The hill country is strewn with beautiful tea plantations, the origins of Ceylon Tea. A scenic sight will greet you: rolling green hills, lines of pine and eucalyptus trees, neatly manicured rows of flowering plants, the odd white coloured tea factory and busy tea pluckers going about their daily job as well. The best way to take a trip is to take the train in the observation deck, seeing the Sri Lankan country side going past the jungles, paddy fields and up to the tea plantations.
Stay in the town of Nuwara Eliya during December-May, visiting the horse races, car races (in April), taking a boat ride on the lake, playing on the green at a golf course or experiencing ‘Little England’ with it very English (Georgian to Queen Anne) architecture. While there visit Pidurutalagala, Sri Lanka’s highest peak, located just 2km away.
A must see on a tourist’s agenda is the Central Highlands, a UNESCO World Heritage Site comprising of the Peak Wilderness Protected Area, the Horton Plains National Park (2134m above sea level, spanning 10,000 hectares and blessed with many fauna and flora) and the Knuckles Conservation Forest. Horton Plains, a naturalist’s dream destination also offers the adventure enthusiast with great camping locations and World’s End, a 3700ft drop offering amazing views of tea estates below.
Also in the region is Hatton, Maskeliya, Bandarawela, Thalawakele, Haputale and Ella, each with has something to offer in terms of beautiful locations – cave temples, tea estates, waterfalls, kovils etc. awaiting to be discovered. And while doing this round, do take a ‘Tea Trail’ and stay at an old mansion converted luxury hotels (once homes to colonial era planters).
Legends about, Adam’s Peak located to the south of the region is considered a religious place by many. The Buddhists call it Sri Pada (Sacred Footprint) where Buddha left behind his foot print on one of his visited to the island many centuries ago. Hindu’s believe it to hold the footprint of Lord Shiva. And Christians believe it was where Adam first arrived at. The peak is also known locally as Samanalakande (Butterfly Mountain) as it is where, annually, butterflies journey to die. The pilgrim season seas devotees climb this 2243m high mountain from December to May: it can be very crowded during this time.
And while on the go, take pictures of dazzling waterfalls such as Diyaluma Falls, Devon falls, St Claire’s and Bakers Falls!