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Sunday, 19 May 2013

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Waterfalls in Sri Lanka

Aberdeen falls - Nuwara Eliya District:

This is an island of waterfalls. Ribbons, sheets, whole avalanches of white water spilling over the edges of lush green hills are a staple of this country's central highlands.

There are literally hundreds, perhaps thousands of these watery-wonders dotted around the hill-country and you can quite conceivably spend a lifetime chasing waterfalls.

It's actually a rather common island-activity; whispers, rumours of a particularly isolated, pristine or hitherto unexplored cascade will have people scrambling into 4x4s, or clambering onto buses and trucks and trekking deep into the forested interior. However, so rich is this nation in this H20 based resource that the quest for a spectacular, steeply plunging stream need not take you too far off the beaten path.

The Aberdeen falls is relatively accessible- a 15 minute drive from the popular Norton Bridge, or the Masekeliya road and a strenuous but not exhausting climb down some well-maintained stone-cut stairs will bring you to a stunning, night-blue pool into which tumbles a 100 meter tract of white froth and foam,

It's a rather amazing spot, surrounded by thick mountain forest and sheer granite rock - the pool is crystal clear and calm enough that swimming (unless you're inebriated) is reasonably safe.

A raised stone and sand bank right next to the cascade means that if you paddle over a few meters of dark, deep water you'll find yourself able to stand - on a natural ledge at the edge of waterfall's cascade. You're basically walking on water, feet from the pounding flow of one of the country's highest falls- an immediate highlight to any day.

While it's incredibly beautiful it's still not on the major waterfall trail so you stand a good chance of having it to yourself even on a weekend. a bonus for everybody even on a weekend.


Bo path ella- Ratnapura District

Height : 30 metres

The Bopath Falls cascades in the shape of a bo (Ficus religiosa) tree (hence its name) and is the most comprehensively studied fall in Sri Lanka. Its source is the Kuruganga that later joins the Kaluganga at Kuruganmodara.

The average temperature of the area is 26.9 - 27.8 degrees Celsius and the annual rainfall of the fall's catchment area is 5080mm. 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.

The surrounding plant and tree life includes attikka (Ficus racimosa), kumbuk (Terminalia arjuna), midella, dun (Doona spp), para (Wormia suffruticosa), ginihota (Cythia spp), rathmadiya, ketala (Lagenendra oveta), Beduru (Dryneria spp), orchids, varieties of meewana (Madhca) badal, hanassa, makulu and beduru. Animal species include wild boar, Meeminna deer and reptiles, and the water is home to many species of fish including bulathhapaya, lellu, magura, korali, sonnu and eel. In addition to its rich bio-diversity, the fall is also steeped in folklore. One such story tells how a youth from Colombo made a pilgrimage there, and on losing his way was helped and sheltered by a local village girl. A love 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 (which appears as a floating blue light) haunts the fall.

Another local belief is that a treasure trove lies somewhere within the fall and that one thousand human sacrifices are needed to retrieve it. Bopath Falls is in the Ratnapura District, Kuruwita Divisional Secretariat at Agalwatte village. Take the road from Colombo to Ratnapura and turn left along Devipahala road. After 3km the fall is reached. (The Dodam Falls is located close by).

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