is located 150 km away from Colombo
in the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka.
Reaching Nuwara Eliya
can be reached from Colombo via Kandy
, the gateway to Central Highlands of Sri Lanka. Colombo-Kandy-Nuwara Eliya is the most scenic highland motor road of Sri Lanka. Though the city of Nuwara Eliya
has no Railway
station, the highland railway line of dramatic scenery that winds past the city of Nanu Oya makes the journey by train possible. The journey to Nuwara Eliya from Kandy by train as well as by car is equally spectacular.The alternative route to Nuwara Eliya from Colombo is via Hatton located in the southern area of the Central Highlands.
The Climate, terrain and vegetation of Nuwara Eliya
at an elevation of 1890 meters above the sea level, the highest city in Sri Lanka lies beneath the tallest peak of the island, Pidurutalagala or Mount Pedro (2555 meters).
Spring in Nuwara Eliya
The salubrious climate has made Nuwara Eliya into a sanatorium that attracts Sri Lankan tourists as well as the foreign tourists to the seasonal event during February to April. Golf tournaments, horse racing, motor cross, clay pigeon shooting and carnival features high in the festivities. The downside of the season is the accommodation rates that shoot up above all. With thousands of local tourists flocking to Nuwara Eliya filling up hotels and guest houses that provide budget accommodation in the season, narrowing the accommodation options, foreign tourists would find it necessary to have the hotel bookings well in advance.
The establishment of the city of Nuwara Eliya.
Though Nuwara Eliya
had been inhabited during the early period of the kingdom of Kandy, the existence of the spectacular “Eliya” (Sinhala: opening or clearing) valley set amidst the wooded green mountains wasn’t known to the Colonial British until the accidental discovery by the colonial civil servant John Davy in the year 1819. However it took another decade for the British to realize the potential. Governor Edward Barnes converted Nuwara Eliya into a commercial and a coffee –planting center during the 1830s. In the year 1847 the great colonial explorer Samuel Baker introduced the gardening of English vegetable at Nuwara-Eliya. To date Nuwara Eliya
, the leading producer of European vegetables in Sri Lanka, distribute its all vegetable products to the rest of the island.
Following the Coffee Blight in Sri Lanka during the 1870s, the plantation of tea was introduced by Sir James Taylor resulting in development of Nuwara Eliya district into the heart of the tea growing central highlands of Sri Lanka, then called Ceylon. The first plantation on experimental stages was established in 1867 at the Loolakandara Estate situated between Kandy and Nuwara Eliya. In the year 1885 the highland railway track was extended to Nanu Oya, a town 5km south of Nuwara Eliya
Victoria Park at Nuwara Eliya
In the center of the town is local Central Market. South of the market is Victoria Park spreading to an expanse of 27 acres with well maintained shrubs and trees. The cluster of exceedingly tall eucalyptuses is a main feature therein. Victoria Park, though in close proximity to the city center, is an ornithological hot spot where the birders would spend long hours. River Nanu Oya that runs through the Victoria park and a number of lakes within it supports the endemic birds of Sri Lanka as well as migrant birds from Himalayan are seen at the park. Among the birds are Kashmir flycatcher, Indian blue robin, pied thrush, dull-blue flycatcher, yellow-eared bulbul and dull-blue flycatcher.
Race Course and Golf Course at Nuwara Eliya
To the south of the park is racecourse. Behind the race course is Lake Gregory. Nuwara Eliya
’s all green sylvan golf course is located just opposite the Victoria Park. Built in 1891 by the British colonialists in Sri Lanka, then called Ceylon, 18-hole golf course is well maintained by Nuwara Eliya
golf club. The club rents golf equipment and charges a fee for playing at its golf course.
Single Tree Mountain
A path from the race course leads to Single Tree Mountain that affords a bird eye-view of the surrounding hills. Single Tree Mountain unravels the spectacular sceneries of the entire town of Nuwara Eliya
including Pidurutalagala Mountain, Haggala Mountain, Lake Gregory as well as Northern section of Horton Plains
Pedro and Labookelle tea estates at Nuwara Eliya
Pedro and Labookelle tea estates afford the opportunities to get on-site knowledge on tea industry of Sri Lanka.
Located 3 km east of Nuwara Eliya
, beneath a flank of Mount Pedro is the Pedro Tea estate. The resident guide at the estate explains and elaborates on the process of growing and manufacturing Ceylon Tea. Labookelle Tea Estate located 20 km north of Nuwara Eliya
, is set at an elevation of 2000 meters. The expansive estate is fully geared to host the visitors with a tour around property. The café is a fine place to enjoy a cup of Ceylon tea while having a slice of cake.
Soft adventure at Nuwara Eliya
Nuwara Eliya’s scenic mountainous terrain affords hiking possibilities. Mount Pedro or Pidurutalgala rising to a height of 2555meters above the sea level, though the summit isn’t open to the public, offers hiking opportunities. Waterfalls around Nuwara Eliya make the hiking and trekking all the more pleasant: Ramboda fall; Devon Falls; Lakshapna Falls. Turf club also located within the city affords all horse riding and pony riding. Boating opportunities are made possible by the boat house at Lake Gregory.
Horton Plains National Park, A UNESCO World Heritage perched on the edge of the Central Highlands midway between Nuwara Eliya
and Haputale, another hill country retreat, the highest plateau of Sri Lanka at 2000 feet, is a paradise of birders, nature lovers and hikers. The escarpment that falls sheer for over 1050 meters in the park at the southern edge of the highlands to the lowlands below, called World’s End, is an excursion that wouldn’t be missed at all by the holiday makers at Nuwara Eliya
Since the grand view from the World’s End is clouded with mist 10 am onwards, particularly during April to September, timing on arrival at the escarpment needs to be planned. Horton Plains can be reached from Haputale too.