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Nuwara Eliya Travel Guide

Nuwara Eliya Sri Lanka – Nuwara Eliya travel guide

Nuwara Eliya is the well-known destination for healing climate and uneven terrain. Nuwara Eliya a charming holiday destination in the mountains lies about 3 hours drive from Colombo. The beautiful city tucked in a valley above 1800 meter above the sea level and surrounded by a rocky outcrop. Tea plantations, waterfalls, streams, rivers, lakes, green-capped mountains, forests and vegetable gardens are the main ingredients of the tourist attractions in the region.

It may be difficult to make your mind to leave the city, once you fall in love with this romantic holiday destination. Nuwara Eliya is among the most popular holiday destinations in the country. Nuwara Eliya, the most popular hill country holiday resort of Sri Lanka is essentially attributed to the idea of Governor Barnes. The city was built as a holiday resort for the soldiers of the British army in the early 100’s. It was named as little England and governor intended it to show some resemblance to cities in England. The city was planned at the foot of Pidurutalagala Mountain. Nuwara Eliya expands well over 17 Sq.km and surrounded by mountains. The British nationals were flocked to the city during their occupation of the country. The city was planned to entertain the British officers and the city was given similarities to their native cities with English style building and imported trees and plants from England.

As the largest city in the mountains, Nuwara Eliya plays an important role in Sri Lanka’s tourism industry. Undoubtedly Nuwara Eliya is the most popular health resort in the island and features a blend of colonial charm, modern development and slum areas, inherited from the colonial plantation culture. Nuwara Eliya was an important seat of British colonial administration. Due to its healing climate and some similarities of vegetation to the home country, the British administration decided to develop Nuwara Eliya as a holiday destination.

Nuwara eliya

Nuwara Eliya and the surrounding area boast to have beautiful gardens, wonderful churches, fascinating monasteries, mountains, ravines and tea plantations that make the city a top-notch attraction for travellers, who spend their holiday in Sri Lanka. Over time, Nuwara Eliya has been earned a reputation for being one of the best places for adventure holidays in Sri Lanka. On the other hand, Nuwara Eliya is the best destination to enjoy the awe-inspiring scenery in the mountains. As such, Nuwara Eliya is recognized as a must-visit place on the island.

Nestled among the mountains, Nuwara Eliya is surrounded by a mountain range. The best time of the year to visit the city is from November to April, en west Sri Lanka and southern coast having the dry, sunny and warm weather. During this period, mountains also have a similarly beautiful and exiting weather conditions. Nuwara Eliya is notably known for its healing climate. Usually, the temperature is about 15C˚ during the day, while it drops to 0C˚ after the sunset.

The city is full of British colonial charm relaxed atmosphere. The development of Nuwara Eliya is essentially attributed to British colonial rulers. Still, British domination is demonstrated by the Theodor styled building, racecourse and golf course.

Ramboda fall

Nuwara Eliya wasantha udanaya

The city is most lively and engulfed with a carnival atmosphere in the month of April, during the “Wasantha Udanaya”. The city attracts a large number of travellers during April and there are lots of activities to keep the travellers busy during this period.

Nuwara Eliya is one of the best holiday destinations for the adventure enthusiast. Adventurous Mountain and rock climbing, trekking, mountain biking, camping are some of the popular activities here. Trekking and mountain climbing tours are best activities without any doubt, during your vacation in Nuwara Eliya. Due to the very satisfactory conditions for mountaineering holidays, most travellers regard Nuwara Eliya as the best happening alternative to the coastal belt and which you can trust without any doubt.

If you love to have warm sunny weather similar to the coastal region, then Nuwara Eliya is not the best place for you. Because, Nuwara Eliya is best known for its mild temperature and it is a popular hideout for local tourists, during the warm days of the dry season in the low elevated areas. If you want to enjoy the beautiful mountains, waterfalls, patches of forests, and tea plantations, you can join a group tour that organized by Seerendipity tours or you can have your own tailor-made tour, if you love to have privacy during the tour.

Nuwara eliya golf course

Religion and education in Nuwara Eliya during the British period

The earliest reference to a religious establishment in ‘modern’ Nuwara Eliya had been in 1844 by the Oratorian Father Horatio Bettachini, Who had mentioned of a church of which had been built by then in Nuwara Eliya. However the Holy Trinity Church in Nuwara Eliya-the oldest on record-had been built on land granted to the church in 1847 and it is recorded that by 1852, the church building had been completed and consecrated. The church as it stands today had undergone improvement over the years and a considerable enlargement of its buildings had been recorded for the year 1896.

It was later that the present St.Xaviers Church had come-up and is supposed to have been built on land granted by Viscount Torrington in 1884. Over the years the activity of this church had been consistent and by 1924 another chapel had been opened at Blackpool by some o the Catholics who had gone to reside in that area then known as Elk-plains and now Ruwan Eliya.

Another church of note which had been set-up in Nuwara Eliya in the early 20th century was the Union Church built by Arnold Paynter in 1912.

Commenting on the religious aspects of the Buddhists F.C Fisher the assistant Agent, said in 18727 that the affairs of the Buddhist temple in the district were in the most deplorable state of disorder. However, by 1889, the first temple in Nuwara Eliya the Sri Maha Viharaya at Blackpool had been started. It is said that the Temple had been built on land granted for the purpose by the Sri Saddharmadhara Society, who had purchased it in 1887. Two other temples which have come up later in Nuwara Eliya are the Gangaramaya at Blackpool and the Asokaramaya at Boralanda. Asokaramaya was begun in 1937, in Boralanda or the Moon plans area by a grant of land obtained by Pieris Samarawickrema from Reginald Francis, Herbert Lushinton, Samuel Julien Baker, John Randell Baker, Margaret Papper Koch, and Geraldine Baker. Building operations on this land commenced in 1937 and it had been completed in 1939. The temples, in general, had looked after both the religious and educational needs of the Buddhist through the establishment of the school and by providing library facilities and the like, in their institutions.

Providing adequate educational facilities in Nuwara Eliya had been a rather slow process. As early as 1847 there had been a government vernacular school at Nuwara Eliya and in a report submitted to the Assistant Government Agent in 1853, its teacher Mr.A.de Zylva listed the school property in his charge, which gives a picture of the establishment in that year.

By 1859 the church too had a school, with a single teacher and 33 pupils on roll. By 1860 there was, in addition, a mixed school run by the government, but in all these the attendance as well as facilities had been minimal.  In 1868 the Assistant Government Agent Liesching called for the establishment of a Public School for European children and by 1888 St.Edward had been established in Nuwara Eliya for the benefit of mostly the planting community.

The beginning of Good-shepherd Convent goes back to 1902 when the sister moved to a place called the ‘Nest’ where the convent was to come up later. In 1921 St.Xavier’s had registered itself as an English school too which had progressed during the ensuing three decades. The Holy Trinity School too which had been running as a school for some time was registered with the government round this period. In 1928 an industrial school was established in Nuwara Eliya and in 1938 was established a secondary school known as Gamini Vidyalaya. During the recent past, a few more schools have come up in Nuwara Eliya to meet the requirements of an increased population. Sri Piyatissa Vidyalaya at Boralanda had been established in 1957 while Sri Vajiragnana Vidyalaya which was established in 1959, has subsequently established a weaving School, a Carpentry School and a Primary school as well.

Nuwara eliya
Nuwara Eliya one of the most beautiful cities in Sri Lanka with many waterfalls, river, patches of forests and tea plantations

Nuwara Eliya City

In Nuwara Eliya city you can enjoy touring the market, where many varieties of locally grown vegetable and fruits are sold. Don’t forget to drop into the Balay bazaar, located in the middle of Nuwara Eliya city, where you get clothes especially suitable for cold weather, most importantly you pay here a fraction of the money, what you pay in most countries around the world. If you want to see the stunning British architectural mansions in Nuwara Eliya, take a ride around the racecourse. You can judge of the luxurious life the colonial rules enjoyed as they were ruling the country, upon seeing those beautiful mansions. If you are just a passerby like most round tour guests and have not much time to spend in Nuwara Eliya city, then a city tour is the best alternative for you. It gives you the possibility to see many attractions within a short period of time.

Shopping in Nuwara Eliya is also a very exciting thing to do. You can see the shops, stalls and vehicles that sell clothes and clothing accessories everywhere. Perhaps Nuwara Eliya is the best city to buy clothes for the winter season in Sri Lanka. And the best thing is, all the products cost a fraction of the real value of those items. Being a city with Tamil majority Nuwara Eliya is a city with a large number of a restaurant to try Indian cuisines. It will be difficult to make a choice for a restaurant here, but you have to try Dosai and wade whatever you choose as your restaurant. They are the top dishes among the local people here.

grand hotel nuwara eliya
This colonial mansion is situated in

Nuwara Eliya hotels/Grand hotel

Brimming with colonial splendour, the grand hotel is a mixed bag of old-world charm and comfort. The architecture of this impressive hotel is British inspired. The main lobby area was built during the early half of 18’s and used as the official residence in the mountains by the British governor, later it was converted to a hotel.

The interior of the hotel is exquisite, featuring wood-burning fireplaces and rare type of paintings; the hotel has undergone a massive renovation and upgrade of amenities recently but it has retained its grace while enjoying the modernization. All rooms have rich fabrics and furnishing so that guests pampered.

Built-in the old British style, surrounded by elegantly landscaped, lush gardens, you may feel like been to a more genteel era entirely. When you’re ready to re-emerge into the modern world, the hotel’s gym, restaurant, and conference centre will be waiting. Set off for a stroll outside the hotel after a massive buffet breakfast to see the highest point of the island that looms large behind the city – called Pidurutalagala. Views of the green-capped mountains rising in the distance are a photographer’s dream, and the enthusiast of nature will revel in the Galway’s bird sanctuary lies on a sprawling property nearby. Be sure that you encounter hundreds of sambur and take a glimpse of the vegetation in the Horton plains; there is no other mountain forest similar to this natural jewel anywhere else in the world.

The hotel is settled in an 18th-century building, is not only a luxury hotel, but it is also alive with history, big on charm and old-fashioned hospitality and the hotel lives up to its name. The guests are welcomed with a big smile and served with a freshly brewed cup of tea with a piece of jaggery to carry on the Sri Lankan style of tea serving. Grand hotel boasts clean lines and a modern aesthetic, while the empty spaces are decorated with valuable artefacts and antique furniture. The grand hotel has striking avant-garde artworks in the lobby and public areas. The spacious, cosy and luxurious restaurant can accommodate nearly hundred of guests and offers a spate of cuisine covering the whole world.

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