Trek to Pahanthuduwa Waterfall. Belihuloya Sri Lanka

A short drive up the road right next to the Belihuloya Rest House is a waterfall and natural pool that has been a must-see attraction on my bucket list for too long. I have managed to coax the rest to visit this site and we are finally en route. We park the vehicles at a nearby car park for a small fee.

Hat in hand I walk down a short distance from the car park to the entrance post where a solitary chap issues tickets and warns us of the dangers of bathing at this waterfall. A plaque, erected by a bereaved parent in memory of his young son who had lost his life here is a stark warning. “This waterfall has taken many lives. Stay out of the water!” the gatekeeper cautions us. I am also thankful that there is no one else here, except us, and glad to explore on our own.

The initial path is easy to navigate. Just a few craggy rocks and we come to the edge of a narrow ledge that is actually the bund. The water is flowing pretty fast and we are skeptical about crossing this ledge. But there is no other way to get to the other side and to the waterfall.

Hat (now) on head and heart in mouth, I carefully make the crossing!

From here the path through a partial jungle is also steep, narrow and very craggy at some places. I realize that I have left my shoes at the other end of the bund so I am extra careful about where and what I step on.

But getting to the edge of the Pahanthuduwa waterfall is worth the effort. It is called “pahanthuduwa” because the base of this 4.6m (15ft) falls is shaped like a lamp with wick used in temples. The waterfall also powers a small hydro power plant that supplies water to the local community.

Warning signs on the rock

I can imagine why so many people are tempted to get into the water because it looks clear and calm. But a sign on the rock warn us of the dangers. I take heed and am glad to cross this off my bucket list!

Back at the Belihuloya Rest House, I spend some time under the famous “mara” tree which is supposedly over 150 years old. The tree’s magnificence is in its sprawling and far reaching branches and resident birds and creatures.

Belihuloya has many other waterfalls (most of which I have visited before) and lots of scenic treks. A place definitely worth visiting.

Good to know:
Distance from Belihuloya – 2.9 km (7 minutes)
Parking is available near the site
Entrance ticket to waterfall – LKR 20 per person
Do not attempt to bathe in the falls or take daring selfies.
Do not litter. Let’s keep this beautiful spot clean.

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