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Maskeliya in Sri Lanka: Things to do, Places to Visit & More

There are many places, such as Sigiriya and Galle, that come to mind when you think of Sri Lanka. But unlike other travel destinations, Sri Lanka has many less popular destinations that offer amazing experiences. Maskeliya, Sri Lanka is an amazing place to visit, even though it does not get much publicity in the media or travel promotions. This article will help you discover the best of Maskeliya.

Read on to find some interesting places to visit and things to do in Maskeliya.

Scenic Places to Visit in Maskeliya

Maskeliya has many beautiful places to visit for amazing views and opportunities to mingle with nature. This town in the central province of Sri Lanka is known for its beautiful mountains, waterfalls, and estates. It is found around 20 km away from Hatton, and the town area is made up of a combination of three estates.

Here are some of the places you should visit if you’re in the area.

The Castlereagh Reservoir

With its captivating beauty and availability of recreational activities, a visit to Castlereagh Reservoir promises an unforgettable experience for nature enthusiasts and those seeking adventure. The reservoir was built in 1953 and is part of the Laxapana Hydro Power Complex. There are several vantage points available around the reservoir that offer breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. Perfect for photography enthusiasts who want to capture the vast beauty of Sri Lankan landscapes. Visitors to Castlereagh Reservoir enjoy boat or canoe rides, bird watching, picnics, and hiking. Some areas of the reservoir are even safe for swimming. For a unique experience, you can even opt to arrive by plane, as the reservoir has its own airport.

Devon Falls

Devon Falls is a striking 97-meter waterfall on the Kotmale Oya River and attracts many visitors each year, as its three distinct tiers cascading down amidst lush greenery create a truly captivating sight. There’s a well-known observation point nearby where you can get a great view of the falls. The falls are best viewed in the rainy season (April to May and November to December), when the water flow is at its peak. Visitors can be seen frequenting the area, despite the potential flash floods and landslides occurring during heavy rainfall.

St. Clair Falls

A visit to St Clairs comes with opportunities to visit nearby tea plantations as well. This waterfall is located within the Peak Wilderness Sanctuary and requires a bit of effort to get to, but the views are worth it. There are multiple trails leading to the falls, with varying difficulty levels, so it’s great for hiking enthusiasts as well.

Gartmore Falls, Maskeliya

Gartmore Falls is actually a combination of two waterfalls, Upper Gartmore Falls and Lower Gartmore Falls. Upper Gartmore Falls is nature’s natural infinity pool, which overflows into the Maskeliya Reservoir.

Reaching Upper Gartmore Falls requires a hike through tea plantations, while Lower Gartmore Falls is directly accessible by road. Even though it’s easier to reach, due to the strong currents, swimming is not advisable. However, you can enjoy a relaxing swim in the Upper Gartmore.

Historical Places of Interest in Maskeliya.

Finding out about Maskeliya’s historical sites of interest makes it astonishing that more people are not interested in visiting this wonderful destination. It is the site of the most disastrous aircraft accident in the history of Sri Lanka. On December 4, 1974, Martinair Flight 138 from Indonesia to Sri Lanka crashed into a mountain, killing all 191 people aboard.

Let’s take a look at some other places that have historical value.

The Sunken City

A city that was completely submerged by the construction of the Maussakele Reservoir suddenly emerged in 2016 due to water levels receding during a drought. This revelation gave us a first-hand glimpse into past lives and architectural styles. If you visit the sunken village, you will see structures such as the colonial-era Seated Buddha statue, a Bodhigaraya (Bo-tree shrine), the Sri Kadireshan Hindu Kovil, a mosque and Ganesh Kovil, and the most intriguing stone bridge, which once served as a vital connection to Sri Pada and is now partially submerged.


If you are familiar with the Legend of the Ramayana, this particular location may be of interest to you. It’s believed to be the place where Sita, Rama’s captive wife, was kept guarded by the peacock mount of Ravana. Some consider the ruins at Gurulupotha to be the remains of “Sita Kotuwa” (Sita’s fort).

The Mlesna Tea Castle

Thomas Lipton, a British tea planter, constructed this castle in 1932. In the past, it served as a processing factory and residence for Lipton, and today, it’s a museum and tea centre that showcases the history and production of tea in the region. It offers tours, displays of vintage machinery, and a chance to learn about the cultural and economic significance of tea in Sri Lanka.

Other interesting places to visit in Maskeliya include Adisham Estate, the Pedro Tea Center and Factory, and Laxapana Falls. Maskeliya is an amazing place that is still undiscovered to a large extent in terms of being a preferred destination. Hopefully, in time to come, this hidden treasure will come to light.

Things to Do in Maskeliya

In Maskeliya, when you visit the sites of interest mentioned above, you can enjoy swimming, boat rides, bike rides, picnics, and educational visits to factories and historical locations. However, apart from these casual activities that can be enjoyed, Maskeliya offers a unique hiking adventure for those looking for something a bit more challenging.

A Hike on the Seven Virgins Mountain Range

The legend of the Seven Virgins Mountain is most intriguing. It claims that seven beautiful maidens lived in a village near the mountains. They were known for their devotion to their faith and their refusal to marry, seeking a higher spiritual path. A powerful king became enchanted by their beauty, and he demanded they become his wives. Fearing for their lives, they fled to the mountains, seeking refuge.

The enraged king sent his soldiers to capture them. Cornered on the mountain peaks, the seven virgins pleaded for divine intervention. In response, the mountains trembled, and the earth split open, separating the peaks and hiding the virgins forever.
There are seven mountain peaks corresponding to the seven maidens in the story. Each mountain offers unique experiences in terms of difficulty and scenery. To choose the mountain that will most suit your level of fitness, refer to the following points, which explain their differences:

  • The First Virgin (The Northmost Peak): Comprises the easiest ascent, suitable for beginners.
  • The Second Virgin: Has moderate difficulty, but hikers can enjoy scenic views of tea plantations and valleys.
  • The Third Virgin: Steeper climbs are present on this challenging trail. The end of the trail rewards you with panoramic vistas of the entire range.
  • The Fourth Virgin: Considerably more challenging and is known for its rocky terrain and breathtaking views of Adams Peak.
  • The Fifth Virgin: This is the least frequently climbed peak, as it requires technical skills and local expertise.
  • The Sixth Virgin: Better known for its waterfalls and diverse flora, it is moderately difficult to climb.
  • The Seventh Virgin: Considered the most challenging, climbing the seventh peak requires advanced skills and endurance.

This is just a minimal overview of a few of the things you can do in Maskeliya. With its stunning scenery, friendly people, and rich culture, Maskeliya is a great place to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and a perfect location to go on your next vacation.