Captivating cascade | Sunday Observer

Captivating cascade

21 February, 2021

A milky white foam bursts forth from Kuru Ganga which originates in the Sri Pada (Adam’s Peak) mountain range. The sheet of water that comes crashing down envelops the area in a fine mist. Bopath Ella is Sabaragamuwa’s most picturesque waterfall, as voiced by every visitor to this place. The breathtaking spot is a few kilometres from Kuruwita on the Colombo-Ratnapura (A4) main highway. The perennial waterfall is a hotspot for picnickers and young couples from all over the island. The place is too charming to be ignored.

As you approach the waterfall, the sound of water echoes all around. When you look up, practically nothing is visible except for the blinding white curtain, which makes the surrounding rolling hills look blue against the sunlight

Travelling about three kilometres from Kuruwita, the narrow meandering road branches off to a motorable road on the right which is half a kilometre long, and thereafter you have to park the vehicle in the car park and wade through a shallow stream to reach the waterfall.

During weekends and holidays, many visitors are seen bathing at the small shallow pool at ground level. Unmindful of the crowd I walked on the pebbled muddy road leading to the waterfall, drinking in the lush beauty of the area. I learnt from the trader selling food to visitors that these are evergreen and semi-evergreen forests where small animals such as, rabbits, fox and a few varieties of birds are occasionally spotted in the peripheral areas. Walking back to the falls, indeed, the continuous stream of milk from a height of 30 metres is a sight worth seeing.

It is interesting to see how the waterfall is compartmentalised. The gushing stream crashes down like a Bo leaf between two huge boulders, then curves and forms a second step of water sheet. After the steep fall, the water gathers and cascades over another rock boulder.

There are several small streams straying off here and there by the side of which one can relax and spend as much time as you wish during a whole day in Bopath Ella.

Pre-historic cave

For an exciting encounter with heritage, travellers should include a trip to the interesting archaeological sites in the vicinity of Bopath Ella, in their itinerary. Batadomba Lena, the pre-historic inhabitant cave lies in a leech-infested verdant forest at the top of a mountain not far from Bopath Ella.

This tropical forest reserve has become a host to a variety of trees, animals, rare species of plants and cool cascading streams. A half-hour arduous trek to the top will reward an adventure in the beauty of a huge cave preserved by the Department of Archaeology.

They have carried out explorations and unearthed human skeletons and bones belonging to the ancient habitation of Homo-Sapiens, surrounded by flourishing flora and fauna. Batadomba Lena is an interesting site for students studying history and exploration for travellers interested in our culture and heritage.

Forest hermitage

The damaged Buddha statue and buildings in the cave show that there had been a forest hermitage in the past.

Another interesting cultural and historical site in the area is the Delgamuwa Vihara on a small hill on the banks of Kuru Ganga, a 10-minute drive from Bopath Ella. This Vihara is situated 0.5 kilometres from the main Colombo-Ratnapura (A4) highway close to the Kuruwita town at the end of Vihara Mawatha.

It is quite a memorable experience in itself as you are welcomed by the bhikkhus in the temple on the top of a verdant hill where the Sacred Tooth Relic was protected from invaders during the reign of King Mayadunne in Seethawaka. It was kept hidden in a kurakkan grinding stone.

It is on display in a specially decorated building at the Delgamuwa Vihara in Kuruwita which provided protection to the Sacred Tooth Relic for over 40 years before it was taken to Kandy. The vihara was destroyed by Portuguese invaders, but restored later. This shrine is a popular place of visit for Buddhist pilgrims.

Batatota Lena is another historical site which attracts adventurous visitors. This historic cave temple can be reached by travelling seven kilometres along the Kuruwita-Erathna road, proceeding a further one kilo metre from the Batatota junction leading to the Batatota School and a further three quarter kilo metre along the steep road. It is believed that this sacred place was established by King Walagambahu to whom most cave temples are attributed.

The reclining Buddha statue is said to be constructed during the time of King Nissankamalla. There is also a belief that Diwaguha associated with the Buddha’s visit was identical with this place. Of the other objects of interest found in the cave are a standing Buddha image, murals and Makara Thorana (archway). Some of these creations depict features characteristic with the early Kandyan period.