to the Hoptain Estate. Turn right at the top here and 8km along the road to Peessa, the fall can be found.

The 45m Wawulpana fall is one of nature's unique creations. It is an internal waterfall within a prehistoric limestone cave, which according to Sri Lankan and French scientists who came here on an expedition in 1960, is 500 billion years old. It is the oldest such cave on the island and the millions of bats that have set up home here is an awe-inspiring sight.

The cave is 135m in length and has two parallel doors. In addition to the main cave, 12 others can be found here. To the right above the door is the bat colony and the cave in which they give birth is known as the 'Malwathu (Garden) Room. It can be dangerous however, as reptiles slither their way inside, attracted by the presence of the bats' young. The limestone formation covers an area of 52 square kilometres. Within the cave is a limestone pit, which is still growing. There are fossilised remains of an animal here. Adjacent to this is a layer of sea coral. So many and varied are the attractions of the cave.

Around 100 plants unique to Sri Lanka thrive in the area surrounding the fall. The calcium carbonate, iron hydroxide and magnesium that cause the yellow-coloured water in the aquifers, is believed by village elders to cure skin ailments.

The fall is located in the Wavulpane limestone caves at Walapane village in the Ratnapura District . Take the road from Pelmadulla towards Embilipitiya for 15km, then turn on the Sanwardene Mawatha road up to Walapane school. It is a trek of 1km across the proposed new Walapane highway to reach the fall.

Pandioya Falls, another waterfall in the Ratnapura district, is 45m in height and enclosed by woodland. Its name derives from the 'pandi' (Garra ceylonensis) species of fish that are a formidable sight swimming upstream along the rocks, against the flow of water. The fall's source is the Pandi river, which springs from the nearby Bathgurula mountain (1045m), south-west of the Sri Pada reserve. It later flows to the Kaluganga. Bambarakanda provides a stunning backdrop.

Take the Wevelwatte highway in the Ratnapura District via Gilimale to Bibile village. From here it is a tortuous trek of 6km through assorted flora and creepers. There is no defined path so it is necessary to hire a local guide. There is a bus service as far as Bibile. The nearest city is Ratnapura which is 24km away

Another fall less than 50m high is Hunnas Falls situated a little away from Kandy. It is located at Hunnasgiriya, 1765m above sea level at one end of the Knuckles mountain range. A group of five streams flow from here and meet to form the Mahaoya reservoir, which leads on to Hunnas Falls (48m high and 12m wide) and the Suduganga.

Above the fall lies 32 hectares of land with an artificial lake and patch of jungle, which belong to Hunnas Hotel. The woodland consists of cyprus, pyness (pines), teak, pihimbiya, huna and ratadel. Numerous types of orchids also grow here. The surrounding area is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including deer, porcupine, monkey, mongoose, wild boar, pangolin and the forest eagle owl, while the water is alive with fish. The area is subject to every climatic condition of the island.

During the colonial era, a British national owned tea plantations near the fall. He had a flower garden, artificial pool and golf course put up for his wife. Local villagers believe that during times of prolonged drought, the Gambara deviyo is seen carrying a torch through the mountains at midnight.

Hunnas Falls can be reached by taking the Kandy - Matale road for 18km, turning at Wattegama on to Elkaduwa road and travel 3km along the beautiful country road through the Hunnasgiriya State Plantations to Imbulapitiya. The fall is at the foot of the Hunnas Hotel.

At 45m-high and 3m-wide, Balangoda Ranmudu double fall is located near the Ranmuthu ganga, and cascades down a massive rock formation. The resulting water irrigates the villages of Meddegama and Thanathiriyanwela.

The local villagers believe that the daughter of ancient warrior King Sitawaka Rajasinhe bathed here. On one such occasion, the princess' ring slipped from her finger and into the pool. For a moment it floated to the top, but then a huge rock fell on it from above, pinning it to the riverbed. Here it is said to remain.

King Sitawaka Rajasinhe's treasure chest is also rumoured to be hidden here, but many attempts by villagers to retrieve it have failed due to the demon that guards it, they say. Such is the power of legend, that in April 2002 an armed posse of treasure hunters carrying digging equipment, worryingly accompanied by a senior superintendent of police, was apprehended by villagers before it engaged in too much skullduggery.

The fall is situated in the Ratnapura District at Balangoda Monarangama. Take the Balangoda to Martenne road to the Niyandahela village in the Borangamuwa area to reach the fall.

Jodu Falls, also known as 'Bambarelle Knuckles', are twin falls with identical lengths (45m). They cascade simultaneously from both ends of the mountain into the Mahaweli ganga via the Huluganga. The Moragaha ganga is the source, which springs from Me Malai, part of the Knuckles mountain range. Before reaching the falls, the water flows down seven chutes and through several pools.

In the surrounding area medicinal plants abound and there is a wide variety of wildlife including wild boar, porcupine and a lizard endemic to the island known locally as dumbara katussa. The area at the top of the falls has been denuded, causing concern that the aquifers might dry up and erode the land.

The Moragaha ganga flows across Bambarella, Baddegama and Kosgamma, before reaching the Huluganga. Jodu Falls is situated in the Patha Dumbara Electorate (Panniwala Provincial Division). From Wattegama travel the 24km via Bambarella to Panniwala. The rest of the journey is not possible by road, so trek the last 1km from the border of the Knuckles mountain range to the fall.

The Diyakerella Falls in the Kandy district flows through jungle and cascades down a 45m-high rock formation - the noise made is incredible. As the water hits the bottom, another fall is created, though only the upper section is visible through the dense foliage. The beauty of the fall is enhanced by the towering presence of the Lakgala mountain at Meemure village.

Beneath the fall is an elephants' corridor known as 'ethpara' and there is also a monastery nearby. The stream joins the Heenganga and later the Mahaweli ganga.

The fall is located in Meemure village in Kandy District (Minipe Provincial Secretariat Division) and requires a 12km trek through the jungle.

Among the 13 waterfalls in the Matara district is the Hathmale Falls in Deniyaya. The source of the fall is the Deniyaya Gongala mountain range and the stream flows on to the Ginganga at Pallegama.

Hathmale Falls (45m high and 10m wide) is the tallest fall in the Gin ganga and is split into seven segments ('hathmala'). It is popular with both local and foreign visitors.

The fall is located 12km from Deniyaya in the Matara District, Deniyaya Pallegama GS area. Take the Deniyaya - Pallegama road and turn off near the Pallegama bridge. From here it is 8km to the fall.

Apart from the famous Dunhinda Falls, there is another fall, also in the Badulla District, with the same name. It is identified as Arawakumbura Dunhinda Falls. The 45m fall is full even during the dry season. The source of the fall is the Ibban Oya, a tributary of Gal Oya. A number of valuable trees are found in the area, locally known as suriya, mara, bulu and Nellie.

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The fall is visible from the Lunugala - Bibile road. Situated in Lunugala town near the Alakola mountain, it is 6km from the Batticaloa road in Arawakumbura in the Passara Electorate.

Springing from the Ritigaha Oya reservoir, the Nalangana Falls comprises a number of chutes, each measuring about 40m in height. The fall is situated at Dedugala, 9km east of Bulathkohupitiya. The nearest town is Bulathkohupitiya, and the Kitulgala rest-house is 41km away.

Kalthota Duvili Falls is one of several with the same name situated in the Sabaragamuwa area, though it does not flow the year round. There are a couple of theories as to how the fall got its name. One is that the wind blowing across the parched, dry surface of the plain constantly throws up clouds of dust ('duvili'), obscuring the torrent of water. The other theory holds that the wind blows across the plain at such a speed that it causes a huge amount of spray from the water as it cascades downwards.

Duvili Falls is said to be receptive to Kataragama God's blessings. People believe that children after they have reached the age of two, who are washed for the first time in the fall's water on a Thursday, will be endowed with good health. They will avoid those infections commonly known as 'deiyange leda' (God's sicknesses), such as measles and chicken pox.

Take the Balangoda - Kalthota road to Kalthota. The fall is to the west of the Kalthota Tenna bridge, up the Walawe Ganga Andawela Falls flows from the Nayameruhinna mountain range and is 40m high. It is situated in the Andawela village in the Nuwara Eliya district between Walapane and Hanguranketha. It can be found at the 31st mile post on the Kandy-Ragala road. A convenient place to stay is the Hanguranketha rest-house, which is 50km from Kandy.

Kaluwala Falls has got its name from a pool filled with dark water (kalu wala) at the top of the 38m-high fall. According to folklore, King Mayadunne is said to have bathed here. The Ulugala village in the Imbulpe Divisional Secretariat area (Ratnapura District) is home to the fall. Take the road from Balangoda towards Pinnawala, past Pidaligannawala village via the suspension bridge over the Ranmudu River. Take the Kotiyakanda road at Ulugala.

Lovers' Leap Falls is a beautiful 30m fall which commences from the streams and brooks of Sri Lanka's highest mountain, the Piduruthalagala (2524m). It flows over hard granite ledges and the water is collected in a tank and used for drinking. In dry spells, the flow is weak.

The fall is said to derive its name from the tragic tale of a prince, who while hunting in the jungle, lost his way. He was rescued by a beautiful damsel, and the two became inseparable lovers. But the match was not to the liking of the prince's subjects, so the two decided to leap from the top of the fall to their death. Superstitious villagers avoid the fall at night.

The fall is situated in Hava Eliya, 1.5km from Nuwara Eliya.

Kuda Falls (30m in height) is near Kirindi Falls and it is the difference in size between these two falls that gave rise to its name. Rain dramatically improves the fall but simultaneously floods the low-lying Kuttapitiya village. There is a minor hydro-electric power plant at the top of the fall. Not many visit the fall. It is obviously dangerous since several people have drowned at the site.

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Galboda Fall can be found in Kuttapitiya above the Kirindi River in the Kaluwara dola in the Ratnapura District. The fall originates from the Galboda Canal (also known as the Hanguranketha ganga), in the Central Province wet zone. Annual rainfall here exceeds 4500mm, 60% of the rain coming from the south-west monsoon (dry season is January to February). Watawala, the area of Sri Lanka that receives the highest amount of rainfall on the island, is nearby.

Galboda Falls is 30m high but the width ranges from between 3m and 6m, depending on the season. At certain times of year, the water also cascades in two streams. Growing in the surrounding woodland is a rare species of orchid and the vicinity is home to a wide variety of wildlife. Among them are 12 species of reptile and four are only found in Sri Lanka. The upper section of the fall is unique in its biodiversity, thus it is of paramount importance to limit any potential danger to the area.

The name of the fall, (Galboda means 'fall adjoining the stone') is said to derive from the large boulder situated at its foot, though another theory is that the water here is heavier than anywhere else on the island.

The Gal Oruwa Falls' catchments are the aquifers of Sinharaja Forest. The stream flows between two boulders measuring 30m high 2m wide & 40m in lengths. There is a boulder at the bottom covering the fall on three sides, resembling a boat synonymous with its name-' Rock Boat'.

The fall cascades into this boat shaped abyss, emitting a fearful roar. The pool located at its base measures 25m x 2m. From here the gushing water flows through a subterranean passage for about 40m before emerging from beneath. From colonial times, the fall had been associated with lepers. In 1993 several of them were found at a medical clinic held at Sinharaja Pitadeniya.

Located in Lankagama Village, Galle Districts, Hiniduma Electorate, the fall can be reached along the Lankagama road nearby a hydropower project.

Diya Egirena Falls is a 30m fall which was previously known as 'Diyawegirena Falls', denoting its perennial flow, but underwent dialectal change to its present form. The plants in the surrounding Dedugala Reserve have valuable medicinal qualities but are being pilfered by unscrupulous thieves who sell them as ornamental plants.

The fall is located at Pallampitiya village in the Bulathkohupitiya Divisional Secretariat, Kegalle District. It is 96 km from Colombo, 24 km from Navalapitiya and 3 km from Dolosbage.

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The 30m-high Aradunu Falls is so named because of its bow shape. According to folklore, King Walagamba took refuge from the South Indian invaders inside a cave found near the fall. There is also said to be a tunnel at the rear of the fall that leads up to Passara Raja Maha Vihara. Currently, the fall is dammed for the nearby tea factory and hydro-electricity project. As a result, the fall can only be visited during the dry seasons, when turbines are inactive.

Situated in the Badulla District's Passara Electorate on the Loggalla Oya, which begins in the Namunukula mountain range, this fall flows through an abandoned savannah grassland that is now used for agriculture. The nearest town is Passara. From there, head along the Madolsima road for 3km and turn left after the power loom, down a narrow road that leads to the fall.

The beautiful Bomburu Falls is a collection of about ten little-known jungle waterfalls, situated between 1500 and 2000m above sea level in the Sita Eliya Kandapola Forest Reserve. They are served by the upper segment of the principal tributary of the Uma ganga, known as the Duulgala ganga.

The location of the fall is in both the Nuwara Eliya and Badulla districts and belongs to Uva Paranagama Divisional Secretariat Division. From the Welimada - Pusselawa road, turn off at Ambagasdova junction and follow the Pewella bus route. The route then ascends and becomes a slightly perilous-looking winding track, with difficult boulders and jungle to negotiate, before the fall is reached.

Ahupini Falls is a 30m fall in the Kandy District that forms part of the Maha ganga that originates from both sides of the Raksawa mountains, and is itself 570m above sea level. The upper area of the fall winds through an area known as Uda Palatha, upstream of which is the Divisional Secretary's Uduwella GS area, in the backdrop of Apalawatte Pallegama village.

According to folklore, the fall derives its name from a desperate suicide attempt, where a mounted monarch leapt from its upper reaches. Villagers say that the fall sometimes emits a fearsome roar that can last for 15 minutes, and that this signifies that it will claim a human sacrifice within a two-month period.

The fall forms a plunge pool strewn with rocks where people are not encouraged to bathe due to the risk of drowning. Also at the base of the pool are crevices known as Pinikandawela and Tissakumarawella that are said to house treasure by villagers.

According to ancient books written about border demarcations, this fall acted as a demarcation between the area of Satara Korale and Paranu Kuru Korale. The fall is 49km from Pussalawe and 44km from Kitugala. The upper reach is about 5km from Dolosbage in the Kandy District, and can be accessed by passing Aranayake. The foot of the fall can be reached by travelling through Mawanella in the Kegale District, across Aranayake. A four-wheel drive vehicle is the best option.

Ahasabokku Falls in the Kalutara District can be reached when you go on the Matugama - Baduraliya road to Kalawana pass. From Athweltota go ahead for 5km up to the Ambatenna bridge. To the left is the Kumburhena road. Travel for 1.5 km, and the fall could be viewed to its left in a slope of about 200m.

Maduwanwela Doovili, a 25m fall is a creation of a branch of Adaluwa ganga, called the Arapora ganga, beginning from Sinharaja. The fall is located in its precincts at Ratnapura District in the Kolonna Electorate. There is a two-stream fall located above. But the main is the Maduwanwela Falls. The two other minor falls located below measures 10m & 12m respectively. The minor fall called Aralu Falls is situated below the Dooli Falls. According to a villager, the name epitomizes the water flower created by a rock situated at its midst. It cascades in a misty spray.

A conduit above the fall supplies water to Chandrika Wewa via Panamura Irrigation Network. To get to the fall travel from Embilipitiya along Kolonna road, which is in front of the Maduwanwela Walauwa. Another route is the Kolonna Road, running from Ratanapura across Madampe over Rakwana-Suriyakanda towards Maduwanwela where the fall is situated.


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