Bopath Ella Waterfall – Kuruvita


Bopath Ella waterfall is located near Kuruvita town Ratnapura, one of the popular attractions & one of the most impressive waterfalls in Sri Lanka. It has a frame very similar to the Sacred fig or "Bo" tree leaf, which has this title. The waterfall is a significant tourist attraction in the country. Ancient myths assume that it is haunted and that it hides a treasure trove. Bopath Ella waterfall is 30 metres high. This is set from the Kuru Ganga river, which is a tributary of the Kalu Ganga river. The trail to the waterfall is filled with some shops and stalls.

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Description of the Waterfall

The name "Bopath Ella" perfectly describes the waterfall's appearance. As water cascades down the rocks, it flows through a narrow gap before widening, creating a stunning formation resembling the leaf of a "Bo" tree. The Sinhalese word "Path" signifies the leaves of a tree, while "Ella" translates to waterfall. The picturesque waterfall is enveloped by virgin forests teeming with rich biodiversity, creating a captivating backdrop for visitors to admire.

Physical Characteristics

Bopath Ella stands tall at 30 meters (98 feet), making it an impressive sight. It draws its water from the Kuru Ganga, which is a tributary of the Kalu Ganga. The waterfall exhibits a mean flow rate of 6 square meters (65 square feet) per second, while the catchment area receives an average rainfall of 5,080 millimetres (200 inches) annually. The abundant water resources of Bopath Ella are utilized for paddy cultivation, playing a vital role in supporting local agricultural activities. Furthermore, the waterfall has been extensively studied, making it the most comprehensively researched waterfall in the country.

A Tourist Attraction

Bopath Ella holds a prominent place among the tourist attractions in Sri Lanka. Its proximity to the capital city, Colombo, and its easy accessibility make it a popular destination for locals and international visitors. However, the growing commercialization surrounding the waterfall has detrimentally impacted its natural beauty. The path leading to the waterfall is lined with shops and stalls, which have resulted in some pollution. Visitors must maintain a pristine environment by practising responsible tourism.

Stories and Myths

Bopath Ella carries a rich tapestry of stories and myths passed down through generations. Historically, the waterfall was a bathing spot for ancient rulers who visited the nearby Maha Saman Devale in Ratnapura. It is believed that the deity Saman himself has appeared in this sacred place, further adding to its mystical aura.

One of the most popular myths surrounding Bopath Ella revolves around a tragic love story. According to local lore, a village girl jumped into the waterfall and took her own life when her lover from Colombo abandoned her. Legend has it that her ghost now haunts the waterfall, appearing as a blue light. Another intriguing belief held by the locals is that an ancient treasure trove is hidden within the depths of the waterfall. However, the myth suggests that one thousand human sacrifices are required to unlock this fabled treasure.

Infrastructure and Environmental Concerns

To facilitate visitors, the Kuruwita Pradeshiya Sabha has constructed a car park, a viewing area, and a toilet complex near Bopath Ella. Additionally, private companies operate restrooms with residential facilities to cater to the needs of tourists. Unfortunately, the surge in tourist numbers and improper waste disposal have adversely affected the natural surroundings. Litter, including polythene, bottle shells, and food waste, detracts from the aesthetic appeal of the environment. It is crucial for every visitor to understand their responsibility in preserving the natural heritage of the country and to leave no trace behind.

Dangers and Safety Precautions

While Bopath Ella's beauty is mesmerizing, it is essential to recognize the potential dangers associated with the waterfall. Careless climbing along the slope of the falls, combined with reckless behaviour, has resulted in over 80 fatalities. Visitors must exercise caution, particularly when exploring unfamiliar areas. It is also important to avoid visiting the waterfall under the influence of alcohol, as impaired judgment increases the risk of accidents.

Access and Route

Bopath Ella can be reached via two main access roads from Colombo to Ratnapura. One access road branches off at Higgashena Junction, while the other is near Kuruwita Police Station. Both routes offer central access to the waterfall. The village where Bopath Ella is situated is called Agalawatta, and it is approximately 3 kilometres away from the main road. The journey to Bopath Ella promises scenic views and an enchanting experience.

Bopath Ella waterfall captivates the hearts of all who visit with its striking beauty and mystical allure. Its leaf-shaped formation, surrounded by lush forests, creates a serene and picturesque setting. While enjoying the splendour of Bopath Ella, it is vital to be mindful of environmental conservation and practice responsible tourism. By preserving this natural treasure, we can ensure that future generations will have the opportunity to witness its magnificence.


Q1: Are there any accommodation options near Bopath Ella?

A1: Several accommodation options are available near Bopath Ella, ranging from guesthouses to hotels. Visitors can choose from various comfortable and convenient places to stay nearby.

Q2: Is swimming allowed in the waterfall?

A2: Swimming in Bopath Ella waterfall is not encouraged due to the potential dangers associated with strong currents and slippery rocks. It is advisable to prioritize safety and admire the waterfall from a safe viewing area.

Q3: Can visitors access the top of the waterfall?

A3: Access to the top of Bopath Ella waterfall is restricted to ensure the safety of visitors. The viewing areas and designated paths provide ample opportunities to appreciate the waterfall's beauty from a safe distance.

Q4: What are the best times to visit Bopath Ella?

A4: Bopath Ella waterfall is a year-round attraction. However, the best time to visit is during the monsoon season (May to September), when the water flow is at its peak, creating a breathtaking spectacle.

Q5: Are there any guided tours available for Bopath Ella?

A5: Yes, guided tours are available for visitors who prefer to explore Bopath Ella with the assistance of experienced guides. These tours provide valuable insights into the waterfall's history, folklore, and natural significance.



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