Green and glorious Belihuloya
The waterfall gushed in mists of white spray as it tumbled off rugged rocks and dropped like an immaculate veil to flow gracefully into the surrounding jungles. Belihuloya, a charming hillside village situated in the Ratnapura District, approximately 160 kilometres from Colombo is nature’s marvel, a miracle of creation blessed with an abundance of waterfalls, streams, nature, cycling trails and numerous opportunities for bird watching and camping.
The Belihuloya River flashes a wonderful spectacle, beginning from Horton Plains, it flows and tumbles downwards into the Samanalawewa Reservoir. An area that has an expansive bio- diversity, Belihuloya embraces that gifted characteristic of semi-evergreen forests, tropical savannah forests, dry montane grasslands and montane temperate forests. Clean and serene, it is swaddled in the drapes of numerous waterfalls, surrounded and wrapped by mountain ranges and peaks from where many waters flow. The tallest waterfall in Sri Lanka, the Bambarakanda Falls, flows from here at a height of 263 metres – the 299th highest waterfall in the world. Standing at 220 meters tall, the Diyaluma Falls with an imposing flow of water is the second highest waterfall in Sri Lanka. At 60 metres in height the Surathali Falls cascades in three segments and has been christened thus following a movie that was filmed on location.
The Pahanthuda Falls is shaped like an oil lamp; Brampton Falls is set amidst lush tropical jungle and flows to the Walawe River. Be cautious at the Galagama Falls, which is known to be covered with large slippery rocks. Belihuloya is definitely for the plucky traveller, with plenty of places to explore like the Haggala Trail, which is about 2.5 hours away from Belihuloya; and the Appalagala Trail is a 2.5 hour walk through forest and grassland with great opportunities for bird watching. The Samanalawewa Trail is a half day adventure leading to the Samanalawewa Reservoir.
For the history buff, the Kuragala rock cave, dating back to the 2nd century will be a fascinating walk along antiquity. An archaeological reserve, excavations had unearthed two pre-historic skeletons of males and other artefacts. The site is revered by Buddhists and Muslims, with the presence of a temple and a mosque.
Apart from providing an unforgettable experience Belihuloya will soothe the mind and body in its tranquil surroundings.