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Take one look at Nuwara Eliya and you’ll forget Sri Lanka’s beaches, at least for a few days. Stroll through the streets of this quaint, beautiful little town and it’s clear you are in a special pocket of southern Sri Lanka. Pick your Nuwara Eliya accommodation and get to know the country’s highest town.
Staying in Nuwara Eliya is all about the sights. Here, the rolling hills are covered in spruce and there are many structured gardens and green tea plantations. Waterfalls roll down streams and into the lakes at the bottom of valleys, while clouds roll in overhead, bringing rain with them. Then, of course there is the town centre of Nuwara Eliya, which has British-style bungalows with lawn chairs sitting in their gardens, and an open square in the middle of town. Even the Nuwara Eliya Golf Club is beautifully scenic, and despite being man-made, its lush and perfectly kept fairways blend in with the healthy hillsides.
The town centre is nice, but it will be the excursions you remember. Take the time to walk through the plantations southwest of town until you reach the summit of Single Tree Mountain, the best place to take in the valley. From there you can take a roundabout path north, through a village and back into town. Two local Hindu shrines have strong connections with the Hindu epic, Ramayana. Shri Bhakta Hanuman Temple is said to be where the monkey god, Hanuman, first landed in Sri Lanka. Sita Temple is where the goddess Sita was held captive by demons. The surprising thing about both sites is their simplicity. Shri Bhakta is one structure while Sita Temple has modest rooms and Gopuram (towers) in in a small fenced area. Still, this resonates with visitors because of their closeness to the natural surroundings and spectacular views nearby. Sita’s temple is located in Hakgala Botanical Garden, which makes the journey doubly worthwhile because the attraction is part of the Hakgala Strict Nature Reserve.
A period when the town does come alive, however, is the festival month of April. Local school bands hold concerts, horses thunder around the Nuwara Eliya Race Course and an off-road car race takes place near Lake Gregory. Accommodation is hard to come by during this month, though, so plan ahead.
Nuwara Eliya is one of Sri Lanka’s best-kept secrets. It has an ancient, mystical atmosphere that will leave you as calm as any holiday by the beach. Book your Nuwara Eliya hotel and flight to Sri Lanka with us today.
Hotels in Nuwara Eliya start at AU$64 per night. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.