Dehigaha Ela


Dambulla, Cultural


The bubbling Dehigaha Ela stream tumbles its cold clear water into the warm slow moving Kiri Oya River in a corridor of rain forest in the middle of the dry zone. Here you can soak in cool clear natural water-ways, to totally immerse yourselves in the sights and sounds of nature.

A network of red earth roads takes you deep into isolation as rural cultivation blends with high grass and thick forests. It is here that a circular clearing at the base of a hill, ringed by the thick forest on the sweeping curve of the two streams has become a small secret place for all forms of wildlife – elephants, sambhar, birds, butterflies – to visit.

Dehigaha Ela in Pictures


The lodges are placed along the edge of the open green of illuk grassland and are barely visible as they merge with the forest. The four lodges are inspired by the famer’s watch huts built on trees to protect crops from wild animals – and the ancient Sri Lankan method of incorporating granite boulders into buildings. All four lodges are designed to be very open to nature, with coconut thatch roofing, folding bamboo tats in place of walls, and wooden floors. In keeping with the Back Of Beyond tradition, each lodge maintains standards of comfort by providing fans, mosquito nets and modern toilets. Solar energy is used to meet all electricity needs at the retreat. Low lighting is used throughout to minimize night time disturbance to the environment as well as to conserve energy.  


Traditional healing methods, health of the mind and body is the special focus of the collection at Dehigaha Ela.

At Dehigaha Ela, the forested hill, the heavily wooded stream and the open grassland seem to attract more than its fair share of little creatures. If you are lucky, you will see elephants, sambhar, deer and other small mammals as they wonder by feeding or come down to the stream.

Walking is the best – and only! – way to really explore the wonders of Dehigaha Ela. The forest throws up unexpected rock outcrops, the stream hides itself among the trees and the village farm lands are just beyond. Cycling along the red earth roads will enable you to stop for photographs and chat with the villagers. A particularly lovely ride is to Kaludiya Pokuna and Kandalama Lake. The living and dining huts are on the far side of the small lake and open space. In the tradition of Back Of Beyond retreats, the cook will prepare a wide variety of Sri Lankan as well as Western dishes.