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Sri Lanka, the Land of Delights 

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Must Visit Locations

Kandy - Nuwara Eliya Road

World Heritage site city at Southern corner of cultural triangle to the Little England

The Road to Little England (Nuwara Eliya) from Kandy (100 km)
An ascent:
from Kandy (500m above sea level) to Nuwara Eliya (1800m above sea level)
Change of climate: from Mediterranean climate to salubrious climate


Steep mountain passes snake up through the highland landscapes south of Kandy, reaching their pinnacle in the Peak Wilderness Sanctuary, where the plateau of the Horton Plains National Park represents the island's last stretch of high montane forest. We drive from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya through the hills carpeted with the uniformly clipped bright green bushes of Ceylon Tea. Road as well the railway line continues through tea-clad hills & shelves of lush green paddy fields till Badulla.

The British legacy

It was not until the 19th century, & the coming of the British, that wild & impenetrable rainforest gave way to the familiar, intensively cultivated tea plantations of today. The British colonial legacy has lingered longer here, most notably in the hill station of Nuwara Eliya, nicknamed "Little England". The area's greatest appeal lies in the natural beauty of its scenery, carved by mountain streams & powerful waterfalls, & its cool crisp air.

By rail or road

By either rail or road, the journey up into the central Highlands over the steep mountain passes offers some spectacular views, climbing through tea estates & passing nearby some magnificent waterfalls.

Railway line

Kandy / Peradeniya / Gelioya / Gampola / Ulapane / Nawalapitiya / Ingurvoya / Galboda / Watawala / Rozelle / Hatton / Kotagala / Talawakele / Watagoda / Great Western / Radella / Nanu Oya (close to Nuwara Eliya) / Parakumpara / Ambewela / Pattipola / Ohiya / Idalgashinne / Haputale / Diyatalawa (Cantonment) /  Bandarawela / Kinigama / Heeloya / Ella / Demodara / Uduwara / Hali-Ela / Badulla

Three road routes

Direct yet scenic route: Kandy / Peradeniya / Gampola / Pussellawa / Ramboda / Nuwara Eliya

Longer yet stillmore scenic route: Kandy / Peradeniya / Gampola / Nawalapitiya / Ginigathena / Rozella / Hatton / Talawakele / Nanu Oya / Nuwara Eliya
Both routes into the highlands start by crossing the River Mahaweli, passing through Peradeniya & then following the river valley to the pleasant town of Gampola, a mediaeval Sinhalese capital.

The third route and a very pretty one, is on the B39: Hanguranketa / Riklillagaskanda / Hunasgiriya / Ragala /  Nuwara Eliya

Direct route: Kandy / Peradeniya / Gampola / Pussellawa / Ramboda / Nuwara Eliya

Leaving Kandy & turning to the south, a further ascent of 1400m (4700 ft) within a range of 80km (50 miles) takes us through stunning vistas, deep valleys & dramatic chasms-cool green slopes of the Sri Lanka's seemingly seamless plantations of Camelia sinensis (Ceylon Tea) in the Central highlands ridge, often shrouded in cloud, reaches its apex across the steep & spectacular Ramboda Pass on the way to the former British hill resort of Nuwara Eliya.

Pusselawa (45km from Kandy)
Pussellawa is a busy shopping centre & has a rest house where you can stop for refreshments or lunch. The tea gardens begin just below Pussellawa. The craggy hill Monaragala appears to the south. Legends tell that this is where King Dutugamunu hid in a rock while escaping from his father, who had him in house arrest.


Some 5km later the road passes the Helbodda Oya. By Ramboda, we have climbed 1000m. There is a fine 100m waterfall with a twin stream on the Puna Ela, a tributary of the Mahaweli River, just off the road which can be seen from the bazzar. After 54km from Kandy the road climbs through a series of hairpins to the west over Kothmale Reservoir, a large tank created as a part of Mahaweli Development project. The area is covered with pine trees & ferns.

Ramboda Falls hotel (58km from Kandy)
Ramboda Falls hotel near Kothmale Reservoir is down a very steep driveway to your right. The view of the falls from here is quite marvellous & there's a restaurant with a pleasant veranda to view them from. There's a narrow path to the water falls. Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan once stayed here, & there are photos of him looking pretty cool.

Labookellie tea estate

The 415-ha Labookellie tea estate, one of the island's largest, follows the twisty road for miles along their hillside. The women tea pluckers are all Tamils, descendants of labourers who migrated from Tamilnadu during the British colonial era. Today those people too are Sri Lankans, the citizens of Sri Lanka. The tea factory, an enormous corrugated iron building, welcomes visitors to drop in to the delightful tea centre & have a cup of tea. The tour is quite informative-all stages of the process from picking, drying, oxidation & grading are shown in the morning. There are free guided tours of the factory, available in English, German, French & Italian, which run every 20 minutes. You are also offered refreshments: free tea & cake! Mmmmm.

From the Labookellie Estate it is a short climb through more tea gardens to the narrow pass above Nuwara Eliya, & the road then drops down into the sheltered hollow in the hills now occupied by the town

Longer route

In the longer route to Nuwara Eliya, we drive next to the railway line or close to it for much of the way. From Gampola, the B43 road branches to the right towards Nawalapitiya & then joins the A7, the main Colombo-Nuwara Eliya road, at the Ginigathena Mountain Pass (38km). There are magnificent views at the top, although they are often obscured by cloud, for the pass is one of the wettest areas of Sri Lanka. Ginigathena is a small town with a bazzar for the tea estate workers. Ginigathena / Rozella / Hatton / Talawakale / Nanu Oya / Nuwara Eliya

Excurions to Kitulgala for white-water rafting & nature

A right turn at Ginigathena herein takes you west on the A7 road down to the attractively set village of Kitulgala

Excurions to Watawala

Continuing to south from Ginigathena takes us into the highlands where the road winds through a beautiful valley, surrounded by green, vast tea estates to Watawala (10km) & past Carolina Falls nearby, which are spectacular in the rainy season. Then the road takes the left bank of the Mahaweli Ganga (river) to Hatton.

Excursions Dalhousie

A couple of hours drive to the southwest from Hatton takes you to Dalhousie, the most practical place for climbing Adam's Peak. Hatton onwards climate is noticeably cooler. Occasionally there are views right across the plains to Colombo & Kelaniya Valley.

Hotel Breeta's garden

Hotel Breeta's garden has been built at a scenic location at Ranjurawa, Ginigathena along the Colombo-Hatton highway, overlooking the cascading Aberdeen waterfall. The hotel is surrounded by beautiful mountains, and a lush tea estate. The beautiful swimming pool herein is a rare feature for a hotel in the hill country. The hotel has introduced an international lunch buffet every Sunday at an attractive price, for in-house guests and tourists travelling to Nuwara Eliya on the Colombo-Hatton highway.

The third route

Scenic Hanguranketa was the 17th century was the mountain refuge for Kandyan King Rajasinhe the 2nd.


Just a few kilometeres south at Rikillagaskada, where route B39 meets B49, an innovative Scotsman, James Taylor, gave tea cultivation its first shot. What a shot that was! Taylor arrived in Ceylon at the age of 16 on assignment to a coffee plantation in Deltota. Today you can visit Loolecondera Estate where Taylor's first tea flourished 120 years ago & buy packets of tea to take home.


The view across the Great Valley towards Hunasgiriya is spectacular. Scenic hills of Sleeping Warrior, Brandy Rock (North Wiltshire) & Friar's Hood (Toppigala) on the Knuckles range (KR) are seen here. There are more tea estates cosily cradling the undulating hills of the winding route through Ragala. The Kurundu Oya Falls drop 189 meters (630 ft) above the Mulhalkele Bridge. Picturesque waterfalls cluster round the town of Nuwara Eliya. The Lover's Leap falls 30 meters (100 ft) in north of Nanu Oya.


Read More: Central Highlands, Colombo Kandy Road

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

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

Photo Gallery

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Kandy - Nuwara Eliya Road

Kandy - Nuwara Eliya Road

Kandy - Nuwara Eliya Road

Kandy - Nuwara Eliya Road

Mahaweli River

Labookellie Tea Estate

Ramboda Falls

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