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Sri Lanka, the Land of Delights 

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Must Visit Locations

Central highlands (Hill country) of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka's Central Highlands of rushing waterfalls, plunging ravines and tea estates clinging precariously to steep hillsides is one of the most beautiful mountainous areas of the world. It is a world away from the sweltering coastal lowlands. Indeed nothing encapsulates the scenic diversity of Sri Lanka as much as the journey by road or rail from the humid urban melee of Colombo to the Mediterranean climate of Kandy the Royal City & still further up to salubrious climate of Nuwara Eliya (Little England).

The landscape along the way is a beguiling mixture of nature & nurture. In places, the mountainous green hills rise to surprisingly rugged & dramatic peaks, whose craggy grandeur belies the island's modest dimensions; in others, the slopes are covered in carefully manicured tea gardens whose neatly trimmed lines of bushes add a quality unlike any other plantations or vegetation, while the mist & clouds which frequently blanket the hill add a further layer of mystery.

The train journey (slow Diesel locomotive trains) Colombo - Kandy - Hatton - Nanu Oya (leads to Nuwara Eliya - Little England), Haputale, Bandarwela and Badulla is one the most spectacular journeys of the world. The train passes through numerous unlit tunnels, a chorus of shrieks by the travelling kids greeting each one; the train winds, twist & climbs all the through dramatic sceneries of green mountains, cascading waterfalls, rivers, deep ravines and brilliant green tea plantations.

The Central Highlands have been shaped by two contrasting historical forces. The northern portion, around the historic city of Kandy, the Royal City was home to Sri Lanka's last independent kingdom, which survived two centuries of colonial (Portuguese & Dutch) incursions before finally falling to the British at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The cultural legacy of this independent Sinhalese tradition lives on today in the city's distinctive music, dance & architecture, encapsulated by The Holy Temple of the Tooth, arguably the holiest Buddhist temple of the world. The Holy Temple of the tooth inspires & bestows the exuberant Kandy Esala Perahera pageant, Asia's most spectacular festival.

In contrast, the southern hill country is the highest & the most beautiful part of Sri Lanka, although an integral part of the Kandyan kingdom in its crowning point, today has no traces of physical or cultural influence of the Kandyan period. The new towns & landscapes testify to the heritage of the British colonial period, the introduction of tea having totally transformed the terrain & vegetation together with the economic face of Sri Lanka for ever. Colonial style architecture, half timbered guest houses, Gothic churches, home gardens of English vegetables & commercial vegetable cultivations amidst sheer green mountainsides, plunging waterfalls & mist shrouded tea plantations are enlivened by quaint British memorabilia-clunking railways. The southern hill country's principal settlement, the resort of Nuwara Eliya, is the most British of all Sri Lankan towns, & sits at the heart of the tea industry. It is also the best base for the excursion to the rugged misty uplands of Horton Plains National Park & The World's End. To the south, a string of small towns - Badulla, Bandarawela and Haputale - offer marvellous views & walks through the hills & tea plantations As if all of these wouldn't do, we have Ella, the paradise village.

To the southern edge lies "Adam's Peak" or "Samanala Kanda" meaning Butterfly Mountain, so named in view of the phenomenon of vast legions of Butterflies in their last flight (in the start of the season) to the rugged summit, bearing the imprint of the Buddha's footprint. Adam's Peak or known as Sri Pada (Sacred Footprint) to the Buddhists, remains an object of pilgrimage for devotees of all four of the island's principal religions. That is in addition to being a fine nature & adventure excursion, The Midnight Ascend (January to April) together with a phenomenal play of light & shadow in the summit at the crack of the dawn.

South-western corner of the hill country plunges steeply & beautifully (Haputale - Ratnapura Road) to the valley leading to the town of Ratnapura (meaning City of Gems) the island's gem-mining centre & possible base for visits to the national parks of Lion King (Sinharaja) Tropical Rain Forest, a World heritage Reserve (a rare & remarkable pocket of surviving tropical rainforest) & then onto the lowlands Uda Walawe National Park (by the side of the manmade rainwater reservoir), home to one of the island's largest elephant populations.

Sri Lanka Hotel Guide - Hotel Information, Special Offers, News and Trends and much more

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Photo Gallery

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Highlands Landscape

Highlands Landscape

Highlands Landscape

Highlands Landscape

Highlands Landscape

Highlands Landscape

Highlands Landscape

Highlands Landscape

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