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St. Clair's Falls Nuwara Eliya

St. Clair's Falls Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

St. Clair’s Falls, often referred to as the “Little Niagara of Sri Lanka,” is one of the most picturesque waterfalls in the country. Located in the Nuwara Eliya District, in the central highlands of Sri Lanka, this waterfall is named after the St. Clair Tea Estate through which it flows. It is one of the widest waterfalls in Sri Lanka and is a popular attraction for both local and international tourists.

Key Features and Surroundings

  1. Height and Structure: St. Clair’s Falls has a height of approximately 80 meters (262 feet) and consists of two cascades, known as “Maha Ella” (the Greater Fall) and “Kuda Ella” (the Lesser Fall). The falls are formed by the Kotmale Oya, a tributary of the Mahaweli River.
  2. Scenic Beauty: The waterfall is set against a backdrop of lush green tea estates and rolling hills, creating a stunningly picturesque scene. The surrounding area is often shrouded in mist, adding to the mystique and charm of the location.
  3. Accessibility: St. Clair’s Falls is easily accessible from the town of Talawakele, which is approximately 3 kilometers away. The town itself is about 27 kilometers from Nuwara Eliya, making it a convenient day trip for visitors staying in the hill station.
  4. Tea Estates: The St. Clair Tea Estate, through which the falls flow, is one of the oldest tea estates in Sri Lanka. Visitors to the area can explore the tea plantations, learn about the tea-making process, and enjoy a cup of freshly brewed Ceylon tea.
  5. Hydropower Projects: In recent years, there have been concerns about the impact of hydropower projects on St. Clair’s Falls. The construction of the Upper Kotmale Hydropower Project has affected the water flow to some extent, but efforts have been made to maintain the scenic beauty of the falls.

Tourism and Activities

St. Clair’s Falls is a popular spot for picnicking, photography, and nature walks. The surrounding tea plantations and the cool climate of the highlands make it an ideal location for leisurely strolls and enjoying the natural beauty of the area. For those interested in birdwatching, the region is home to a variety of bird species.

Conservation Efforts

Given its popularity and ecological significance, there have been initiatives to conserve and protect the natural environment around St. Clair’s Falls. Efforts include sustainable tourism practices and measures to mitigate the impact of nearby hydropower projects.


St. Clair’s Falls is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Sri Lanka’s central highlands. Its breathtaking beauty, combined with the serene and verdant surroundings, offers a perfect escape into nature. Whether you are a nature enthusiast, a photographer, or simply looking to relax in a tranquil setting, St. Clair’s Falls provides an unforgettable experience.

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