Ravana's Nil Diya Pokuna Cave, Ella, Sri Lanka
The most unusual dive site in Sri Lanka

By Dharshana Jayawardena

Depth: 21 Meters - For fully cave trained sidemount divers by special arrangement only.

Nil Diya Pokuna Ella Sri Lanka
(c) Image by Buddika Mahesh Kodikara
In the misty mountains of Sri Lanka is a remarkable place. Shrouded in mystery and myth, it is a deep underground cave not very easily accessible.
Nil Diya Pokuna Ella
The expedition sets off...
Nil Diya Pokuna Ella
The long walk to the cave entrance
The Rabbit Hole, Nil Diya Pokuna, Ella, Sri Lanka
The rabbit hole - this unlikely entrance opens to a hidden world
Nil Diya Pokuna
A precipitous descent to the bellow of the mountain
Nil Diya Pokuna
A brief break at the central chamber at the half way point
Nil Diya Pokuna
Magnificent rock formations inside this massive and deep cave
Nil Diya Pokuna Map
A map of the arduous one hour journey to the underground lake. The central chamber is at the half way point. (Image (c) Manjula Wijeyaratne)
Nil Diya Pokuna
Of shadows...
Ni Diya Pokuna
and rocks...
Nil Diya Pokuna
and still going...
Nil Diya Pokuna
a hour later, the end is almost near..
Dharshana Jayawardena Underwater Explorer
DiveSriLanka.com editor who was first to dive these caves
Nil Diya Pokuna Cave Diving
Finally diving the Nil Diya Pokuna
Expedition 1, 2 and 3 Videos with more information on discoveries
Expedition 1 - 26th of July 2017
Expedition 2 - 3rd of September 2017
Nil Diya Pokuna Ravana Maga and Sita Maga
The map produced after expedition 2 provided the mission for Expedition 3 - are the two passageways connected?
Expedition 3 - 8th of October 2017
Expedition 4 - 5th of November 2017
In this dive I laid a permenent survey line connective Ravana Maga and Sita Maga some distance away from the underwater entrance. In addition extended the line further on Ravana Maga. The objective of this trip was to get more footage for the documentary Deep Into Earth. (With Nuradha Jayasanka and Sameera Senanayake)
Expedition 5 - 12th of April 2018
On 12/04/2018 - I conducted my 5th dive expedition to the cave. More information of the cave structure was understood. Await the exciting documentary Deep Into Earth in the near future. (With Nuradha Jayasanka and Sameera Senanayake)
Nil Diya Pokuna Nil Diya Pokuna
Nil Diya Pokuna Nil Diya Pokuna
Nil Diya Pokuna
Before the dive
Deep Into Earth
Back from a great dive and annoucing our Deep Into Earth logo.
Expedition 6 - Another cave diver joins me for the first time
On 27/07/2018 - My friend and cave diver from Thailand Mario Guido Rossi joins me for a dive at Nil Diya Pokuna. We manage to extend the Rama Line further in.
Expedition 7 -Cave Photography
On 27/07/2018 - My friend and cave diver from Thailand Mario Guido Rossi joins me again and takes some fantastic pictures. We manage to extend Sita Maga a bit more. Mario's adventures can be followed here on FB
Nil Diya Pokuna Cave Diving Dharshana Jayawardena Nil Diya Pokuna Cave Diving Dharshana Jayawardena
Expedition 8 - A complete map?
24/02/2019 - "After expedition 8, last weekend, the main chambers of the Nil Diya Pokuna , Sri Lanka’s first underwater cave system, in Ella, has now been broadly mapped.

Ravana Maga (රාවන මග) has been connected with Sita Maga (සීතා මග) along the walls and a new pathway defined as Rama Maga (රාමා මග) which leads through a restriction named Lakshmana Rekha (ලක්ශ්මන රේඛා). As the cave is closely associated with the Ravana Legend in Sri Lanka, I thought that it was fitting for this map to be steeped with Ramayana mythology, which indeed a fascinating epic to read.

Few more areas need to be explored to check if the cave continues on (as it does in the general direction of Ravana Falls, leading me to believe that this is fed from the same water source. The water level rises as much as 5 meters during heavy rains. Hence the depths mentioned here should be taken after adding 7m (dry season) and 12m (wet season). I.e. the maximum depth in wet season is around 30m.

Here I have developed the map based off a clay model I did. A more professional map will be developed eventually containing exact measurements.

" - Dharshana Jayawardena
Ravan's Nil Diya Pokuna underwater map by Dharshana Jayawardena

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