We were tucking into a rice & curry lunch at Sir John’s Bungalow and the large photograph of a spectacular waterfall on the dinning room wall caught my eye. “It is Sera Ella Falls, about an hours drive from here” the waiter said. I had never heard of Sera Ella. It looked gorgeous and I wanted to see it.
Next morning we went Sera Ella Falls by tuk-tuk. It was a bumpy ride on a narrow, winding and pot-holed road through little villages surrounded by terraced rice fields. There were pale skinned buffalos on the road, roped together in pairs. “We don’t make buffalo-milk curd here” the driver said. “Buffalos are for working the rice fields.”
Forty five minutes later we crossed the Puwakpitiya river, drove through Pothalawela village and arrived at the Falls. A sign pointed to a steep, slippery footpath down the hillside through the forest with tall trees. We struggled down it to the falls past overhanging rocks which almost formed a tunnel. Two women from the village who were panting up from the falls, stopped for a while, smiled shyly and asked for their photograph to be taken. The path led us to a small platform almost under and behind the falls. It was spectacular. Water cascaded down and the noise was deafening.
A rickety old ladder with a few rungs missing took us down to the level of the river for a full view of the ten metre falls, swollen after recent rains. It was a magnificent and spellbinding spectacle.
An hour or so later we took the tuk-tuks back to Sir John’s Bungalow. The fare was only Rs.1500 (about £8) for the 28 kilometre trip which took nearly three hours. I gave the driver, a young man form a nearby village, Rs.2000. His face lit up. He smiled shyly and whispered “God bless.”
(The trip was arranged by Padmini Hussein of Flamingo Tours)