St. Clair’s Falls

Aptly nicknamed the ‘Little Niagara of Sri Lanka’, the St. Clair’s Falls is considered to be one of the most picturesque waterfalls in the country by many, with its rustic backdrop of lush green tea plantations belonging to the St. Clair’s tea estate. Although recently affected by a development project in the area, the falls still remain one of the most photographed waterfalls in the country, due to its wide cascading drops and views that are nothing short of breathtaking.

Best Known For

  • Being one of the most pictured waterfalls of the country, it is without a doubt famed for its breathtaking sceneries of the Sri Lankan hill country.
  • St. Clair’s Falls have become a notable cascade of water to many a traveller due to its surroundings as well, which boast of exemplary tea centres that brew some exquisite cups, along with other recreational spots to just take a break from travelling and admire the view.

Interesting Facts

  • These particular falls may not have the height of Bambarakanda Falls or Diyaluma Falls, but it sure does beat the two colossal waterfalls in width.
  • Possessing a width of around 50-metres, it is considered to be one of the widest waterfalls in Sri Lanka that has a shape that starkly resembles that of the actual Niagara Falls in the USA.
  • Another unique feature of the falls is that, it really is a twin waterfall. In other words, it is a cascade of water that drops two times and has been named the ‘Maha Ella’ (The Greater Fall) and the ‘Kuda Ella’ (The Lesser Fall).
  • Once possessing quite a ferocious flow, its ferocity has diminished quite significantly due to the recent construction of the Upper Kotmale Dam for the generation of hydroelectricity.
  • Although diminished, it is still possible to witness a modest flow from sunrise to sunset, as the dam authorities have agreed to do so for the benefit of the public.
  • Do not be mistaken about its grandeur though, as it is still a unique waterfall to witness due to the rustic backdrop of the tea estates.
  • The falls have also become a great rest stop for travellers moving about the main road between Colombo and Nuwara Eliya, as many tea centres and cafes have opened to let you savour the view.

Times, Seasons and Tips

  • St. Clair’s Falls can be viewed throughout the year, however, is best viewed during the months from February to April, when the weather is quite favourable too.
  • Due to the restricted flow, as a result of the Upper Kotmale Dam, the best time to view the picturesque waterfall is during the afternoon, since the cascade does achieve some of its former glory.
  • Do have a cup of tea and a slice of cake while viewing the falls from afar. It really does make for an authentic colonial feel to it too.
  • Hiking to the falls is also possible, however, it is best to ask the locals just to make sure about the trails.

If you are journeying your way across the hill country, missing the St. Clair’s Falls would be such a shame due to the spectacular views it boasts, along with the pleasant tea centres in the area to admire God’s green earth.

Title image by: Jehan Gamalathge


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