Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka.

Reaching Nuwara Eliya

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.

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.

Horton Plains

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.