Real Traveler Experiences

kota ganga / seven waterfalls at knuckles

A popular song in my childhood days was the Dumbara Mitiyawatha Paththe – sung by the famous Sri Lankan musician Upali Kannangara. But, only recently I got to know that the same Dumbara Mitiyawatha is the famous Knuckles Mountain Range in Sri Lanka. I always wanted to visit the Knuckles Mountain Range and my plan put to action with a traveler group I got to know recently. The plan was to visit the Seven Waterfalls at Knuckles which is also known as Kota Ganga falls. It was pretty exciting to think that I could cover visiting seven waterfalls in a day but it was way more exciting to know that it’s the same waterfall which gets dropped from Seven locations.

first glimpse of the full stretch of kota ganga fall
(Click to enlarge)

how to get to kota ganga falls

Kota Ganga falls or the Seven Waterfalls are accessible through the Knuckles Mountain Range. Of course there are a few locations people get in mind when someone says Knuckles Mountain Range and the most common would be Riverston.

But, the Kota Ganga Falls is easily accessed through Rangala – a small town you can get to by arriving in Theldeniya, through Kandy. The drive from Kandy town would be around 1 hour and it was a drive from Colombo — Kandy — Theldeniya — Rangala — Thangappuwa for me. The roads are pretty good until the town of Rangala. Thereafter, the road condition is manageable but cars would find it difficult. The roads are narrow and not in a good condition until the Kumaran Tamil Vidyalaya. Here’s the final stop for the vehicles and it’s the place to start your hiking towards the Kota Ganga.

hunting for the seven waterfalls

With a short walk through some already-paved lanes through the Tea estates, you get to enter the Knuckles Forest. The starting is quite easy and you are so amazed with the views, the lovely climate (it was bright but cool at the same time). With a trek through the Knuckles Forest, you get to a Y-Junction, where you either pursue the Seven Waterfalls or the other famous Trek – the Knuckles High Mountains trail. For the waterfalls visit, we take the Left turn and get to the first meet with the Kota-Ganga.
This is a great place to have a breakfast, a snack to freshen-up.

On top of kota-ganga | waterfall #1

With a short trekking along the Kota-Ganga, we were warmly welcomed to one of the most amazing views of Knuckles Mountain Range. On top of the Kota-Ganga Waterfall #1 was the most amazing scenery of the whole of the area.

And we continue…

From one by one, we continue on the Waterfall trek. During the days I traveled, as you see, the Kota-ganga water levels are quite low. Because of this, all the 07 waterfalls could not be seen clearly. In fact, by the last two waterfalls, it was just a stream. I hardly saw the waterfalls.. But, the trail is so beautiful. The connection with nature, the amazing trees and plants, the wow-like weather were not short of a standing-ovation.

Back to the town

Finishing our trail following on the Seven waterfalls, or simply, the 01 waterfall that falls at seven locations (only had the luxury to see 05), we get back to the town of Rangala. On the way, the road is through the line-houses as well as the basic shelters everyone calls it their home.

As much as the Hike was a great adventure, it was absolutely heart-warming to see another side of lifestyle. The villagers of Rangala are mainly dependent on their Tea estates and on average, the whole town and village are consumed with poverty in a nutshell.

The Trail / Hike to the Seven Waterfalls was a fun one. It was actually a trail in the Knuckles Mountain Range. This is one of the lesser-known but a soon to-be popular trail because so many are interested in visiting the Knuckles Mountain range.

The finishing…

The usual finishing for a Sri Lankan trail is with a swim at a river or lake. Even at Knuckles, this is the same. Upon arriving at the Rangala town, there is a small drive to get to a fantastic location that will wash all the tiring climbing and descending.

The pond-like location for a endless bath

Some final notes:

  • Be prepared for leeches. Most convenient would be Leech-socks but if not, some Salt mixed water, Siddhalepa works.
  • Take a bottle of water with you and fill up from the fresh-springs that you find throughout
  • Carry some packets of biscuits that you can share with the kids of Rangala. The smile on their face when you gift some is priceless.
  • The Cellular network coverage at a few locations, but a powerbank seemed a necessity as there’s so much to photograph.
  • It could rain suddenly or even be very sunny. Take selected clothing to meet your requirements.

The Kotaganga Waterfall hunt, or the Seven Waterfalls hunt in the Knuckles Mountain Range is one of the most interesting trails in the Knuckles Mountains. This can easily be a Day-tour from Colombo and most conveniently from Kandy. The trail is about 07 hours even after regular breaks and is an average trail for anyone who wishes to participate.

The tickets to the Knuckles Forest can be obtained from the Kandy Office or the Rangala Office. There are a few guides in the Rangala town who would show the trails and hiring a guide is a must.

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