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A traditional stop when driving the road from Colombo to Nuwara Eliya is to see St. Clair’s Falls, one of the widest waterfalls in Sri Lanka. It was misty and cool in the mountains here at nearly a mile above sea level, as it often is.
The cascade of the Kotmale Oya river through the St. Clair tea plantation (from which the falls derive their name) is a pretty sight. I’d previously visited these falls about 20 years earlier and recalled a lot more water literally filling the river and pouring rather than trickling down the mountain. I asked my driver whether the water was so low because of dry weather? No that was not the case — apparently the flow …
Despite being a small nation, there’s a lot of beautiful scenery to enjoy in Sri Lanka, from lovely palm-fringed beaches, to charming small villages, to ancient cities. As far as scenery to enjoy while on a road trip, I don’t think there’s anything more appealing than a drive through the tea country of the mountains.
The following images are a short gallery taken from my back seat window while traveling from Colombo to Nuwara Eliya, the latter city in the heart of the country’s tea-growing region. The roads are curvy and progress is slow, but I suppose that’s a metaphor for life in Ceylon.
Here are some of the scenes spotted along the way:
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance …
High in the mountains of central Sri Lanka you’ll find vast plantations of tea. Interspersed among these are tea centers, wherein you can stop, sample some of the local tea and purchase some to take with you. Some of these stops include a free tour of a tea production factory; here you can see how the tea leaves are dried, fermented, roasted, crushed and prepared for market.
Near the city of Nuwara Eliya we stopped at St. Clair’s Tea Center, which is only a tea shop with no adjoining factory tour. St. Clair’s was founded in the 19th century by James Ryan, who was among the first in the region to begin growing and experimenting with tea. The plantation is named …
Nuwara Eliya is unlike most of the destinations you’re likely to visit in Sri Lanka. Situated in the Hill Country at an altitude of 1,868 m (6,128 ft) , the city is at the heart of Sri Lanka’s important tea growing industry. It’s also the country’s most important center for vegetable growth. In fact, the farm land on which vegetables are grown is more expensive than much of the land in nation’s capital of Colombo.
The city was developed by the British during the period of Colonial occupation in the 19th century. Besides its importance as a tea growing area to the British, the cool temperate climate appealed to them as it was similar to that back home. Nuwara Eliya …
My younger son is a PhD student at UC Boulder (astrophysics of all things) and visiting him has given me the opportunity to explore this pretty little city recently. It’s got some nice attractions, especially it’s close proximity to the Rocky Mountains and a great summertime farmer’s market. But there are many Americans who think of tea when they think of Boulder. You heard that correctly — a tea factory in America’s heartland.
Celestial Seasons may not be the biggest distributor of tea in the USA but it unquestionably has the most devoted following and is the country’s largest supplier of herbal teas. I know several people who would have trouble going to …
Adam’s Peak (also known as Sri Pada, or “holy footprint”) is located in the southwestern part of Hill Country. It’s 2,243 meters (7,359 ft) high, the tallest mountain in this region and the fourth largest in Sri Lanka. Because of its size and distinctive pyramidal top, Adam’s Peak stands out when one is traveling through the region; on a clear day it can be seen from the ocean. The mountain is set in a region of wilderness so much of its vegetation and fauna are pristine.
I was first introduced to Adam’s Peak in Arthur C. Clarke’s book, THE FOUNTAINS OF PARADISE (which also features Sigiriya, hence the title). In this story a mountain bearing an uncanny resemblance to Adam’s Peak is the earthbound terminus of Arthur’s …
I grew up on the glaciated plains of central Canada, land as flat as a pancake, and vividly recall my first visit to the mountains as a child, that being a trip to the Banff. I was fascinated by the Rockies, have loved mountains ever since and go out of my way to visit them whenever possible.
The coastal regions of Sri Lanka are fairly flat. Given that and the relatively small size of the island, I was surprised to see what impressive peaks (over 2500 m high) are situated at its center. These mountains, lush and green, are known as the Hill Country and a visit here is mandatory for anyone traveling to the island. The temperature stays cool year round (people who live here actually own …