Under the drizzle of cool climes and a gloomy sky, we slowly drove along the narrow pathways ringed by the thriving Dumbara mountain range in search of a magnificent cascade hidden in the wilderness.
Words Darrshini Parthepan and Gayathri Kothalawala
Photographs Geeth Viduranga
We were en route to immerse in the beauty of Sera Ella Falls. Passing Wasgamuwa, we first ventured on to the Hettipola road, which proved to be a scenic route that revealed striking views of a verdant terrain and mountainous landscape. Along the winding roads of the Dumbara hills we indulged in the mesmerising vistas around us. Dazzling wild flowers swayed and pristine waterways babbled merrily adding a romantic charm to the picturesque backdrop.
Flourishing cornfields, greenery of unsullied terrain and trickling streams spanned the stretch along the road to Illukkumbura. We made our way through Pallegama, enjoying the scenery. Soon, we arrived at the peaceful village of Illukkumbura. From here onwards the scenery was even more breathtaking, compelling us to stop and immerse in the fascinating sights that spread as far as the eye could see.
Journeying towards Laggala, we stopped at Pothatawela – a serene hill country village. Already spellbound by the charming waterways we had seen, we eagerly continued on our journey towards Sera Ella. The narrow road, fringed by wilderness, cast a cooling shade and we rolled down the shutters to breath in the fresh air. Through the greenery, glimpses of a rushing body of water could be observed occasionally, and the steadily rising roar of water indicated to us that Sera Ella was nearby. The rains of the recent weeks were sure to have increased the volume of the water, and we hoped to witness the waterfall in all its glory.
A wide parking area was allocated for visitors to park their vehicles, where a lone dog greeted us. From here, a flight of stairs made of stone led the way down an incline covered by a dense group of trees. The sound of flowing water indicated that the leaf covered stairs would take us to the waterfall. We carefully made our way down. At one point, a smooth rock wall bordered the path. Droplets of cold water trickled down on us as we passed, while around us tree leaves rustled musically in the slight breeze. Soon afterwards, we arrived at a small fork in the path. A short flight of stairs led to the deep pool into which the waters of Sera Ella plunged, while the path directly ahead of us led to a small cave, which though smaller in size, allows visitors to walk behind the cascading water.
The Puwakpitiya Oya tumbles down a protruding rock wall within the forest, creating a beautiful cascade, that has been named Sera Ella, eventually joining the Thelgamu Oya. Rather than creating a single cascade the waterfall rushes down in two sections at a height of about 15 meters. A natural rock platform creates a tranquil pool that is only disturbed by the water that falls into it. We enjoyed unobstructed views of the falls, while the wind splashed us with water droplets.
Large boulders lying on the riverbed created a rapid flow that carried the water away in a beautiful stream. Dipping our feet into the waters, which we discovered was refreshingly cool, we relaxed for a while. After climbing over the rocks and exploring the surrounding area, we returned back to the path. We were eager to explore the other mysteries of the surrounding environs and Dumbara Hills. Leaving the cooling spray behind us, we left the Sera Ella; we were inspired and refreshed after our beautiful encounter with nature.