Things To See & Do in Nuwara Eliya
Wondering what are the things to do in Nuwara Eliya? or things to see in Nuwara Eliya? This city is located high up in the heart of the tea country and in the shade of Pidurutalagala, the highest mountain of Sri Lanka.
Located at 1868 meters above the sea it is characterized by a mild and cool climate, which is quite different from the rest of the island and its tropical climate.
These natural conditions were the cause of why the city was founded in the 19th century by famed English explorer Sir Samuel Baker, as a mountain retreat for British colonists and wealthy planters.
Because much of the city has preserved the colonial-era architecture, reminiscent of the English countryside, and cool climate, it is often referred to as Little England.
Today, this city is the center of tea production in Sri Lanka and one of the most popular places for visitors wishing to enjoy the astoundingly rich and lush green scenery of Sri Lanka’s central plains.
If you plan to visit Nuwara Eliya, here’s the list of places you should visit and the things you should do.
Arrive in Nuwara Eliya by Train
Though it might sound a bit odd that just traveling to someplace is a thing you must do, the scenery which surrounds the railway between Kandy and Ella makes this trip more than just pretty. Especially if you are traveling from Ella.
The train gently snakes around the hills of Horton Plains National Park, through lush green rain forests and tea plantations.
The scenery makes this trip one of the most scenic in the world, and the natural beauty of it cannot be expressed by words, you just have to see it for yourself.
Tour a Tea Plantation
When you are visiting the tea country of Sri Lanka it would be a shame not to have a tour of one of the many tea plantations where some of the best tea in the world is grown.
Besides sampling some of the excellent brews, you will be able to treat yourself to knowledge about the history and methods of producing the most important agricultural product of Sri Lanka.
But also to enchanting landscapes of verdant green tea plantations surrounded by mist-covered hills.
Relaxing on Lake Gregory
When the city was established in the 19th century it quickly started growing. To make more land available for expansion of Nuwara Eliya a swampy bog was drained by damming the Thalagala stream, which created Lake Gregory.
Quickly it has become a popular place for water sports and recreation. And if you wish to spend leisure time in the style of wealthy planters of olden days you can go boating, fishing, or strolling along the banks of Lake Gregory.
Ambewela and New Zealand Farms
Due to the mild and cool climate, near Nuwara Eliya, you can find sights that are more expected in the north of Europe than on tropical islands.
A short drive from the city you can find two dairy farms, in the town of Ambewela, where you can see herds of purebred Ayrshire and Friesian cattle freely grazing on the vast expense of the hilly grasslands.
These two breeds, which originate from England and the cold north of the Netherlands and Germany, are known for producing milk of exceptional quality, products of which you can enjoy here.
Hike the Horton Plains National Park
High above the cloud-covered valleys, above 2,100 meters of altitude, is located the plateau rich in biodiversity and natural beauty.
This national park area is one of the most important protected areas in Sri Lanka, and along with the Knuckles Mountain Range and Peak Wilderness Sanctuary in 2010 was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It is a very popular hiking location, and the most popular attraction is the World’s End. This is a sheer precipice that rises around 1,200 meters above the valley and offers a bewitching view of the surrounding area.
Seetha Amman Kovil
Sri Lanka’s history is intertwined with myths and legends, and one of those is the story of Indian epic Ramayana. According to it, King Ravana kidnapped princess Sitha and hid her on the island.
Because of her husband and the titular character of this epic, Lord Rama was trying to rescue her, Ravana was moving from place to place with Sitha trying to escape.
The last place where Sitha was held captive is where Seetha Amman Kovil is standing today.
This Hindu temple is unique for being the only one dedicated to this member of the Hindu pantheon, Princess Sitha.
Near this temple is a stream with rocky banks on which exist shallow circular depressions which are said to be footprints of Lord Hanuman.
Above the temple is a wooded area called Ashok Vatika, where according to the legend Lord Hanuman met Sitha for the first time and presented her with proof of his identity, a ring belonging to her husband Lord Rama.