A traditional stop when driving the road from Colombo to Nuwara Eliya is to see St. Clair’s Falls, one of the widest waterfalls in Sri Lanka. It was misty and cool in the mountains here at nearly a mile above sea level, as it often is.
The cascade of the Kotmale Oya river through the St. Clair tea plantation (from which the falls derive their name) is a pretty sight. I’d previously visited these falls about 20 years earlier and recalled a lot more water literally filling the river and pouring rather than trickling down the mountain. I asked my driver whether the water was so low because of dry weather? No that was not the case — apparently the flow of water to the falls is now greatly diminished because of the new Upper Kotmale Hydropower Project, to which it’s being diverted.
Despite the anemic flow of the falls, it’s a lovely mountain setting made all the more magnificent by the St. Clair tea plantation, which included these interesting growth patterns in the tea bushes on a nearby hill.
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)