Alagiyawanna means ‘beautifully colored’ in Tamil. Alagiyawanna Waterfall in the Gampaha district (also known as Bopagama Ella by the Sinhalese locals) truly matches its name; as it sprays out multicolored rays of light when the water reflects the bright green of its surroundings, the slivers of sky visible through the forest, and the rays of sunlight shining off the water brilliantly.
This 4m tall waterfall is fed from the aquifers located in Kandalanda Estate nearby, and the waters from Nagas Canal. During the monsoon seasons the falls overflow with water and the streams become rich with a a variety of freshwater fish. As a result the the region is popular with the locals who often come here to catch fish. In addition, these falls are situated in a rocky basin and surrounded by mountains. This basin itself has some history.
Just to the west of the basin is the Balana Pass. Almost 400 years ago, when the Portuguese invaded olden day Ceylon, they conquered all the coastal regions of the island. However for over 250 years they were not able to, even get close to the Kandyan Kingdom. The reason for this was the Balana Pass. Kandy was surrounded by mountains and, in those days with no highways or large roads, the only way into the kingdom was by passing through the pass of Balana. The pass was narrow and surrounded by natural formations which were perfect for ambushes. This enabled the natives who had highly skilled commanders to adapt a guerrilla warfare style attack. They sabotaged all the plans of the attacking Portuguese. The food wagons were destroyed leaving the armies to starve. The armies were not used to the tropical rainforests with the occasional marshlands that formed the area at the time. Malaria and other tropical diseases destroyed the remaining troops. It was only after internal strife, betrayal and a very bloody battle at the Balana Battlefield in the early 19th century, that they conquered the Kandyan Kingdom.
Not far from the Balana Pass in the same basin as the waterfall, though more downstream, is a little white stupa built on rock. The stupa has a long history dating back over 2000 years. It was one of the stupas built by King Valagambahu in 77 BC, when he was attempting to spread Buddhism amongst the locals.
All in all Alagiyawanna Waterfall and the surrounding area has much to see for visitors. However, we advise you to avoid littering and protect the environment.