Ravana waterfall measures approximately 25 m (82 ft) in height and cascades from an oval-shaped concave rock outcrop. During the local wet season, the waterfall turns into what is said to resemble an areca flower with withering petals. But this is not the case in the dry season, where the flow of water reduces dramatically. The falls form part of the Ravana Ella Wildlife Sanctuary, and is located 6 km (3.7 mi) away from the local railway station at Ella.
The falls have been named after the legendary king Ravana, which is connected to the famous Indian epic, the Ramayana. According to legend, it is said that Ravana (who was the king of Sri Lanka at the time) had kidnapped princess Sita, and had hidden her in the caves behind this waterfall, now simply known as the Ravana Ella Cave. The reason for the kidnapping is said to be a revenge for slicing off the nose of his sister by Rama (husband of Sita) and his brother Laxmana. At the time, the cave was surrounded with thick forests in the midst of wilderness. It is also believed that Rama’s queen bathed in a pool that accumulated the water falling from this waterfall. They believed that Ravana has played the Ravanahatha over here.
The famous Ravana Ella Cave lies 1,370 m (4,490 ft) above sea level on the foundation of a cliff. The cave is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Sri Lanka, located 11 km (7 mi) away from Bandarawela. Excavations undertaken in the cave uncovered evidence of human habitation dating back to 25,000 years.