About the City
Sri Lanka is known for its tropical beaches, sun and the warm climate, but within a four hour drive from the Colombo airport lies Nuwara Eliya, the main city of the Hill Country at an elevation of 1990 meters from sea level. With a fresh and cool climate, sunny days, gentle breeze and the low-lying mist, Nuwara Eliya is also known as ‘Little England’ not only because of the similarities of the climate but also due to the many splendid colonial style buildings, which have left behind the charming Victorian architecture of the British.
The area was discovered by the British, early in the 19th century and was transformed and developed in to a colonial city with roads connecting to other main cities and residential buildings built for the British rulers at the time. Nuwara Eliya soon became the home away from home for the British officials in Ceylon who wanted to escape to cooler climates. Most buildings in the city are characterized by the gabled roofs, stone walls and beautifully maintained flower gardens. The interior of the houses is unique unlike anywhere else in the island with log fire places, hunting memorabilia, wood paneling and timber floors.
Nuwara Eliya is one of the most scenic cities in the island, surrounded by green mountains with several gorgeous cascading waterfalls. Most mountains are covered with tea plantations. Vegetables such as carrots, leeks, beetroot, radishes and spring onions are also cultivated on layered mountains enhancing the colourfulness and the beauty of Nuwara Eliya.
Although most visitors to Sri Lanka don’t spend more than two nights in the hill county, there are many interesting activities and excursions to be experienced from Nuwara Eliya as listed below.
Visit a Tea Factory and a plantation to experience the process of manufacturing Ceylon Tea, the best tea in the world Visit and walk the trails of Ella Gap and surrounding hill-country towns such as Bandarawela, Haputale, Diyatalawa and Hatton Visit Horton Plains National Park, World’s End and Baker’s Falls Play Golf at the beautiful 18 – hole golf course in the city built in 1891 Visit the Hakkgala Botanical Garden Boat riding at the Gregory Lake.
Wonder around and experience the bird life at the Victoria Park located in the heart of the city Enjoy the beauty of many water falls such as Devon, St.Clair, Rawana Falls and many more.
Ella : The beautiful scenic city area of Ella is located 55km from Nuwara Eliya and 204km from Colombo on the leeward side of the central mountains. The view from Ella Gap is one of the most spectacular scenic sights in Sri Lanka – the landscape falls away in a dizzy drop of more than 1000 meters to the eastern plains.
The Ella rock is famous for the cave of Ravana a legendary King of Sri Lanka ruled during the pre-historic times. The legend says that King Ravana lived in the caves close to the Ravana Ella Falls. Ravana Ella water fall, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the island is located less than 6km south of Ella on the road from Ella to Wellawaya. This is about 350 meters in height and breaks in to several falls adding to its beauty.
Horton Plains National Park : Horton Plains is located 29km from Nuwara Eliya reached via Ambewela and Pattipola. Named after Sir Robert Horton, British Governor from 1831-1837, was declared a National Park in 1988 due to its unique watershed and bio-diversity values of the “Cloud Forest Reserve” and is 3160 hectares in extent.
The park is best visited early in the morning as the due drops lift by around mid-day. Both flora and fauna found in this National Park has a high level of endemism. The hills are covered with diverse wet low evergreen forests with even large trees growing flattened to the ground on the higher windswept slopes. Famous for its birdlife, 52 species of resident birds and 11 species of migrant birds have been recorded. Sambhur is most commonly seen but this National Park is the home for many other big game such as Monkey, Leopard, Barking Deer, Giant Squirrel, Fishing Cat, Wild Boar and Hare, though not seen often.
“World’s End” and “Little World’s End” falling from the Horton Plains close to 1000m and 330m respectively, to the land below and Baker’s Falls are the highlights of the visit and shouldn’t be missed. Horton Pains is the only National Park in Sri Lanka where visitors could walk on their own through the designated tracks.
Haggala Botanical Gardens : Just over 6km south east of Nuwara Eliya is another prominent peak, Haggala. At its foot lies the Haggala Botanical Garden, and above it is the Haggala Strict Nature Reserve. The garden is 55 acres in extent and is smaller and less exotic than the Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens, but at a 1707 meter elevation, the species of flora are quite different. Opened as an experimental Cinchona plantation for the production of the malaria antidote Quinine in 1860, the pride of the gardens is now roses, orchids, tree ferns and many other varieties of flowers from Sri Lanka and other countries of the world.
Map of the City