Bopath Ella (Bo-leaf Falls)
Bopath Falls is one of the popular attractions which draws a large
number of tourists due to its natural beauty. Bopath Ella is a natural
wonder located close to Kuruwita in Ratnapura. The fall derives its name
from its unique heart-shaped head which somewhat resembles the leaf of
the sacred “Bo Leaf.” There is a belief that it is haunted and hides a
The water flows through a narrow gap in the rocks and then widens,
forming the shape of a leaf of a “Bo” tree which is the Sinhala name for
sacred fig (Ficus religiosa). “Path” means leaves of a tree and “Ella”
means waterfall. Forests with a rich biodiversity surround the
Bopath Ella is 30 metres (98 ft) high. It originates from Kuru Ganga,
a tributary of the Kalu Ganga. Its mean rate of flow is six square
metres (65 sq ft) per second. Its catchment area receives an average
rainfall of 5,080 millimetres (200 inches) annually. Water from the
falls is used for paddy cultivation. Bopath Ella is also the most
comprehensively studied waterfall in the country.
There have been unsuccessful attempts to use the waterfall to
generate hydroelectricity. The path leading to the waterfall is lined
with a number of shops and stalls.
It is somewhat polluted because of this commercialisation. The
waterfall was used for bathing by ancient rulers in the country when
they visited the nearby Maha Saman Devale in Ratnapura. It is also
believed that the deity Saman had appeared here.
There are several myths associated with Bopath Ella. One such belief
is that a local village girl jumped into the waterfall and killed
herself when her lover had abandoned her. He was a pilgrim from Colombo
who had failed to come back to be with the pregnant girl.
The girl's ghost is said to haunt the waterfall and appears as a blue
light. Another popular belief among the locals is that there is an
ancient treasure trove hidden in the waterfall and that one thousand
human sacrifices are needed to find it!
- Compiled by Husna Inayathullah