Sri Lanka is one of the waterfall paradises of the world. Senses come alive with the aroma of fresh vegetation and sounds of gushing waterfalls to chirping of birds. Due to its geological formation, the central highlands are surrounded by peneplains, plateaus and valleys. Rainfall sends a large volume of water hurtling down the precipitous edges of the highland mass. It is in this area that the water is collected when there are showers and flows along tributaries down the mountain slopes. Nature has indeed vested this glorious beauty in abundance in the small island of Sri Lanka.
Aberdeen Falls is beautiful Horsetail type waterfall situated on the Kehelgomu Oya (river), which a tributary of the famous Kelani River. It flows out of the Castlereigh Reservoir near Dickoya and falls on the grounds of the former Aberdeen Estate. The waterfall reaches an impressive height of 98 meters/ 322 feet and is distinguished by three cascades that fall past a rock wall enclosing clammy caves into a large, deep plunge pool surrounded by large boulders. It is ranked as the 18th highest waterfall in Sri Lanka. Located in near the Ginigathhena town or the Nuwara Eliya District it is just a 2 km walk from the village.
Bakers Falls cascades down tiered rocks with water pouring over them in icy sheets, surrounded by ferns, mountain terrain and hidden valleys. It provides very unique and beautiful scenery as the top part of the waterfall comprises of a long pool that divides into several mini waterfalls as it slips past the edge and ends in a calm pool. Located in the Horton Plains National Park and named after the famous explorer Sir Samuel Baker, the waterfall has a height of 20 meters/ 66 feet and gets its water from the Belihul Oya.
Bambarakande Falls is the tallest waterfall in Sri Lanka. Set within a basin shaped valley framed by vast boulders and forest pine, the waterfall forces its way down 263 metres in two vertical cascades that flow as fast as light into a deep mysterious pool between the peaks of Welihena and Bambaragala. It is seasonal waterfall thus accelerates at astonishing speeds mostly during the monsoon months of September to March. The most remarkable feature of this striking waterfall is the swaying of the entire watercourse as strong winds blow across it. It is provided with water which flow as tributaries from Horton plains and disappears past a butterfly shaped valley called Samanala-wawa.
Devon’s waterfall is one of the most famous waterfalls found in Sri Lanka situated on a tributary of the Kotmale River. Named after Devon who was a pioneer coffee planter, it reaches 318 feet and divides into several beautiful cascades falling at a slanted angle from a steep rock face surrounded by lush vegetation. This gives it a peculiar yet charming appearance. The fall can be reached by walking 1 kilometre downhill through a tea plantation. Moreover, the fall is one of the most arresting sights on the Kandy to Nuwara Eliya railway line.
St. Claire Waterfall
St. Claire Waterfall is the widest waterfall in the country and is fondly referred to as the “Little Niagara of Sri Lanka”. It is also one of the most unusual ones as it is comprised of two cascades which originate from two different water sources. The bigger one of the two, the Maha Ella is 80 metres high and is situated on the Kotmale River, and the other, Kuda Ella is 60 metres and is situated on a tributary of the Kotmale River. The waterfall flows over a vertical rock ledge and beautifully divides into three cascades, producing misty veils as it plunges into the deep pool below. It is an inviting site for regular bathers as it is fairly easily reached via a narrow path through tea shrubs about 3 kilometres west from Talawakelle.
Diyaluma Falls is the second highest waterfall in Sri Lanka reaching a staggering height of 559 feet. According to a 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 cliff, created this beautiful cascade to weep forever in the wilderness. This waterfall flows towards Kirinda Oya after pouring down a vertical rock face in a monotonously undisturbed water trunk. Its speed and the angle in which they water falls prevents it from breaking into separate cascades.
Dunhinda Falls is one of the most enchantingly beautiful waterfalls of Sri Lanka. Creating wreaths of mist as it cascades down 64 metres like a thin cloud, into a large pool, this waterfall was once inhabited by indigenous people. According to legend< a giant fern got stuck at the top of the fall, between two mountains acting as a dam which led to the flooding of Dambulla town. The King reigning at the time ordered for it to be removed and the process took three months. As it is in close proximity to Badulla town, it is easily accessible by a muddy foot path and is frequently visited by both domestic and international tourists.
Mapanana Falls is found at the foot of Adam’s Peak range (Sri Pada). It is one of the tallest and most beautiful waterfalls in Sri Lanka which cascades down from a height of 150 metres. Crystal clear water meanders its way down around huge boulders, from springs which originate in the peak wilderness. During the rainy season, the flow of water can be heard from up to six kilometres away, captivating visitors not only with its enchanting beauty but also with its thunderous throb. According to legend, the fall is named after a local nobleman who used to bathe there.
Laxapana Falls is found in the Laxapana Reservoir, near Nuwara Eliya on the way to Maskeliya. It is the eight tallest waterfall in Sri Lanka, majestically cascading down 129 meters of sheer rock face into a deep plunge pool filled with natural pot-holes. The rock over which it flows is said to contain iron ore and houses a maze of tunnels. The waterfall gives its name to twin hydroelectricity power stations, Laxapana and New Laxapana of which the latter generates a thumping 100MW of electricity. Legend has it that this was the place where Buddha mended his saffron robe when he was visiting Adams Peak.
Bomburu Ella Waterfall
Bomburu Falls is located in both the Nuwara Eliya and Bandulla Districts. Reaching a height of almost 50 metres, it is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Sri Lanka and is charmingly made up of ten small jungle waterfalls which are served from the Dulgala River. They cascade like sheets of silk over a steep rock face surrounded by slippery, moss covered boulders and various types of fern before forming into one body of water that plunges into a deep pool. Several pastures and vegetable cultivation land areas are situated nearby and the view from the waterfall is magnificent.
Sri Lanka has many more of these natural wonder for visitors to feast their eyes on. With an ideal climate to go trekking in the foliage of the peaceful jungles, you are sure to come across more waterfalls, from tiny ones which trickle past to huge gushing ones that will leave viewers deeply impressed and makes travel to Sri Lanka an astounding experience.