Located 200 km east of Colombo and 28 km south of Badulla town, Bandarawela is one of the key towns with tourist attractions. Bandarawela town had much development during the British colonial era and buildings such as 'Cargills Building', 'Bandarawela Hotel', and 'Tennis Club' bear evidence to their influences. Bandarawela is a town that has mild weather all year around because it is situated at a higher altitude. Bandarawela is one of the popular locations amongst local travellers as it is a destination that provides relaxing environmental conditions & soothing climate to make the family gatherings enjoyable and memorable.
Historical references mention that King Valagamba found his perfect hideout at Dhowa area in Bandarawela to regroup his army to battle against the south Indian Chola invaders. Ancient 'Dhowa rock temple' is one of the historic places which you could visit. It is said that the temple was founded by 'King Valagamba' in the first century BC. Roman Catholic Church, St Anthony's Church & Methodist Church are some of the other historic places that belong to the colonial era.
Bandarawela town has a mix population with a Sinhala majority. When the British introduced tea plantation to Sri Lanka, they hired south Indian Tamils as labourers to work on the tea estates. Hence, the central hills including Bandarawala started to be inhabited by immigrant Tamils.
Bandarawela boasts of one of the healthiest climates in the world and average temperature of the region stands at 12oC in December and rises up to 27oC from May to June. This climatic condition suits perfectly for Tea plantation.
Attractions in and around Bandarawela
Located 12 km away from Bandarawela town, Lipton Seats is a 360o view point where one can view the entire surrounding. It is said that this was the favourite view point of 'Thomas Lipton' who was a planter. Panoramic view of the area will be disturbed if it is a misty day, March to August is considered as the best season to enjoy 'Lipton Seats'.
Ravana Falls, Caves & the Temple
Ravana Falls is 82ft tall beautiful waterfall lying on the Ella-Wellawaya main road, 11 kilometres away from Bandarawela. It is believed that after taking Sita, 'King Ravana' kept her in the caves behind this waterfall. Ravana Cave located 1370m above sea level is one of the loveliest places that attract both local and foreign tourists.
Ravana Temple is a cave temple built by King Valagamba in the 2nd century BC. The temple has paintings and sculptures that belong to Kandyan era as they show similar features. Though decayed, walls and canopy have been restored.
With a height of 865 feet, Bambarakanda Falls stands the highest waterfall in Sri Lanka. This breathtaking waterfall lies at Kalupahana, Haldummulla and could be reached via Haputale. The area around the falls is blessed with scenic beauty. It is best to see the falls from September to March as it becomes full during this period due to monsoonal rains.
Diyaluma Falls is another beautiful sight where locals and foreign tourists throng. With a height of 660 feet, Diyaluma Falls stands the second highest waterfall in Sri Lanka. Created by Punagala Oya, a tributary of Kuda Oya, this beautiful waterfall lies close to Koslanda.
Lying 6 km east of Bandarawela on the Badulla Road, Dowa Temple is an ancient Buddhist temple believed to be founded by King Valagamba in the first century BC. You can witness the historic Kandyan era paintings of Jataka Stories of Buddha (Stories of Buddha's previous lives). A tall standing Buddha image sculptured on a rock can be seen at the temple.
Adisham Bungalow initially was a property of Sir Thomas Lester Villiers but now it has turned to be a monastery and is one of the only 18 monasteries in the world belonging to the Sylvester Congregation which is a suborder of Benedictine Fraternity. This will be a memorable experience for a visitor and an opportunity to get lost in the soothing surroundings.
Thangamalai Bird Sanctuary
Thangamalai Bird Sanctuary is situated in a peaceful surrounding closer to Adisham Monastery. Birds are limited to jungle and a walk though could be enjoyed.