Nuwara-Eliya is one of the cities that lie at the highest altitude of Sri Lanka and is popular as a paradise holiday destination. Located in the central hills, 180km away from Colombo, Nuwara-Eliya is a classic example of climate diversity of Sri Lanka. It is also a city where the influence of the British-Colonial architecture is visible.
Covered and cornered from three of the highest mountains of the country that is Piduruthalagala, the Great Western & Haggala, it becomes a paradise of its own isolating itself from other bustling cities and towns. However, it offers many activities for tourists such as hiking, pony riding, boating, golfing, visits to the tea plantations and the lovely landscapes & parks.
Nuwara-Eliya boasts a cool climate but gets warmer and is considered as the summer season during the period from March to May.
It is believed that King Rawana had a capital in the region of Nuwara-Eliya. It is said that King Rawana kept Sita in a place called 'Sita-Eliya' where we can now find a Hindu Kovil known as Sita Amman Kovil (a Hindu Temple) lying close to the Haggala Botanic Garden. It is also said that King Rawana punished Hanuman when the Monkey-Leader together with his monkey army came to save Sita and lit Hanuman's tail on fire. Hanuman used his swift movement ability and burnt King Rawana's entire city, legend says that the black soil found in the Nuwara-Eliya region is a result of this burning and that it is the only ruins left of the capital of King Rawana.
Ancient Kings kept Nuwara-Eliya as a treasure; they did not construct any building in the region to keep the natural beauty as well as to protect the natural resources. However, they knew about the resource availability and then used footpaths to collect gems & materials to produce arms.
Dr John Davy led his hunting party into the region when he rediscovered Nuwara-Eliya in the year 1818. He had a vision & plans as the British Governor that he discussed together with his fellow colonialist Sir Samuel Baker to turn Nuwara-Eliya into an English Village. Since many of the colonialists resided at this region, you are still able to see the remaining British architectural grandeur. Even the modern buildings are built using the same style of architecture to keep the uniqueness of the region.
Dr John Davy also expressed his amazement of the huge Elephant gathering, wild animals, gems & trees. Oliphant Estate is enjoyed by all travellers, and is the Elephant Plane where a huge number of Elephants gathering was witnessed by Dr John Davy. There were two elephant killers during the colonial ruling whose grave yards can still be seen. It is said that Major William Tomas Rogers killed over 1500 Elephants until his death.
It is said that Sir Edward Barnes who was later named 'the father of Nuwara-Eliya' is responsible for most of the constructions and also to the state that Nuwara-Eliya is today. After constructing many roads and shelters, he built a holiday-home spending £8000 which was earlier called 'Barnes Hall' and now it is known as the famous 'Grand Hotel of Nuwara-Eliya' with more than 150 rooms to stay.
Baker's Farm of Nuwara-Eliya is another creation of colonialist Sir Samuel Baker. At first instance of transporting all the labour he had including his brothers. He somehow achieved his mission creating the farm and the stone pillars placed as a memory can be still seen. He continued his mission brewing his own beer, and tried growing grapes, oats, barley & wheat which were failed experiments. After constructing a hospital ward which still lies in the base hospital in Nuwara-Eliya at Hawa-Eliya, he returned to England after closing down the farm. Sri Lanka's broadest waterfall 'Bakers Fall' is named after him.
Governor William Gregory constructed the lake during his rule from 1872 to 1877 utilising water from Nanu Oya which runs across the town. It is about 91.2 hectares in extent and was used for water sports and recreational activities at the time of the British rule. Lake Gregory is a significant tourist attraction loved locals and foreigners alike. Boat Yard offers boating for people who love & enjoy being with the water.
Galway's Land & Bird Sanctuary
Beautiful escapade of 27 hectares was gazetted as a 'Bird Sanctuary' in the year 1938. Sanctuary attracts around 20 very rare foreign birds and about 30 different types of Sri Lankan birds. In addition to attracting most of the endemic birds as well as migrant birds you can find valuable trees in here as well.
Galway's Land & Bird Sanctuary is now under the purview of 'Department of Wildlife Conservation' and a permit is required to enter the sanctuary.
It is said that this is the only 'Golf Club' where golfers are able to see all the holes from the club house and accessible from car. Rear of the club house you are able to see the memorial of Major William Rogers who is notorious for gunning hundreds of elephants down. The Golf Club is located walking distance from the town centre and is a beautiful landscape of more than 90 acres. It is considered as one of the biggest attractions in Nuwara-Eliya.
Entrance to the estate is closer if you enter Nuwara-Eliya from the Ramboda Pass end and is important as it is in this estate where Mr Laurence Oliphant planted the first thirty tea plants sent from China. This planting increased Mr Oliphant's tea acreage to 100. This is also known as the old elephant plain where number of elephant's refuge till they were ruthlessly killed by the elephant killers.
Mount Piduruthalagala -Trekking & Hiking
The tallest point of Sri Lanka and the Piduruthalagala Mountain covers and stands tall from the northern end of the Nuwara-Eliya city at 2524m. This is also known as Mount Pedro in English. Central communication towers are visible at the top of the mountain; this is a very important communication point of the country and also is an important point of the country's radar system.
Peak of the mountain is therefore considered as an 'Ultra High Security Zone', secured by a large military base. All adventure enthusiastic travellers can enjoy a hike up to the 7000 ft limit.
Shanthipura -City view
With many small villages and the vibrating culture, Nuwara-Eliya provide travellers with landscapes that never get them bored. One such small village that is in the highest point is Shanthipura.
Single Tree Hill
Another great place to enjoy the beauty of Nuwara-Eliya, from here you are able to view all three mountain ranges that covers the beautiful city of Nuwara-Eliya.
Pedro Tea Factory
style="text-align: justify;"Closest Tea Factory to the town of Nuwara-Eliya and produces high quality tea. This is also considered one of the most modern tea factories in Nuwara-Eliya.
Sir Samuel Baker started brewing beer in Nuwara-Eliya in 1881 at Lover's Leap. Ceylon brewery is also an interesting place to visit as it is one of the finest in the country. They have been in the business since 1884.
Horton Plains is the only national park that is based in the hill country. It is the best escapade for nature & adventure lovers. Beautiful grassy land provides stay to many wild animals such as Leopard, Sambar and the endemic Purple-faced Langur. Endemic highland birds include Dull-blue Flycatcher, Sri Lanka White-eye, and Yellow-eared Bulbul.
All travellers enjoy their travel by visiting 'World's End' where 'Horton Plains' suddenly stops with a steep of 1050 metres as if the whole world ends there. Misty surrounding makes it so real.
Flostyle="text-align: justify;"ra -744 flowering plants, 112 endemic and 78 identified as endangered, 50 different grasses most of which are endemic to the island.
Fauna -460 Birds, 33 endemic, 100 confined to Horton Plains, 10 types of mammals, some reptiles, amphibians and butterflies.
Originally used as a research field. 1897 it was declared 'Victoria Park' in commemoration of the 60th Jubilee Coronation. It is said that this was established as a park after a German Princess planting an Oak tree here. It is a beautiful landscape of more than 27 acres with 90% of trees being not indigenous.
Number of lakes within the park including the Nanu Oya which flows across the park makes the park even more attractive. It is also a paradise for bird watchers at quieter times when they are able to see Indian Blue Robin, Pled Thrush, Scaly Thrush, and Kashmir Flycatcher.
Haggala Botanic Garden
This was established under the curatorship of three Britishers -William Nock, J K Nock, & J J Nock. It is a beautiful experience to have when you visit Nuwara-Eliya which lies below the mountain range of Haggala. It is located at 5000-6000 ft high and is said to be the highest set botanical garden in the world.
(More details appear under “National Botanic Gardens of Sri Lanka).
Kotmale and Sri Lanka's second largest power station
A small town, Kotmale was inhabited during the reign of King Kawantissa (205 -161BC). It was also the beginning of Anuradhapura Kingdom. Son of King Kawantissa, Gemunu found his comfort and getaway in Kotmale after running away from the palace because of the fall-out with his father.
Kotmale Dam which is the second largest hydroelectric power station in the island was completed in the year 1985. Construction of this project started in the year 1979.
Ramboda and Ramboda Falls
Rstyle="text-align: justify;"amboda is one of the small towns near 'Nuwara-Eliya and renown waterfall in the town makes it a worthy place to visit. Ramboda falls is the 11th highest waterfall in Sri Lanka and it is the 729th highest of the world.