Diyaluma Falls | Third Tallest Waterfall in Sri Lanka

Diyaluma Falls
Diyaluma Ella Falls (Sinhala: දියලුම ඇල්ල; Tamil: தியலும அருவி), is a waterfall situated near Koslanda and Wellawaya in Badulla District, Sri Lanka. It is 171 m (561.02 ft.) in height and is the last waterfall formed by the waters of the Punagala Oya stream (Vithanage, 1988). This fall is the third tallest waterfall in the country after Bambarakanda Ella (241 m) and Kurundu Oya Ella (189 m) Falls (Vithanage, 1988).

Originating in the Mahakanda Pass, the waters of Punagala Oya flow into Kuda Oya and then into Kirindi Ganga before entering the Indian Ocean close to Tissamaharama (Kautzsch, 1983). Several smaller falls created by Punagala Oya such as Upper Diyaluma Falls are located above the upstream part of Diyaluma Falls.

Diyaluma can be roughly translated in the Sinhala language as "Diya-Heluma" which means "water-gush" or a "liquid light" (Kautzsch, 1983). Kautzsch in his book published in 1983 has given a folk story (reported by R. L. Brohier) about how the present name of the waterfall evolved;

In unsettled times, when the island was disintegrated into many principalities, there was a young chieftain who was for some reason banished from his clan and forced to live in exile in the highlands of the natural rampart which rose from the maritime plain. He was betrothed to a lady of high degree who, rather than forsake her lover, was determined to join him. All the passes leading from the low-country to the hills were strongly guarded. Consequently escape was impossible. One day, as she stood gazing at the precipitous mountain side, an idea began to take shape in her mind. Here indeed was an obscure way of leaving her home, an altogether bold and daring plan. She bribed an emissary to carry a letter to her lover disclosing how she proposed to join him, minutely setting out what he should do to assist her. And so, late one evening on an appointed date, she stealthily made her way to the foot of the mountain, and found dangling over the face of the rocky escarpment a rope of twisted creepers. She glanced around. No one was about. Taking the end of the rope she lashed herself to it, and began her perilous journey upward. Every moment was packed with peril. Swayed hither and tither, dashed against the cruel jagged rocks, gripped by sickness and giddiness, she was hauled hand over hand, up and up. There was every hope of her gaining the top. In fact, the anxious toilers above, were even rewarded with a glimpse of their precious burden, under the overhanging lip. At that moment, however, disaster intervened. The rope caught fast in a cleft, Frantic efforts to pull it free proved futile. Beyond all power of human aid the lifeless body of the maiden dangled in dizzy space. They say, that the Gods moved to pity by the harrowing spectacle, caused a stream of water to gush from the mountain and veil all evidence of tragedy in a watery light: or "Diya Luma". 
Citation: Kautzsch, 1983. p.37.

1) Diyaluma Waterfall by Malakau is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

1)  Kautzsch, E., 1983. A guide to the waterfalls of Sri Lanka: Tisara Prakasakayo. pp.36-37.
2) Vithanage, P.W., 1988. Relief and Drainage. The National Atlas of Sri Lanka. Survey Department of Sri Lanka. ISBN: 9559059009. pp.22-23.
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This page was last updated on 1 August 2023

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