Altitude: 570m above sea level
Distance from Colombo: 160km
The road from Haputale
to the lovely
valley of Ratnapura
(City of Gems) descends
through abundantly beautiful scenery. Around 30km from Haputale
the tea plantations, is the picturesque settlement of Belihul Oya by the
side of River Belihul Oya. Paddy fields surrounding the settlement are
fed by streams from the river. Belihul Oya is a fine example of Sri
Lanka's reputation of having the highest levels of species richness per
unit area of any country in Asia. Belihul Oya is home to 15 fish
species, 50 reptile species, 150 bird species, 30 amphibian species, 80
butterfly species, 40 mammal species, 60 land & water snail species &
about 150 flora species.
River Belihul Oya
The River Belihul Oya, just 20km in length, originates on
(1524m) high above, then flows, gushes, tumbles & drops
through an assortment of eco systems all the way to into modern man-made Samanalawewa Reservoir. The river, watched over by series of mountain
peaks including Gon Molliya ("The Hump of an Ox") & Paravi ("Pigeon"),
crates some very beautiful waterfalls in its downhill path, including
Baker's Falls on Horton Plains, Pahanthuda Falls & Demodara Falls. Paddy
fields surrounding the settlement are fed by streams from the river.
Belihul Oya is also the jumping off point for the Bambarakanda Falls,
whose triple jump, with a total height of 241m make it the highest in
The settlement at an altitude of 570m provides an array of trekking
opportunities. Numerous trails amidst tumbling waterfalls, rock pools,
gushing streams, abundant wildlife is complemented by fresh & crisp
climate, a result of its location in the intermediate Upland zone, a
climatically transitional area linking the dry & wet zones. The
vegetation consists of moist semi-evergreen forests, tropical savanna
forests, dry patana grasslands and montane temperate forests, making it
a bio-diversity hotspot, perfect location for nature lovers: it's a
diverse floral & faunal wonderland.
The most popular trails are Appalagala Trail, Samanalawewa Trail (Samanalawewa
modern man made reservoir), Horton plains Trail (via Bambaakanda Water
Falls), Kinchigune Trail, Hawagala Trail & Belihul Oya - Ohiya trail via
Satan's steps & Devils's Staircase. That sounds like "The Road to Hell"
Samanalawewa provides the opportunity for Canoeing.
Belihul Oya is definitely a small town, but given the scenery, terrain,
& vegetation, "the principal agricultural educational establishment of
the island" couldn't have been better located.
Church of St. Mary
Overlooking the terraced paddy fields is the whitewashed church of St.
Mary with an interesting three-tiered spire.
Uggal Aluthnuwara Dewalaya
The Hindu shrine is dedicated to God Kataragama & Buddhist stupa next to
it was built by King Senarath Yapa in 1304.
Tucked into the hillsides, over the paddy fields is little white Buddhist Dagoba.
The hermitage welcomes people of all faiths. An ideal place for meditation & relaxation.