Hathe Ella Falls (හතේ ඇල්ල)

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Height :28 meters
District :Galle

Seven friends went on a journey to explore a new world and they discovered a 90-foot waterfall. It’s not a scene from an adventure film, neither is it a part of a reality show. This happened in the real world a few weeks back when Randhike Cooray and his team discovered a hidden virgin waterfall, in Dediyagala, Akuressa.

Randhike is a member of the Lanka Council on Waterfalls (LCWF). It is an organisation set up to improve public awareness and understanding of water issues and to promote the conservation and wise use of nature and natural resources. It was the LCWF who requested Randhike to undertake this project as a part of his Diploma in Waterfalls and Natural Resources Management.

“We should submit research on a waterfall, which includes new photographs, updates, economic stability and other details of surrounding villages and so on. But I thought of doing a different research from the usual, which led me to this expedition and find this magnificent 90-ft virgin waterfall.” He said

He had then revealed his project to discover a waterfall, to his close friends and requested them to inform him of any information that they had on undiscovered waterfalls. “I asked them to do a survey in the area for any clue of a waterfall that has not yet been discovered or recorded,” Randhike said.

“Suddenly, Kushan, my close friend from Galle, gave me a call saying that he has met a man named Surasena who goes to the jungle to collect Dummala. He had heard the sound of cascading water, but could not locate the exact whereabouts. So, we contacted Surasena and got details of the area. It was a risk because Surasena had heard this sound 10-years-ago,” he grinned.

The two friends then surveyed the Sri Lankan map obtained geographic information of the area and found some positive hints of exploring a virgin waterfall. “We went to Dediyagala to do research on this hidden waterfall. Unfortunately, no villager was able to help us, they were clueless,” he said.

Hathe Ella Falls

On November 24, 2007, Kushan, Sumudu and Randhike arrived in Galle to begin their expedition to find the virgin waterfall. The next day the boys were expected to meet the rest of the adventure crew, Prasad Sanjeewa, Dayantha Chathuranga, Susantha and Surasena, at Kushan’s parental home in Udugama.

“We shopped for at least six hours because we knew there would be no turning back and there are no shops in the wild. We then discussed what we were going to do and assigned each chore such as cooking, photography, medicine, entertainment and so on. We stayed at Kumudu’s place the day before we started our journey.” Sumudu said

On the 25th morning, the team set out. They reached the Dediyagala Monastery, the last human habitat on the road.

“Then, with the blessing of the chief monk, we resumed our journey after lunch, handing ourselves over to God and trekked through the jungle for another five hours. Although five hours may seem like a long time, we only made little progress inwards, because there were no roads or footpaths.” Randhike said.

It was only on the fifth day that the seven adventurers reached the 90-ft waterfall made up of three different layers. “Finally after walking for three hours on the fifth day, we heard the waterfall. Everyone was so excited and filled with joy. We were running upstream falling every two or three steps.” Randhike said

The final day of their journey to reach the waterfall had been a tough one, as there had been heavy showers the day before and the water level had risen, making the journey difficult. There had been fallen trees and twigs around the area.

“Little by little, we saw the first layer of the waterfall, the surroundings near the waterfall were so beautiful, the cascading water from the waterfall so stunning. As soon as we saw the waterfall, all of us burst into tears and hugged each other with joy. It was 10 am when we reached the waterfall. It was better than winning a 100 million dollar lottery,” said Randhike with sparkling eyes, as their dream of discovering a virgin waterfall had become a reality.

According to Randhike, the waterfall would be an ideal site for anyone who’d love to camp, “it is the perfect place for people who enjoy hiking. Sri Lanka does not have a suitable place for people to hike. Even if there is, those places are filled with dirt and difficult for anyone to camp. But this waterfall is an ideal place, if people do not pollute the area. There’s a valley too. Adventurers could camp near the waterfall, and there’s a natural pool as well,” said Randhike

“There were valuable medicinal herbs near the waterfall, such as Nelli, Kohomba, Bing Thal, Enasaal, Aralu, Kuppemeniya and Keekiridiya. It has a rich Biodiversity,” Randhike said.

“We will not forget the ‘Monitors Attack’. We prepared our meals for the day and left it at the camp. After finishing our observation of the waterfall, we returned to camp around 5 pm, to find it surrounded by Monitors. They had eaten all our food and we had to find food from the jungle. But it could not fill our hungry stomachs,” said Randhike

“On the seventh day, we finally reached the monastery. It didn’t take us much time, as we knew the path back. By the time we reached the monastery, all of us were tired and famished. Well, it was not only the waterfall we found but so much experience and companionship,” said Randhike

“We would like to thank everyone who helped us out on our expedition. Our theme, “one for all and all for one” did become a reality. We went on the expedition knowing the risks, as it was a journey without our mobile phones. No one would know even if we were killed, as there wasn’t any communication between us and the outside world,” said Sumudu

The team named the waterfall “Hathe Ella” and is waiting for the LCWF to confirm the name.

By Aisha Edris
The Nation

The exact location of the waterfall is unknown. The marker on the Google Map below points to the approximate location.

Also See

Map of  Hathe Ella

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

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

Zoom out the map to see more surrounding locations using the mouse scroll wheel or map controls.

Travel Directions to Hathe Ella

The waterfall lies deep  inside the Dediyagala Forest Reserve

Route from Galle to Hathe Ella ( Upto Dediyagala)
Through : Akmeemana – Kottawa – Yakkalamulla
Distance :38 km
Travel time : 1 hour
Driving directions : see on google map

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