As you know, I love exploring this island - from its coastline of beaches to the lush mountains, diverse towns, and vast dry spaces. I recently spent some time on the waterfall trail. It's an easy day trip if you're based around Kandy, or for that matter anywhere around the hill country or up country. All you need is some form of transportation, your swim gear, and friends or family. You're good to go. Of course, depending on the time of year, you might also want to pack something to ward off the leeches - dettol works. And a picnic basket also comes in handy too - for you and your group, not the leeches!
If you haven't discovered some of these gorgeous waterfalls already, you might be interested in reading about the ones I've visited and written about previously - Travel Mondays: Is this the most stunning waterfall in Sri Lanka?; Travel Mondays: Tea Estates, Waterfalls and a stopover in "Little England"; Monday: Taking a refreshing dip under the Suratalee Falls; and Travel Monday: Scenic day tripping through Knuckles to Sembuwaththa Lake.
Our only plan was to head towards Talawakelle, but we had to pick up our friend, Kalpy, along the way in Nawalapitiya. It's a pretty scenic drive from Kandy. Nawalapitiya is a bustling little tea cultivation town that seems to sprout out of nowhere. After a Google search (post-trip) I was surprised to find out Nawalapitiya being known as "Peace Town" owing to the harmonious relationship between sinhala, tamil and muslim residents. True or not, that's a lovely thing to be identified for (or even to aspire to!)
After our pick up we headed towards our first waterfall called Kadiyanlena Falls or Kataboola Estate Falls. The name is either Kadiyanlena for the tiny village it's situated in, or Kataboola for the tea estate it's closest to.
It's about 11kms along the Nawalapitiya-Kotmale Road. Kalpy and his friends visit this waterfall twice a month apparently. Little did I know how jealous I would be of Kalpy's proximity, living in Nawalapitiya, to this unusual three-level, but easy-to-access waterfall cascade.
You view the three-level waterfall in parts. Once you cross the arched bridge if you look both sides you can see the upper sections and lower section of the waterfall. The bridge is apparently built over the Korawakka Oya which then becomes the Goorook Oya further downstream.
Th upper section has two levels, which can be explored from the bridge or by climbing up and through a narrow path to the right of the waterfall. It is possible to bathe in the two upper sections of this unusual waterfall.
The lower section is equally stunning and inviting. However, I've been told bathing is not permissible in the lower third level due to its depth.
After crossing the bridge it's possible to climb down and check out the rocks and water from a lower vantage point.
Alternatively, there is a path you can reach from the road (to the right of the waterfall) that takes you through the trees to the upper level of the waterfall.
Once you break through the trees you get an excellent view of the scenery and can climb the rocks to get a better vantage point or to navigate towards the areas where you can bathe.
The view of the cascading water from the highest part of the waterfall is quite a sight
We spent a couple of hours here enjoying the natural beauty as well as taking a much-needed dip. As I've said in previous posts, there's something refreshing and healing about bathing in natural waters that run straight off the mountains
After our sojourn at Kadiyanlena Falls we headed off in search of Devon Falls, one of the most popular waterfalls with a height of around 97m. We traveled the Nawalapitiya-Dimbula Road for about 19km. There are some lovely vantage points around Dimbula, as well as a special viewing spot with parking facilities near the Mlesna Tea Castle. We stopped off at a couple of spots as well as the viewing point.
I thought we were fortunate to see the waterfall flowing on the day we visited. I had read that Devon Falls is one of the most affected by the Upper Kotmale Hydro Power Project with irregular water flow and levels.
If you're in need of refreshments, there is a choice between the St Clair's Tea Centre and the Mlesna Tea Castle close to the viewing spot. You can also purchase tea at both places.
We had our refreshments at the Mlesna Tea Castle. It had started to lightly drizzle so it felt like an opportune time to have a rest, enjoy their facilities and partake of some much-needed refreshments.
After this timely stop we set off again for St Clair's Falls. It's approximately 9km on traveling via the Hatton-Nuwara Eliya Road and Tawalantenne-Talawakelle Road, passing through the town of Talawakelle to reach the main viewing spot.
According to the signs, the St Clair's Viewing Gallery (particularly the museum and lower viewing levels) are open between 8.30am and 6.30pm.
It's a scenic spot with its rolling plains, tea estates, holiday bungalows and luscious countryside. However, I was very disappointed to see evidence of the impact the Upper Kotmale Hydro Power Project has had on this once spectacular waterfall. When you compare the post card pictures (pre-Upper Kotmale Hydro Power Project) to what my pictures below, it is quite shocking.
The water levels are appallingly low, so you don't get to witness its earlier beauty. It's such an irony that the powers that be have constructed a nice viewing gallery, yet have badly damaged the object of beauty we're meant to be viewing. Sadly, it's quite easy to see how this lovely waterfall will soon disappear
We had planned to keep on the waterfall trail on this day trip, but the weather was quickly changing with lots of cloud cover, a little rain and a storm brewing in the distance. In the end, we took an alternate route back towards Nawalapitiya and enjoyed a light evening meal together regaling our day's adventures. Good times