Kitulgala, the place famed for rivers & bridges
Kitulgala is a small town situated within the forestry area in the western slopes of the island.
The area gets rain from two monsoons each year, and it is one of the wettest places in Sri Lanka. The area is blessed with a scenic river which has also become popular for white water rafting and other river based activities. This river which is known as Kelani River, is the second longest river of Sri Lanka.
The stretch of the Kelani River, 5km upstream from the village of Kitulgala provides seven grade two and three rapids suitable for white water rafting. The upper section is suitable for the experienced white water rafting adventurers while the lower section is suitable for the beginners of white water rafting.
In between the rapids, there are a few calm stretches of about 6.5 km. The entire rafting ride takes about 80 minutes to complete. Each rapid brings off its own distinctive character, and they are interestingly named as “Head Chopper”, “Virgin’s Breast”, “Butter Crunch”, “Killer Fall” and the “Rib Cage” respectively, which hints what you can expect stage by stage.
Apart from Rafting, Kitulgala is also popular for many adventure and nature activities activities such as
Flat Water Rafting, Waterfall Abseiling, Mountain biking, Caving, Camping, Bird Watching, Nature Trails & River Baths.
Long Before Kit
Academy Award-winning The Bridge on the River Kwai was filmed on the Kelani River near Kitulgala, although nothing remains now except the concrete foundations for the bridge (and, supposedly, the submerged train cars that plunged into the river in the climactic scene).
Long before Kitulgala gained popularity as a adventure & nature hotspot, Kitulgala became famous as the movie location of the award winning World War II movie classic “Bridge on the River Kwai” directed by David Lean in based on a true story.
At present, only the concrete foundations of the bridge which was put up for the climactic scene of the movie in which,
the submerged train cars plunged into the river, can be found here.