White Water Rapids
The moment one mentions the name Kithulgala, the first thought it evokes is white water rafting. This interesting village just 100 kms away from the city of Colombo on the Colombo – Hatton road via Avissawella, has much more to offer besides the rapids. A 10 km drive along the Kithulgala Estate road takes you to an important spot in the annals of history in the island. It’s the location of the historic Beli-Lena caves where the famous Balangoda man was unearthed.
After the drive through the plantation, it’s a stiff climb to the Beli Lena caves via a flight of steps carved into a rocky cliff. The caves, discovered in the year 1962, were excavated and the project was completed in 1986. Around the complex of 6 caves, archaeologists found advanced stone tools used by the prehistoric Balangoda man. The first cave you reach is as large as an assembly hall. At the next level is another cave with a small waterfall, almost blocking the entrance. There are smaller caves too and the people believe that they were once used by monks for meditation. By crossing the river in a canoe, you enter “Bandara Kele” a rainforest that covers an area of 1095 hectares. With the diverse flora and fauna, a trek across the rainforest is quite interesting to nature lovers. Further trekking in to the jungle takes you to the beautiful “Lenthiri Fall”. This is an excellent location for bird watching. Many more varieties of insects, serpents, snails and butterflies could be spotted in this rainforest. David Lean, the famous Hollywood film producer selected this section of the Kelani River to film the award winning epic war film “The Bridge on the River Kwai”. The ruins of the blasted bridge survive to this day. When in Kithulgala do not miss a ride down the seven rapids in a rubber dinghy and enjoy the thrill of being tossed and turned in the foaming waters at the “Butter Chura”. It’s a wholesome package: nature, culture, adventure, history.