A day in the life of...
Text and photography by W. A. Mahil
True to its name, Bopath Ella fall dazzles! A frothy white foam bursts forth from Kuru Ganga which starts from the Adams Peak mountain range. The sheet of water that comes crashing down envelops the area in a fine mist.
As you approach the waterfall, the sound of water echoes all around. When you look up, practically nothing is visible except for a blinding white curtain, which against the sunlight makes the surrounding rolling hills look blue.
Bopath Ella is Sabaragamuwa’s most picturesque waterfall, as voiced by every visitor to this place. The breathtaking spot is about five kilometres away from Kuruwita on the Colombo-Ratnapura main highway. The perennial waterfall is a hot spot for picnickers and lovers from all over the island. The place is too charming to be ignored.
Travelling about five kilometres from Kuruwita, the narrow road branches off on to the right which is motorable for half a kilometre, after which you have to park your vehicle at the car park, maintained by Kuruwita Pradeshiya Saba for a charge of 30 rupees, and wade through a shallow stream to reach the waterfall. For those who can’t wade in the water to reach the waterfall there is a canoe operating in the stream by a villager.
During holidays, visitors throng the area and many people are seen bathing at the small shallow stream at ground level. Unmindful of the crowd, I walked on the pebbled muddy road leading to the waterfall. While absorbing the lush beauty of the environ, I could not ignore the severe environmental pollution in the place. Specially the young crowds who come there to enjoy, take liquor and leave the broken bottles causing grave environmental pollution in the vicinity of the waterfall.
The villagers in the area have a tremendous opportunity to earn their livelihood by selling various goods to the visitors, setting up their stalls beside the road. I learnt from the trader who sells foods to visitors in the spot, that these are evergreen and semi-evergreen forests where small animals like rabbits and fox and a few varieties of birds are occasionally spotted in the periphery. Back to the falls, the continuous stream of white foam at a height of 30 metres, is definitely a sight worth freezing.
It is interesting to see how the waterfall is compartmentalized. The gushing stream actually crashes down like a Bo leaf between two huge rock boulders, curves and forms a second sheet of water. 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 where you can relax and spend as much time as you want at Bopath Ella falls, even for a whole day.