Nuwara Eliya, pronounced „Nuraelya” by locals, is Sri Lanka’s highest situated town, in an elevation of 1,900 m above sea level. Nuwara Eliya sprawls over a valley which is flanked by Sri Lanka's highest mountain, Pidurutalagala, and the Single Tree Mountain. The city name means "city in the clearing" but likes to be translated, more poetically, "city of light".
The city was founded by no less a person than Samuel Baker, the famous explorer of the river Nile and discoverer of Lake Albert. Due to its cool climate, the valley of Nuwara Eliya was ideal for growing vegetables such as potatoes, carrots and leeks, usually associated with the temperate English homeland of the colonialists. Also roses are grown on a large scale in Nuwara Eliya.
Nuwara Eliya soon became a hill country retreat of British civil servants in Ceylon. British high society spent their leisure playing polo, golf and cricket and going hunting in the forests of the central highlands. Nuwara Eliya still likes to be called "Little England" due to the colonial flair of a former British hill station. The city has a fair assortment of British country side houses with large garden. The quarter encompassing the 18 hole golf course is scattered with Victorian-style villas, bungalows, guesthouses and even hotels that are timber-framed. Buildings retaining features from the colonial period are the Grand Hotel, Hill Club, Queen's Cottage, General's House, Holy Trinity Church and the strikingly pink Town Post Office.
The town really comes alive in April for the Sinhalese and Tamil New Year, when Sri Lanka’s upper class attends social events such as golf tournaments, motor racing and horse racing events and lots of distinguished dinner parties. The festive season is started on 1st April in a quite ceremonial manner by a concert of all local school bands.
In the hill country, Nuwara Eliya is a perfect place for birdwatching. Many of Sri Lanka’s highland species can be observed inside town, in Victoria Park. The pleasant Lake Gregory just south of the town is encircled by walking paths. Within the municipality’s border, the small Galway’s Land National Park was established for the conservation of the montane ecosystem and the highland Avifauna in particular.
all Sri Lanka blog articles
by region, by topic
and A-Z here...