Nil Diya Pokuna is an exciting cave adventure for those looking for a thrill-seeking experience. According to legend, King Rawana brought Sita from India and kept her at Nil Diya Pokuna as he believed it was a very comfortable and safe place. Today, the site is an interesting historical ruin of the underground palace complex, filled with pretty blue water. This underground cave is the largest of its kind in all of Sri Lanka. You must be warned though that this excursion is quite risky, but definitely worth it for the adventure seekers.
Where is Nil Diya Pokuna?
To be exact, Nil Diya Pokuna is about 13.3kms (25 minutes) from Ella. After passing the Ravana Ella (Ravana Falls), go ahead on the Wellawaya Road for about 3kms and turn off at the Karandagolla 10th mile post towards Bandarawela. Drive another 3kms on this road and with the help of nearby village folk, the tunnel leading to the underground cave can be found.
How do you enter the site?
Also known as Karadandagolla Cave, it is best to visit Nil Diya Pokuna with a guide. The entrance has a wooden pallet and an unattached iron grill gate. The initial bit is tough as it is a direct 50m descent. Your guide will throw a rope to help you climb down. The cave walls are made with wet rocks which can fall apart at any time, so you have to be careful. Once that bit is done, the rest of the pathway is fine, but make sure you follow the footsteps of your guide. Within about 45 minutes, you will reach the pond and once you get there, you will be amazed at the size of it and the crystal-clear water surface.
Historic Significance of the Pool
According to the epic Ramayana Legendary Tale, King Rawana abducted Goddess Sita and hid her in this cave. The story mentions that there were many tunnels under this rock that stretched for miles. Tunnels from Ravana Ella cave to the Bogoda Rajamaha Viharaya and Dowa Rajamaha Viharaya in Nuwara Eliya are still visible today. In fact, it is believed that the Nil Diya Pokuna tunnel was designed to reach several other areas that were hundreds of feet below the ground surface. These tunnels were closed under the protection of Police Special Task Force and are not accessible today.
The name Nil Diya Pokuna means a pond of blue water because if a torch is flashed towards the depth of the water, it lightens up the pond in a rich blue color, offering a stunning and a breathtaking view.
What can you see at the pond?
Nil Diya Pokuna is a beautiful pond hidden in a mysterious setting. The adventure involves finding your way through a tunnel, into the largest underground cave discovered in the country, to find a very clean and stagnant pool of water, which adds to the uniqueness of the attraction.
The intricate passages of the pathways and the narrow openings of the stone make an intriguing trail. Moreover, the massive hallways and the darkness add to the thrill and horror of the journey. This is a journey that must be taken with great caution because even a slight mistake can be dangerous. Also, since this tunnel was designed to reach several other areas below the surface, you have to make sure you are treading on the right path. The entire adventure from start to end will take about two and a half hours.
Precautions to be taken while visiting the site
- We cannot stress enough the importance of visiting Nil Diya Pokuna with a guide.
- Wear suitable clothing for your adventure – cargo pants or trekking pants are best.
- Trekking shoes or bare foot is possible for this trek.
- Remember to take a torch – a powerful one because it gets really dark down there.
- A head net would be advisable to avoid the flying insects.
- Avoid carrying items in your pockets or on your back.
- Be careful not to alarm the bats around you.
- Bathing in the pond is not recommended as safe, and also because you are 200 feet underground, it is difficult to find help in case of an emergency.