Nuwara Eliya Travel Guide
Located in the high, temperate interior of Sri Lanka, the region of Nuwara Eliya became known as Little England. With a climate similar to their homeland, British colonial authorities felt at home here.
As you explore the area, its tea fields, jungles, peaks, and temples will captivate you.
Come check out our visitor guide to Nuwara Eliya as we cover the best things to do in Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka.
If you love the outdoors, there’s no way you can come to Nuwara Eliya region and not visit Horton Plains National Park. The government protected this area in 1988 to protect the threatened cloud forest and montane grassland habitats in Central Sri Lanka.
In addition to this park’s amount of endemic flora and fauna, it also contains ancient human history. Archaeologists have found stone tools used by the prehistoric Balangoda people, so be vigilant as you hike here.
If you are pressed for time, though, two attractions must not be missed -World’s End is the first of these. A bluff that ends in a 4,000-foot precipitous drop, you’ll have dramatic views of peaks, valleys, and clouds. The second is Baker Falls. Standing 66 feet tall and ringed by ferns, it is a scenic spot that waterfall fans won’t want to miss. Finally, be sure to grab a pic of a sambar deer. With more than 2,000 in the park, it won’t be hard to do so.
Despite being more focused on natural attractions, Nuwara Eliya does have cultural highlights. Sita Amman Temple is the most significant of these, as it honours a dramatic moment in Hindu mythology.
This place is dedicated to Sita, the wife of Lord Rama. Long ago, King Ravana kidnapped her, holding her captive in the area. Despite the apparent hopelessness of the situation, Sita persisted in praying for her release. It worked, as Lord Hanuman gallantly came to her rescue.
In addition to the usual Hindu idols, you’ll also find what some consider to be the footprints of Hanuman. These were made as he landed on the grounds of King Ravana’s abode, setting the scene for an epic battle.
Shri Bhakta Hanuman Temple is another Hindu holy site of note in the Nuwara Eliya area. Unlike Sita Amman Temple, its creators built this place 20 years ago. However, it has become known for having the tallest statue of Lord Hanuman in Sri Lanka. Standing 18 feet tall, it adds to the connection the monkey god has to this region.
If you are lucky enough to be in Nuwara Eliya during Hanuman Jayanthi, don’t miss this place. Rituals held during this 10-day festival are grand in scale, featuring many chariots and parades.
Thanks to British colonialism, Christianity also has a foothold in Sri Lanka. In Nuwara Eliya, Holy Trinity Church stands out from the others. Serving as a simple but beautiful place to worship God, it became famous in the 1950s. It received a visit from Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip, and they came bearing gifts. A stained glass window and a lush, blue carpet now grace this place, thanks to the British royals.
As an origin point for many rivers in Sri Lanka, the region of Nuwara Eliya has many waterfalls. We already mentioned Baker Falls, but Lover’s Leap Falls is also a must. Locals say its name comes from a pair of star-crossed lovers.
According to legend, a prince had his life saved by a commoner while out hunting. They fell for each other, but sadly, because they inhabited different castes, they could never be together. To stay together for all eternity, they jumped, hand-in-hand, to their death from the precipice of this waterfall.
Sad story aside, this place is stunning. Standing 30 metres, or about 100 feet tall, it is a popular place for local couples to gather. Swimming is not allowed in the gorge, as it is part of the watershed for the Nuwara Eliya region.
Nuwara Eliya is dotted with tea plantations. Learn about how it is made by paying a visit to the Bluefield Tea Gardens. Follow tour guides as they lead you through the workings of an operating tea plantation and factory.
They will explain the process, from the moment workers pluck leaves to when machines dispense finished product into bags. In the end, sample the products Bluefield makes – a just reward at the end of an interesting tour.
The temperate climate of Nuwara Eliya makes the region perfect for growing a wide range of plants. Check out a colourful array of them at the Hakgala Botanical Garden. Established by George Henry Kendrick Thwaites, it studied Cinchona, a popular crop at the time.
However, its scope expanded to other flowers and plants, making this garden popular among locals and tourists. In season, its collection of roses and orchids can be mesmerizing.