The beauty of Sri Lanka’s natural landscapes is well-known, and its reputation attracts millions of visitors to the island’s many attractions throughout the year. However, there are a few lesser-known attractions such as the beautiful Handun Ella waterfall that remains relatively undisturbed by visitors.
Buried deep within the jungles near the adventure-centric town of Kitulgala, Handun Ella is said to have been named for the profusion of sandalwood trees (called Handun trees) that grew in the area centuries ago. Standing over 30 meters tall and cascading artfully down a faceted rock face, the falls are divided into two halves. At its top half, a natural plunge pool forms a ledge at the midpoint of the rock face. The overflow from this pool creates the lower half as it gushes into the pool below. Visitors should exercise caution when exploring the caves and hollows in Handun Ella’s rock face, and when swimming in the pool at its base.
Season to Visit and How You Can Get There
The Falls are best visited between January and March when there is less rainfall in the area. To get there, visitors will have to trek for approximately two kilometres over harsh terrain, appropriate footwear is a must as the rock surface can be quite slippery. Adventure enthusiasts who manage to navigate the difficult terrain will find a patch of heaven just for themselves. The area is prone to leeches, and therefore leech socks and repellants such as citronella oil and saltwater are recommended for the journey.