Nuwara Eliya at an elevation of 1890 meters above the sea level, the highest city in Sri Lanka lies beneath the tallest peak of the island, Pidurutalagala or Mount Pedro (2555 meters).
The salubrious climate has made Nuwara Eliya into a sanatorium that attracts Sri Lankan tourists as well as the foreign tourists to the seasonal event during February to April. Golf tournaments, horse racing, motor cross, clay pigeon shooting and carnival features high in the festivities. The downside of the season is the accommodation rates that shoot up above all. With thousands of local tourists flocking to Nuwara Eliya filling up hotels and guest houses that provide budget accommodation in the season, narrowing the accommodation options, foreign tourists would find it necessary to have the hotel bookings well in advance.
Though Nuwara Eliya had been inhabited during the early period of the kingdom of Kandy, the existence of the spectacular “Eliya” (Sinhala: opening or clearing) valley set amidst the wooded green mountains wasn’t known to the Colonial British until the accidental discovery by the colonial civil servant John Davy in the year 1819. However it took another decade for the British to realize the potential. Governor Edward Barnes converted Nuwara Eliya into a commercial and a coffee –planting center during the 1830s. In the year 1847 the great colonial explorer Samuel Baker introduced the gardening of English vegetable at Nuwara-Eliya. To date Nuwara Eliya, the leading producer of European vegetables in Sri Lanka, distribute its all vegetable products to the rest of the island.
Following the Coffee Blight in Sri Lanka during the 1870s, the plantation of tea was introduced by Sir James Taylor resulting in development of Nuwara Eliya district into the heart of the tea growing central highlands of Sri Lanka, then called Ceylon. The first plantation on experimental stages was established in 1867 at the Loolakandara Estate situated between Kandy and Nuwara Eliya. In the year 1885 the highland railway track was extended to Nanu Oya, a town 5km south of Nuwara Eliya.
In the center of the town is local Central Market. South of the market is Victoria Park spreading to an expanse of 27 acres with well maintained shrubs and trees. The cluster of exceedingly tall eucalyptuses is a main feature therein. Victoria Park, though in close proximity to the city center, is an ornithological hot spot where the birders would spend long hours. River Nanu Oya that runs through the Victoria park and a number of lakes within it supports the endemic birds of Sri Lanka as well as migrant birds from Himalayan are seen at the park. Among the birds are Kashmir flycatcher, Indian blue robin, pied thrush, dull-blue flycatcher, yellow-eared bulbul and dull-blue flycatcher.
Hakgala Botanical Gardens
10 km southeast of Nuwara Eliya, sprawling at the base of the Hakgala Rock at an elevation of 5000-6000 ft is Hakgala Botanical Gardens established in 1861 by Mr G.H.W. Thawaites then director of Royal Botanic Gardens at Peradeniya.
Originally established to grow Cinchona, the source of Quinine, the anti-malarial drug, Hakgala soon became a host to a wide array of foreign species. The roses that bloom during April to August steal the limelight at Hakgala. The hill is wooded with a range of foreign trees: Cypresses from California; fine old ceders; enormous tree ferns; stands of Japanese camphor; and pines and eucalyptus; bark-shedding Australian melaleucas.
Hakgala Botanical Gardens is host to considerable flock of enedemic montane bird species including dull-blue flycatcher, Sri Lanka whistling thrush and Sri Lanka bush warbler.
Race Course and Golf Course
To the south of the park is racecourse. Behind the race course is Lake Gregory. Nuwara Eliya’s all green sylvan golf course is located just opposite the Victoria Park. Built in 1891 by the British colonialists in Sri Lanka, then called Ceylon, 18-hole golf course is well maintained by Nuwara Eliya golf club. The club rents golf equipment and charges a fee for playing at its golf course.
Single Tree Mountain
A path from the race course leads to Single Tree Mountain that affords a bird eye-view of the surrounding hills. Single Tree Mountain unravels the spectacular sceneries of the entire town of Nuwara Eliya including Pidurutalagala Mountain, Haggala Mountain, Lake Gregory as well as Northern section of Horton Plains.
The largest tea bush of Sri Lanka
This word famous tea bush of Sri Lanka is 44 feet (13.4 meters) wide. This was planted in the year of 1840. This tea bush is located in the 7th division of “Gonapitiya tea estate”. You can evident this magnificent tea bush by traveling along Nuwara Eliya Raagala road and near the 17 kilometer post at the junction of Bruk side turn to left and travel 13 kilometers of this road to reach the place called “Gonapitiya”.
Nuwara Eliya Golf Club
The Nuwara Eliya Golf Club is one of the most beautiful places to be. The view of the surrounding mountains and tea estates will give you the best Golf playing experience. The facilities include Accommodation and Restaurant
The first Tea factory of Sri Lanka and Games Tailor museum
Games tailor is the introducer of tea to Sri Lanka during the year of 1867. First it was planted in the Peradiniya botanical garden and replanted them in 7th division of “Lulkadura estate” and this is the first tea plantation of Sri Lanka. He was treated as the first superintendent of Sri Lanka and the tea factory built during this time at the “Lulkadura estate” is treated as the oldest factory of Sri Lanka.
To commemorate Games tailor there is a small museum created in the “Lulkadura estate” with the items he used
Waterfalls of Nuwara Eliya
Lovers Leap Fall
This breath taking water fall is located at Hawaeliya. Cascading from a massive rock this is 30 meters (99 feet) from height. This water fall is so much live during the rainy season.
There is a famous story behind this fall. A princes who went for hunting met a peaty women and they eventually fell in love. The parent of the princes was against this affair. It is said that both the princes and his love commit suicide by jumping from this fall and science the it is known as “ Lovers leap” fall
St Claire Fall
This waterfall can be seen along Avissawella- Nuwaraeliya road. This is 80 meters height. This is the widest and one of the beautiful waterfall in Sri Lanka.
St Clair falls get birth from the “Kothmale Oya” which is fed by “Dabagasthalawa oya” and “Nanu Oya” which is started from “Piduruthalagala mountain”. This flows through the St Clair Estate.
This is one of the beautiful waterfalls in Sri Lanka. Situated in the Nuwara Eliya District. The name is given as the falls is in the Devon Estate. It is 97 meters in highest.
Aberdeen Fall is situated in Nuwara Eliya district. This water fall is 98 meters in height. in the Kehelgamuwa mountain range. The birth of this water fall is the Kehelgamuwa river and joins the Maskeli river. The falls is cascaded in to several parts. To get the full view you have to see it from a distance.
Nilgaruda Stone is treated as very rear type of stones in the world. The Blue-Garuda stone in Sri Lanka is the only stone of Asia. You can evident the blue colour of the stone from the locations where some parts were removed. This stone stretches for about 4 squire miles most of it is beneath a rock. The “Garuda Oya” flows on top of this stone.
It is believed that the stone is good for skin rashes, because of this people tend to remove parts of the stone and take.