Ella Wala Falls - a simple guide
Updated: Jun 3
Ella wala, or elle wala is a somewhat hidden waterfall, a bit off the beaten track - offering breathtaking views of a natural cascade.
Located pretty much close to Wellawaya, it a bit way further than one can assume, the name being misleading, as probably Ella wala somewhat brings into mind the town of Ella. It in fact is almost 25 kms away and if you travel on your own vehicle, it takes a goodly half and hour so to reach there (from Ella Town)
The road leading upto the falls from Ella is picturesque and exhilarating to drive. Sweeping curves hiding deep ravines ,roaring buses along narrow cliff lined roads and undulating stretches of road with lumbering lorries ; by no means a dull moment motoring down there.
The waterfall is fed by the Ali kota ara, a small yet significant runoff, fed by underground aquifers emanating from the nearby Poonagala mountain range.
You can either reach the waterfall from Ella, or use the Beragala to Wellawaya route to come to Wellawaya and continue from there on. From Wellawaya, the turnoff towards the waterfall is about 5 km's, while from Ella it will be about 20 km's.
The landmark to lookout for is the Rathmal wehera Buddhist temple, which is located on the side of the Ella - Wellawaya main highway. From here you need to turn right (if coming from the Ella side) to a small but well paved road leading up to the falls. There are ample sign boards around, but keep a sharp lookout and ask for local guidance if need be ; there being a few more hidden waterfalls with the same name “Ella wala” along the main road.
After turning onto the by-road continues on and you will pass the recently constructed Ali kota ara reservoir. This reservoir is fed by the stream that forms the waterfall. You can stop there, but keep in mind to ask permission from the security to scale up the earthen bund. The views are majestic.
After passing the dam, be on the lookout for a small, somewhat hidden road (cement paved) to the right. There is a small sign that shows the road to the falls.
Keep in mind the road is cemented only part of the way and is extremely narrow. We had a hair raising time trying to let another car pass us by (on his way down). It is steep and be extra careful around corners.
The road leads up all the way to the falls, but the cement paving gives way to uneven ground. A vehicle with a high clearance, or a bike can navigate easily; we also made it on our alto 800 (use your own digression on this part)
There is a small temple by the side of the road almost at the waterfall, and a few turns later - you come to a prepared parking spot with a small boutique that serves refreshments.
After parking you can make the rest of the way on foot.
A small trail into the jungle leads you upto the falls; Negotiating a few narrow boulders and low hanging creepers, you end up at your destination. no sweat!
Here are a few things to be aware while at the waterfall.
The water cascade can increase even in a few moments without warning, so be mindful when having a dip
Owing to the drilling of underground tunnels to feed the uma - oya hydro project, the water is laced with minute rock sediments. This in turn makes the water Walter seem milky white. Currently it seems to be diminishing, but it can leave behind a whitefish residue (that can be seen all over the waterfall area)
The rock pool is shallow enough to wade in but keep a look out for sharp rocks.
The spray from the falls is heavy. In the mornings it almost will make a rainbow, and on the downside - pelt your photographic equipment with water spray. Because the water has grit on it be extra careful as it can get into things such as a camera ring. And be extra mindful if you're changing a lens .
There is a sign saying bathing is not allowed, but no one seems to care.
Abou 2 hours is enough to experience the falls, and you can couple it with a visit to either Ravana falls (from Ella) or Diyaluma (from Beragala)
And above all, do not litter!
Happy trails and we hope this small guide helped you to plan ahead on your next adventure!