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  • Kandy & Hill Country

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Kandy and the Hill Country

The Sri Lanka's Hill-Country offers the most scenic, mist-wrapped sceneries of dramatic mountain peaks and rolling hillsides, carpeted with tea plantations. A world away from the tropical beaches and sweltering cities in the lowlands, the peaceful highlands with emerald green landscapes and the cool climate are a nature lover's paradise.

The northern part of the Hill-Country has been shaped by strong Sinhalese traditions, that live on in music, dance and architecture. The historic city of Kandy, Sri Lanka’s last independent kingdom, is home to the famous Temple of the Tooth, the country's most revered Buddhist relic, and the spectacular Perahera festival.

In contrast, the southern region preserves the British heritage of the colonial era, when the production of tea was introduced to Sri Lanka. Especially Nuwara Eliya, set in the heart of the Tea Country, still retains the feel of the ‘old world’ in its grandiose colonial style buildings.

The sleepy little towns and villages like Ella, Hatton and Haputale, offer a perfect base for relaxing with lots of fantastic walks through forests and tea plantations to temples and waterfalls. And the more adventurous may hike up to the summit of the Adam's Peak, go for trekking in the Knuckles Mountain Range or head to the Horton Plains National Park, known for an astounding 1,200-meter-high cliff called the World's End.

Adam’s Peak

The island's fourth highest peak at 2,240-meters over the western edge of the central massif, Sri Pada, also known as Adam’s Peak, has sparked imaginations for centuries, and offers the most spectacular views of jungle-covered hills and clouds lying 500 meters below.

For more than 1000 years, Sri Pada has been a pilgrimage site. Legend has it that the mountain features a footprint originally made by the Buddha on his third visit to the island. Some Christians believe it may be the spot where Adam first set foot on earth after he was banished from the Garden of Eden. Others claim it to be the footprint of St. Thomas, the Apostle. Hindus believe it to be Lord Shiva’s footprint.

The mountain is also known as the "butterfly mountain" for the large numbers of butterflies that visit and perish each year. In addition to Adam's Peak itself, the Peak Wilderness Sanctuary offers superb nature trails through tropical rainforests, across rivers and past lush tea plantation.

The majority of climbers begin the ascent at night to witness the magical sunrise from the summit.The pilgrimage season runs from Unduwap poya (Full Moon Day of December) to Wesak poya Festival (in May). At this time, there is a constant stream of pilgrims and the top can get very crowded, and especially from January to February.

Climbing Sri Pada is possible during the off-season too. However, due to the weather conditions, we recommend to climb the mountain in daytime.

The memory of a magical sceneries over the mystic peak will outlive the aches and pains you may feel from the climb!

 

Bandarawela

Bandarawela is a busy market town with a shooting climate that makes it an agreeable base for exploring the mountains, waterfalls and temples in the surrounding area.

Situated at an altitude of 1230 m and 10 kms north from Haputale, Bandarawela is easily accessible through the Colombo-Badulla Main Road by vehicle and the upcountry trains that pass through. Nuwara Eliya, the famous summer resort of the Island called "Little England" is only 55 kms from Bandarawela and is accessible through Welimada.

Nestled a few kilometers east of Bandarawela town, the charming Dowa Temple is one of the many important heritage sites in the island and houses a massive half-finished 38 ft Buddha image carved in granite rock. The temple was founded by King Walagamba during his 14 year exile from Anuradhapura in 1st century BC when the island was invaded by foreigners. Legend has it that it was the king himself who carved the Buddha statue was whilst taking refuge in the surrounding caves.

In addition to Dowa Temple, notable attractions near Bandarawela include Lipton’s Seat and Diyaluma Falls, the second highest waterfall in Sri Lanka.

 

Belihuloya

Nestled amidst the beautiful hill country, Belihuloya is a picturesque little town located in Sabaragamuwa province, 616 metres above sea level. The beautiful hillside location is a climatically transitional area, linking both the dry and wet zones and the hill and low country and making it one of the richest bio-diversity spots in Sri Lanka -  and a perfect location for nature lovers! Belihuloya is perfectly in tune with nature and provides a gorgeous setting for all sorts of adventures from climbing to canoeing and trekking. You can also enjoy the scenic waterfalls, historic sites, and nature trails.

The vegetation in Belihuloya consists of moist semi-evergreen forests, tropical savanna forests, dry patana grasslands and montane temperate forests. The average temperature in the area is about 28 degrees Celsius and the annual rainfall is between 1,875 and 2,500 mm.

 

Dambana

Indigenous People Sri Lanka Community Experience

Located about 300 km from Colombo, Dambana Sri Lanka is a remote jungle village of indigenous people.  Since of late, the Veddah population is confined to a reserve in the district of Monaragala and consists of only about 350 families - a number significantly reduced from a once thriving community. The dominant culture has influenced their way of life, and they risk losing the traditions and what has been their livelihood for centuries. However, they remain determined that their heritage will continue into future generations.

 

Indigenous People Sri Lanka: Spend a Day with the Veddahs

A perfect place to observe the Veddahs is their last remaining village of Dambana Sri Lanka and organise a camp close to or within the reservation. The Veddahs will be more than glad to show you their ways of life; with an axe hanging from their shoulders and a bow slung behind them, gives you the impression nothing much has changed since the dawn of time for these proud warriors of the forest.

 

Ella

Ella is a beautiful sleepy mountain village with an ideal cool climate of the central highlands. On a clear day, its view extends the south coast of Sri Lanka. Ella is a perfect base for relaxing, with lots of fantastic walks through tea plantations to temples and waterfalls. With its perfect climate, this village really soothes your body and mind.

The main attractions in Ella is the Ella Rock, famous for its breathtaking views across the Hill Country with the town nestled in the hills below you. The trek to the top takes around 2 hours and it starts from the Ella railway station. From there, you will walk  along the train tracks and continue through the villages, plantations and bushes. The last part with a steep ascend to the top is rather physical, but all your efforts are well worth it with the gorgeous sceneries over the mountain ranges and the valleys underneath.

Another gorgeous view point in Ella is the 1141-meter-high Little Adam’s Peak. The mountain was named after the holy mountain of Adam’s Peak because of the similar shape, and it is fairly easy to climb (around 2 hours both ways), with a good path all the way up.

 

Kandy

Kandy, the capital of the Central province is home to the Temple of the Tooth Relic, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Strategically nestled amidst three mountain ranges and known as the gateway to the hill country, Kandy was initially built in this location as a natural fortress against attack as it was not an easy target for the foreign invaders. Nowadays, the city of Kandy is well known as one of Sri Lanka’s best attractions among both local and international visitors.

Famously known worldwide as The Temple of the Tooth, Sri Dalada Maligawa dates back to the 16th century, though most of the present buildings were built in the 19th century. The Sacred Relic of the Tooth of Buddha is kept in a gold casket and stored amidst great security in the Inner Chamber. The impressive temple complex is made up of numerous buildings, decorated with paintings and carvings depicting Buddha. Rich in history and tradition, the Sri Dalada Maligawa is a religious centre where daily worship is a colourful and joyful way of everyday life.

Royal Botanical Gardens, situated in Peradeniya 6 km from the centre of Kandy, were once reserved exclusively for Kandyan royalty. Today the stunning, 60-hectare gardens with its fine collection of orchids and spice gardens are open to public. Among the greatest highlights are a stately avenue of royal palms, the extraordinary, aptly named cannonball fruit tree and 40m-high Burma bamboo. In the gardens, you can see also the giant Javan fig tree on the great lawn, with its colossal central trunk and umbrella-like canopy of branches.

 

Kitulgala

Kitulgala is a pretty little town located in western Sri Lanka. The climate is humid throughout the year which makes it an ideal destination for whitewater rafting and other water-based adventure sports.

Kitulgala attracts outdoor enthusiasts to its beautiful setting, used in 1956 for the filming of the Academy Award-winning 'The Bridge on the River Kwai', but it is also one of the most important holdings of the country’s biodiversity and endemic bird species. Trek along the nature trails and forests ideal for bird watching, or go canyoneering through rocky gorges. From breathtaking sceneries to the dazzling array of wildlife, Kitulgala has it all for the most thrilling outdoor activities!

 

Knuckles Range

Falling within Kandy and Matale districts, the Knuckles Range covers an area of about 160 sq km. With its rugged mountains and spectacular sceneries, it is without a doubt one of the most scenic parts in the Sri Lankan Highlands and a real paradise for those who love hiking and mountain biking. The scenic trails will take you across the mountains, crystal clear rivers and dense forests to flowing waterfalls, lush tea plantations and traditional little villages, surrounded by colourful home gardens and terraced paddy fields, -  a world away from the fast-paced city life. The Knuckles area represents also a great variety of different forest types and climate zones which makes it a perfect destination for nature enthusiasts, botanists and researchers.

 

Nuwara Eliya

Set in the heart of the Tea Country, Nuwara Eliya has a climate unlike anywhere else in Sri Lanka. Situated 1890 meters above sea level, it offers a cooler and more invigorating climate than lower regions. Colonized by the British, and often referred to as ‘Little England’, Nuwara Eliya still retains the feel of the ‘old world’. Famous for its horse racing, the town also boasts an impressive Golf Club which dates back to 1889 and several hotels with  grandiose colonial style.

The colonial Victoria Park, named in commemoration of the 60th Jubilee Coronation of Queen Victoria, offers an excellent location for bird enthusiasts. About 50 different species of birds - including endemic species such as Sri Lanka yellow-eared bulbul, Sri Lankan white-eye, Sri Lanka scimitar - can be spotted around the park.

 

 

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Office Address : 20/63, Fairfield Garden, Colombo 08, Sri Lanka

 

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