Hill country including ‘Udarata’ is not a separate country but a term that has been used locally to recognize the mountainous areas in the central region of Sri Lanka. Hill country is where we find plenty of mountains and greenery. The weather is relatively cool compared to the other parts of the country. If we take the Hill Country as a region it includes Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Hatton, Bandarawela, Badulla, Mawanella, etc.
In this article you will find some of the attractions in this region and interesting activities that could be done to make the best memories for your one day or week long trip. Nature lovers will fall in love with the Hill Country once more.
Senkadagalapura was the capital of Kandyan Kingdom, as known in the historical records, is also the last Kingdom of Ceylon where they had independence. The kingdom was last ruled by King Sri Vikrama Rajasinghe who died in 1832. Though the British took over the country completely in the early 1800s, Kandy was protected and was kept intact. Therefore, both visitors and locals can visit the religious sites and the city to feel how past and present live in the same city harmoniously.
If you are a nature lover or nature photographer there are beautiful views in the city that will pique your interest.There are many hotels, inns and homestay experiences for tourists in Kandy city.
- An early morning walk around the lake: Not many vehicles are on the road at this time. You will see mist gathered on lake water, yellow street lights beautifully lighted along the lakeround, sometimes wedding couples taking photographs, students in their white uniforms walking around and if you are near Temple of Sacred Tooth Relic there will be people worshiping outside or sound coming from the early morning ‘Thevava’(it is when daily at a set time where some rituals are being done to Lord Buddha).
- Afternoon can be spent hiking the Dunumadalawa forest reserve and walking in Udawatta Kele Sanctuary. For great top views of the city, visit Bahirawa Kanda Viharaya and Kandy View Point. To explore more about culture and history you can visit the World Buddhist Museum, Galmaduwa temple and Royal Palace of Kandy.
- Evenings can be used to explore the streets even further, because in Kandy even today many shops are closed by 5 or 6 in the evening. Only a few restaurants and shops are open till late at night. You can try many vegetarian dishes of local cuisine in the city. There is less traffic and less people on the streets. However, if you are visiting during the season of ‘Kandy Esala Perahera’ there will be a huge change in atmosphere. Streets will begin to get filled from late afternoon to watch the perahera.
- You can also go trekking in the Hanthana Mountain Range and hiking up Alagalla Mountain Range.
Moving from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya, the weather will begin to feel even colder and less warm. From historical sites and mountain views your mind will be moving to mountains filled with tea plantations, vegetable fields, waterfalls and colonial influenced surroundings.
- Hattonis a town that belongs to Nuwara Eliya district.best to visit between January to April. Adam’s Peak is one great hike for the adventure lovers. You can begin climbing late at night with your friends and get down the mountain when there is sunrise.
- Devon Falls to get the best view go to Dimbula where there will be a point to observe this more comfortably. This is at Talawakelle, between Nuwara Eliya and Hatton towns
- Hakgala Botanical Gardens and The Victoria Park are the places to be If you adore beautiful gardens, flowers and trees.
- Holy Trinity Church, an old Anglican church built in Elizabethan era architecture style. You can join the service other than visiting the place.
- Horton Plains and Moon Plains are good for scenic views of the city, to observe nature and enjoy the wild life.
- Enjoy delicious tea after visiting a tea plantation or a factory. Try strolling through the tea plantations for it will be interesting and a nice experience.
- Spending time around Gregory Lake is also another activity that we suggest because there are few things you can try here. Such as, cycling, horseback riding, swan boat paddling, strolling, etc.
Badulla is a lower central hill city. This is another tourist destination to take note of if you like more colonial style buildings, tea plantations and more waterfalls and parks.
First and foremost, the train ride from Kandy to Badulla is the most exciting train ride you will ever have in Sri Lanka. There are 72 miles between the two cities. You will pass through caves, mountains with great views onto faraway lands below the mountainous path and some misty skies covering some parts of nature.
- Dunhinda Falls is a waterfall that you cannot miss out on if you are in the area, because it is one of the largest and tallest waterfalls in Sri Lanka. You won’t regret stopping by on the way of your day trip to come see this waterfall.
- Muthiyangana Temple is an ancient Buddhist temple which is vital to Sri Lankan history. It is said that when Lord Buddha visited the island thousands of years ago, Muthiyangana was one of the places he visited. It is one of the religious places being revered as one of ‘Solosmasthana’ that is frequented by religious followers.
- St. Mark’s Church is an Anglican church in Badulla. The old church was the first to get sanctified by the 1st Bishop of Colombo Rev. James Chapman in 1857. The property has been recognized as one of the state’s archaeological protected sites.
- Demodara Railway Station, most famous for its spiral rail line, also known as “Demodara Loop”. When you go in the front of the train, you will see the other end of the train curving itself around the mountain.
Ella is a beautiful village known for few things such as, Ravana waterfalls, tea plantations and great hotels and resorts offering wide views into the surrounding area.
Ambuluwawa Tower, a tall structure that is on top of the mountain with the Ambuluwawa temple, near the Gampola town. On top of the tower you will get a 360° view of the surrounding mountain area.