Laxapana is one of Sri Lanka’s most famous waterfalls, and perhaps the one that has proven the most useful in terms of generating power to the country, the Lakshapana waterfall is located in Nuwara Eliya district in the country’s mountainous region.
The Laxapana Falls falls are 129m high and rise from the Laxapana estate and plunges into the Maskeliya Oya via Maoussakelle. The waters of this mountainous river are fast moving, rushing over huge boulders and rocks, gurgling across a multitude of small streams around the mountains before emerging as an awe-inspiring waterfall, especially during the monsoon season when the rivers are swollen and full.
Located along the pilgrim’s tour route to Adam’s Peak, Laxapana falls is a favourite stopping place for a rest, an open air meal or a quick bathe in the large natural pools formed in the valley below the falls. The pristine jungle that surrounds the waterfall, which falls across a sheer rock cliff face, adds to the picture-perfect quality of the environment. It’s considered Sri Lanka’s seventh highest waterfall and is part of the Laxapana reservoir, which generates hydropower from a number of power stations in the vicinity.
The name Laxapana is attributed with many origins: some versions take its literal meaning of “a thousand lamps” in sinhala, and the fact that this waterfall is part of a hydropower system that lights up many homes; others describe the name as meaning “a hundred thousand stones”, pointing to the rock and boulder strewn path that the water follows before it gushes out in a waterfall. One fact though can be agreed on – the old name for the waterfall was “veddah hiti ella” meaning, the waterfall where the Veddah lived. The Veddah, Sri Lanka’s indigenous people, perhaps had a small colony in this area and lived in the many caves and cliff dwellings in this mountainous area.