Waulpane Cave

Waulpane Cave
Waulpane Cave (Photo credit: Ravindu Samarasinghe, Google Street View)

Waulpane Cave (Sinhala: වවුල්පනේ හුණුගල් ගුහාව) is a limestone cavern in the Kumburugamuwa Grama Niladhari Division in Ratnapura District, Sri Lanka. It is located about 278 m above sea level at the eastern slopes of Bulutota Rakwana Mountain Range (Thamodi & Kumara, 2020). The cave is surrounded by a tropical rainforest extending about 30 acres (Thamodi & Kumara, 2020).

Waulpane Cave
The cave was first discovered by a surveyor who engaged in a topographical survey in 1938 (Abeyawardana, 2002). It is about 50,000 cu. m in size and 425 m in length (Abeyawardana, 2002; Seneviratne et al., 2009). The cave is called Waulpane or the "cave of bats" probably due to the enormous number of bats that inhabit the cavern (Abeyawardana, 2002; Thamodi & Kumara, 2020). It is estimated that approximately 800,000-1,000,000 bats belonging to 7 species live in the cave (Abeyawardana, 2002; Thamodi & Kumara, 2020). 

A water stream flows through the cave and the waterfall called Waulpane Ella, which is said to be the second-longest brackish internal waterfall in Asia, is found in the centre of the cavern (Ponnimbaduge-Perera et al., 2019; Thamodi & Kumara, 2020). This fall is made by a stream which gushes out from the hillside by the cave and falls through a sinkhole in the limestone layer-roof of the cave (Thamodi & Kumara, 2020). It is about 150 feet (45 m) in height and cascades down onto a pillar which has acquired a roundness and smoothness on top as a result of centuries of falling water (Thamodi & Kumara, 2020).

Waulpane Cave
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2002. Heritage of Sabaragamuwa: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Sabaragamuwa Development Bank and The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. ISBN: 955-575-077-7. pp.30-31.
2) Ponnimbaduge-Perera, P.D., Yapa, W.B., Dangalle, C.D. and Manage, P.M., 2019, November. Bat Guano; A Resource or a Contaminant?. In Proceedings of International Forestry and Environment Symposium.
3) Seneviratne, S.S., Fernando, H.C. and Udagama-Randeniya, P.V., 2009. Host specificity in bat ectoparasites: a natural experiment. International journal for parasitology, 39(9), pp.995-1002.
4) Thamodi, A.A.R.; Kumara, B.A.S., 2020. A Geomorphological study on the diversity of micro karst landforms of a limestone cave (with special reference to Waulpane cave in Ratnapura District. International Journal of Recent Scientific ResearchVol. 11, Issue, 06 (B), pp. 38831-38842.

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This page was last updated on 25 June 2022
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map
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