We were on our way to the city of lights Nuwara Eliya; Sri Lanka’s quintessential hill station and tea country. On our way, we stopped at the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, a sanctuary to three generations of orphaned and abandoned Asian elephants that were rescued from the wild. Pinnawala is located in a beautiful valley surrounded with beautiful rolling green hills. The sight of the elephants playing in the valley coupled with children standing on galleries and feeding other elephants there, was really adorable. The massive campus is totally dedicated to elephant welfare and they house a small museum amongst other things. One of the major highlights of Pinnawala, is that at a designated time of the day, the entire parade walks down to the nearby river Maha Oya to bathe and play. Prior to a visit to the orphanage, do check the timings of feeding and bathing.
After a quick elephant ride at Pinnawala, we made our way through winding roads by tea estates, silver waterfalls, mesmerizing scenery and after encountering thick fog at the final leg of our ascent, we arrived at the very British and Colonial Town of Nuwara Eliya.
Perched at an elevation of 1,868 m above the sea level, Nuwara Eliya or the city of lights or little England is reminiscent of a quaint British village. The Gregory Lake sits at the centre of the town and is surrounded by majestic tea hills, sprawling golf courses, beautiful botanical gardens, old colonial houses and Tudor styled bungalows with Gabled roofs. The town has a marina, an old brick post office and a racecourse with its horses sits at the edge of the lake. It is really refreshing to see free horses roaming across the town.
We went to our hotel – the Heritance Tea Factory, an erstwhile tea factory now converted into a beautiful hotel, surrounded by tea plantations.
The following day we went for a tea plantation tour. To begin with, we were draped in traditional tea pluckers’ clothing and provided with tea plucking baskets. We were then led to a nearby plantation for the plucking; surrounded by lush green plantation hills; descending clouds descending, a cool breeze in your face, bird songs; it was surreal.
Following our tour, we went to the tea factory at the hotel. The tea making process was explained to us; we watched the kids as they listened intently.
In the evening, we went for a hike. Nuwara Eliya is a bird watchers paradise with over 80 bird species including migratory birds. There are many bird watching opportunities on offer.
The following day we had a flight back from the Colombo airport. After checking out from our hotel we visited the Gregory Lake, jet skied and speed boated.
En route to Colombo, we visited the picturesque Ramboda falls. The access route tis from a hotel and it is really amusing to get an elevator to get to the falls.
We were now on our way to the airport. As we approached Colombo, we decided to take a small detour to the ministry of crab, one final time. We called them and thankfully we got a place. Left Colombo on an extreme high!
From Pristine beaches of Bentota in the south, to the central tea hills of Nuwara Eliya, to an enthralling mix of history and culture in Colombo, the verdant land of Sri Lanka has a lot to offer to its visitors. It is no surprise that Sri Lanka has emerged as one of the most loved family holiday destinations in southeast Asia. All the accolades this beautiful nation has earned over the years are well deserved.
Thank you Sri Lanka, for the memories