Nuwara-Eliya the 'heart' of the tea country located at an elevation of 1980 meters in the central highlands of a tropical island, it offers the best both worlds advantages, of tropical abundance and pleasant cool mountain climate. While the time climate is sub-tropical, night temperature plunge low enough to produce frost. Very high rainfall above 1900 mm is experiencing in the town during the period of South – West Monsoon (June to October) while average temperature is less than 15C. The daily mean temperature is 10C but it rises more during the months of January to March.

History says Nuwara Eliya is discovered by a hunting party led by Dr. John Davy in 1818. The British governor at the time, Sir Edward Barnes, was told about this and subsequently decided to take residence there, soon creating a health resort, which soon became internationally renown.

Nuwara Eliya is decidedly English in someway (houses, gardens and places names) and was actually planned to be an English village by a pioneering Englishman, Sir Samuel Baker in the mid 19th Century.

John Davy, Samuel Baker & Governor Edward Barnes

Nuwara Eliya region was "discovered" by the colonial administrator, legendary Major John Davy in 1819. However, it took another decade for Nuwara Eliya to develop into a commercial & coffee-planting center: it was only in 1930, Colombo- Kandy road was extended to Nuwara Eliya under the guidance of then Governor of Ceylon (1824-1831), Edward Barnes. Nuwara Eliya became the prime highland retreat of the colonialists in Ceylon.

In 1846 a young Englishman by the name of Samuel Baker (1821-1893), who had taken a liking to hunting elephants, sambar & boar in the island, resolved to convert Nuwara Eliya, the regular retreat of the colonialists into a model English village. Baker imported Hereford cows & planted strawberries, carrots & leeks which thrived in the eternal spring climate. He planned to build a brewery & sent for all he would need including an arsenal of sporting firearms, farm hands, artisans, a bailiff, a blacksmith with forge, farming machinery & horse-drawn carriage. The only means of transport then was through the Ramboda Pass using bullock wagons & elephant carts. Yet it all arrived safely. The hunter went on to become the discoverer of Lake Albert, the explorer of the Nile and interior of central Africa, Pasha and Major-General in the Ottoman Empire and Egypt & most of all a distinguished writer.

An English village, almost.

All these English vegetables are still grown in abundance today. Also grown in abundance are flowers. The town still boasts of fine colonial hotels, along with scattered atmospheric villas & guest houses. The town is also brightened up with luxuriant green spaces of 18-hole golf course, trout streams (brown trout in the lake for anglers), the Victorian style old pink-brick post office, race course & English-country-house-styled Hill Club. The club displays an array of hunting pictures, mounted fish & hunting trophies. Houses with mock Tudor half-timbering & hedges, extensive private gardens where dahlias, snap dragons, petunias & roses grow amongst well-kept lawns are scattered around.

Intensively cultivated field of vegetables

The road out of Nuwara Eliya towards Hakgala Botanical Gardens of Sri Lanka Holidays passes through intensively cultivated fields of vegetables. A short walk up the surrounding hillsides shows the extent to which the intensive cultivation methods have transformed Nuwara Eliya into one of Sri Lanka's most productive agricultural areas. Vegetables grown in Nuwara Eliya are still distributed all over the island. Flowers are extensively cultivated for export to Colombo abroad.

The railway connection

The key to Nuwara Eliya's prosperity lay in the railway connection from Colombo to the hills. The hill country railway line of Ceylon was extended from Talawakele to Nanu Oya in 1885, & very steep narrow gauge line right into Nuwara Eliya was opened in 1910, but subsequently closed to passenger traffic in 1940 as busses began to provide effective competition.

Sinhalese New Year holidays in April

Even today Sri Lanka's affluent still rush to Nuwara Eliya not simply to see but to be seen by the affluent during the Sinhalese New Year of Sri Lanka holidays in April. With mountains, forests, wilderness areas & national parks are all within easy reach, starting only 8km (5 miles) from the centre, Nuwara Eliya is a very popular base for bird-watchers & eco tourists. There are attractive walks round the small town, which has lawns, parks, an Anglican church & the nostalgic Hill Club. To the south of town are the racecourse & Lake Gregory. Boats are hired from Chalet du Lake.


Lake Gregory

Lake Gregory is one of the significant tourist attractions in Nuwara Eliya. It was built by the Governor William Gregory during 1872 – 1877 periods by utilizing the water from the Nanuoya which runs across the town. It is about 91.2 hectares in extent. It was said to be used for water sports and for re-recreational activities during the British rule. A boat yard now allows visitors to go boating and rowing.
Hakgala Botanical Garden

Botanic Gardens at Hakgala were established in 1861 for the purpose of experimentation and promotion of Cinchona cultivation in Sri Lanka. The gardens lying in the hill country among Sri Lanka's tea plantations in the Nuwara Eliya district are located along the Badulla Road, 9.5 km South-east of Nuwara Eliya, the popular holiday resort.

Situated at an elevation of about 1745 m above mean sea level, Hakgala Botanic Gardens, about 28 hectares in extent, lie under the shadow of the Hakgala Rock (meaning “Elephant's jaw rock”). This massive rock towers to a height of about 2,200m behind the gardens and the surrounding forest reserve like a solitary giant.

    Horton Plains National Park  

Horton Plains National Park is a protected area in the central highlands of Sri Lanka and is covered by montane grassland and cloud forest. This plateau at an altitude of 2,100–2,300 meters (6,900–7,500 ft) is rich in biodiversity and many species found here are endemic to the region. This region was designated a national park in 1988. It is also a popular tourist destination and is situated 32 kilometers (20 mi) from Nuwara Eliya.

    Nuwara eliya Golf Club  
  Nuwara eliya Golf Club

Walking distance from the town center spread over 90 acres, over a hundred years old (built in 1891), the 18 holes golf course is one of Nuwara Eliya’s biggest attractions. It is reputed to be the only Golf Course where all the holes are visible from the Club House or accessible by car. In the old British cemetery at the rear of the Club House is the memorial to Major Rogers, the elephant hunter credited with killing around 1500 elephants.


    Tea Country  

Sri Lanka is one of the world's largest exporters of tea. The finest tea in the world, Ceylon Tea is cultivated & processed in Sri Lanka. Since the introduction of tea to Sri Lanka in mid 19th century Nuwara Eliya has been the capital of the tea country of Highlands of Sri Lanka.

    Water Falls around Nuwara Eliya  

There are many popular water falls around the town. Many could be visited as a part of trekking and/or hiking expeditions.

    Ramboda Waterfall  
  329 ft. is also an attraction in this area.  
    Davon Waterfall  
  (Named after Devon, a pioneer coffee planter) - Falls drops 97 meters and is It is 6 Km west of Thalawakelle and there is a special parking and viewing spot at the 20th mile post.  
    Lakshapana Falls  
  off the Nuwara Eliya - Kandapola Road. The Nuwara Eliya beer is brewed from the water of the stream. Lakshapana Falls rise from the Lakshapana estate and plunges into the Maskeliya Oya via Maoussakelle. Viewing this fall is easy if you camp down at Upper Glen cairn, Dickoya.  
    Lover's Leap  
  (It is said how an eloping couple, pursued by an irate father, threw themselves over the falls.) This is off the Nuwara Eliya - Kandapola Road. The waters are taken to brew the famous Nuwara Eliya Beer.  
    The Ceylon Breweries - Nuwara eliya  
  The brewing of beer was started in Nuwara Eliya by Sir Samuel Baker in 1881 at Lover's Leap. It is an interesting visit, for the brewery is one of the finest in the island. It's been in business since 1884.
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