Digging Sri Lanka’s Diyaluma Falls
When we think of bathing in waterfalls, we often think about enjoying the crystal cascade from the bottom. How about taking a swim at the top? If you’ve never tried that before, then the Diyaluma falls of Sri Lanka would be an all-new adventure.
Diyaluma is the second highest waterfall in Sri Lanka, standing at 220 meters high. It has different levels along its height, and the top contains natural pools and a mesmerizing vista that still remains hidden to a majority of tourists. The main reason for this is that the top isn’t easy to hike from the foot of the waterfalls, and a certain level of fitness is necessary. But once you’ve conquered the sandstone-colored rocks and dipped into the cool waters, then everything seems to just fade away into bliss.
Or, you can take the easier route for your Diyaluma waterfalls hike and land directly on top of the falls, like we did!
Getting to Diyaluma
The journey to the falls starts from Ella, and you need to rent a vehicle (often a tuk-tuk or a motorbike) to get to Diyaluma. In my case, I had pre-arranged a hike through Nawshad Tours. After a day of exploring, they arranged my transport.
When renting, ask to be dropped off at Makaldenya Junction (also called Maskeliya Plantations) on Poonagala Road. This is above the falls, and the locals in the area could show you the way. It’s much easier this way, since the starting point of the path to the falls is very easy to miss! It’s just a fenced area with an opening on one side.
The hike lasted for around 20 minutes from Poonagala Road, and was entirely downhill so it wasn’t as tiring as an uphill climb. The trail was also well-marked along the tall grass, though it was quite evident that the trail isn’t used too frequently (there were some overgrowths in places). From this trail, we arrived at the Upper Falls, which had a series of pools flowing out into the cliff and cascading into another pool below. From here, they form the main body of the waterfalls.
How to get to Diyaluma Falls
When I got to the top pools, I had to stop my jaw from dropping all the way down. They were just amazing! They were also pretty safe to swim in — in fact, my guide even took me to the edge which was scary and exhilarating at the same time. He then showed me a safer spot on the side where I can get a great view of the waterfalls. I was so high up, and it was absolutely scary, but it was a real blast.
From there, we made our way towards the river. It was a 10-minute hike to the second waterfalls, and it was pretty challenging since the riverside was inclined. You need to have good balance. The new spot was big but not as high, so if you’re acrophobic it would be more suitable.
We reached the third falls after a 5-minute climb, a set of small stairs, and a tree-lined path. I learned from my guide that the top 2 falls were just for foreigners, and no locals swam there — that must be why there were so few exploring the place. At the third falls, he said I could safely jump down to the pool below! But after my brother’s accident I wanted to play it safe. Besides, I was all alone.
Then it dawned on me, it was a remarkable feeling to take in all these beauty all by your lonesome. It was like you discovered a sliver of paradise all by yourself. My guide said there were more people on the weekends, and there are those that go camping. I was lucky there was no one here in the afternoons (I went at around 2:30PM). A couple arrived just as I was about to leave.
Getting back to the Parking from Diyaluma Falls
There are two ways out — one back up, which retraces your route if you parked your car above, and the other one went through a small village at the bottom. This is also an alternative route in, if you want to get to the foot of the falls first.
The 30-minute downhill hike will take you through a mini-forest of rubber trees which are all marked. The village specializes in rubber production, and you can even see the process in its various stages. You will end up on the main road (5 minutes to Ella), and then you’re off again to new adventures. But this Diyaluma waterfalls hike will stay with you for a good amount of time!
Tips before hiking Diyaluma Falls
Keep in mind the following handy tips before journeying to Diyaluma:
- Always be careful when exploring. There are no safety rails, guards, or signs to warn you of danger!
- Get a local guide. There are wild elephants around, so it can get pretty dangerous if you get lost.
- Bring drinking water, sunblock, and other things you need to cool off on the journey and back. It can be pretty hot.
- The route to the main road is a better way out, unless you parked your car up top!
Happy bathing in Sri Lanka’s hidden waterfall wonder!
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