Diyaluma Ella Falls (දියලුම ඇල්ල)

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Height : 171 meters
District :Badulla

At 171m, Diyaluma Ella Falls is the third highest waterfall in Sri Lanka. The torrent of water cascades down to the Koslanda Plateau and during rain it is a spectacular sight. Sadly, this enchanting fall visible from the Koslanda highway may disappear due to frequent landslides. On one side of the fall the land is covered in deciduous plants. Wildlife found in the area include lizards.

The head of the waterfall lies 191 meters above the the viewing bridge which lies on the Koslanda – Wellawaya road.

Colin Writes;

But these figures gives only a faint conception of the majestic appearance of this falling waters, which are so awe-inspiring that its hard to take ones eyes off them. The cliff itself is black granulite, and immense in height. A river leaps from its brow, the while festoons of spray to which it soon dissolved, contrasting strongly with the darkness of the rock.

I hardly know whether the Fall is most beautiful in the bright sunshine or when the shadows of passing clouds cast a sinister light upon it. It is at any rate magnificent in every mood; for first it docents in to a sheer cataract until broken halfway down by a shoulder of a rock that rises aggressively to meet it.

In this encounter the water is smashed in to a spray, so that it completes its decent in the eddies of mist that are blown this way and that by the breeze. Normally it plungers straight, but the wind may drift it far-away, or spread across the cliff like a gossamer vail. You can fix upon any festoon of water and and see it drawn away and dissipated in to rainbow. But if it should be so far blown out of its course as to miss the halfway buttress, then water falls whole 570 feet like a column of smoke dashed to pieces on the rocks below.

It should be interesting to see it in a high wind when it blows even across the road. This superb picture of falling water is framed by the dark foliage of trees. There is something forbidding yet irresistibly attractive in such stern aspects of nature. The rock buttress rise up in bold challenge to the water, and indeed it breaks it it irretrievable ruin. But century by century the unwavering torrents have grounded these granite walls beneath its heel. “.

The fall is steeped in folklore. One story tells of how a king had fallen in love with a young woman belonging to a lower caste. This affair enraged the king’s subjects so the lovers decided to flee. Arriving at the site of the fall, they began climbing upwards. 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. RL Brohier, a scientist and historian from the UK who served in the Surveyor General’s Department, kept records detailing his intimate knowledge of Sri Lanka and its inhabitants. Amongst them was a story concerning Diyaluma Falls, which is said to have been Brohier’s favorite fall.

It is a tragic story dating from 1910, which local village elders still remember. Two tourists, Harris and Ashna decided to climb up the fall but it was Ashna who made it to the top first and began to descend again.

With a crowd that had gathered below watching the proceedings, Harris’s pride was injured. Unwilling to lose faith, he produced a knife and severed the rope, plunging Ashna to her death. He then cut his own rope and fell, their cries mingling with the sound of rushing water. The shattered bodies of the pair were unrecognizable and their blood turned the water red.

The fall is located along the Koslanda – Welawaya road in the Badulla District. Koslanda is the nearest town to the fall, 6km away, and Welawaya is 13km away.


  1. Enriquez, C., 1927. Ceylon, past and present. 1st ed. London: Hurst & Blackett Ltd, pp.160-162.

Also See

Map of  Diyaluma Ella Falls

ගූගල් සිතියම් පහලින් – Please click on the button below to load the Dynamic Google Map –

The map above also shows other places of interest within a approximately 20 km radius of the current site. Click on any of the markers and the info box to take you to information of these sites

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Travel Directions to Diyaluma Ella Falls

Route from Beragala to Diyaluma falls Route from Wellawaya to Diyaluma falls
Though : Beragala – Welawaya Road
Distance : 24 km
Travel time : 35 minutes
Driving directions : see on google map
Though : Beragala – Wellawaya Road
Distance : 13 km
Travel time : 30 minutes
Driving directions : see on google map

Diyaluma Falls

(Courtesy travelsrilanka)
Sunday Observer, 3 September 2006

W. T. Keble, author of Ceylon Beaten Track (1940, reprinted 2001), writes that “the glen of Diyaluma Falls is like a corner of the new world in the second wave of creation”. True, he was writing at a time before buses and van-loads of people found their way towards this attraction, but somehow Diyaluma still retains this charm.

It is possible to obtain a full view of the waterfall from the Diyaluma Falls Inn, though it is best seen further along, where the road winds almost directly under the cascading white water that is propelled over the ledge. Diyaluma, Sri Lanka’s second highest waterfall at 220m, features a cascade of water falling in a single slender streak into the woodiest valley below. These magnificent falls are fed by the water of the Punagala Oya, a tributary of the Kirindi oya, and are the last of a series on this river.

The words diya luma mean “water gush” though they are also translated as “skein of water” or “liquid light” because as the water spills softly over the series of rocky ledges it resembles a soft veil. In fact, according to legend, it was a soft veil that the waterfall came to be.

The legend begins with a young chieftain being banished from his clan and made to live in the mountains above the plains. He was betrothed to a lady of high standing who, while remaining stranded from her lover on lower ground, was determined to join him.

As the passes leading to the mountains were guarded, the lady realised that escape by way of these routes would be impossible, so she had to devise an alternative plan. Whilst looking at the steep cliffs surrounding the plains she had an idea and sent news of it to her lover in the highlands.

On an appointed day she arrived at the base of the precipice to find a dangling rope of twisted creepers as she had arranged.

Her plan was to scale the escarpment aided by her lover, who would meet her at the top. However, when she neared the top of the cliff the rope became caught and with no way to free it, the maiden eventually died and was left dangling in mid-air.

It is said that the gods were so moved to pity by this tragic love story that they commanded a stream of water to gush from the mountain and veil evidence of the accident in a watery light or diya luma.

You can walk to the top of the waterfall following a one-kilometre path that begins from a small rubber factory by the side of the road. On reaching the top you will be rewarded with breathtaking views and the chance to have a refreshing dip in the rock pools to be found there.

Diyaluma Falls is located 12km from Wellawaya along the rubber plantation-lined Koslanda road.


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