Nuwara Eliya is a city in the hill country of Central Province in Sri Lanka. It is of course best known for its superior tea and the cool temperatures and is one of the most popular destinations for locals and tourists alike. A little known fact to may tourists is that it is also central to the epic story of Ramayana.
We had grown up being told the story of Ramayana, it was one of our favorite bed time stories. But of course as kids, it was just a legend, a story about the good beating the bad against all odds, about sticking together, about sibling love. Nothing more than a way for our parents (and many other parents on the sub continent), to teach kids good habits.
In summary, the story goes that Ravana (the demon king of Sri Lanka) kidnapped Sita who was Rama’s wife and returned to Sri Lanka to hide her in a cave. Hanuman (Rama’s biggest devotee) leaps from India to Sri Lanka in one giant leap to rescue Sita. He then rescues Sita, and the war between Rama and Ravana begins. At the completion of the war, Rama wins and Ravana is defeated.
Ravana took Sita to Nuwara Eliya to hide her and this is also where Hanuman landed when he leaped from India to rescue her.
1. Ravana Ella Falls
The Ravana Falls are beautiful waterfalls, especially when visited in the rainy season. They are also considered to be one of the widest falls in the country. These falls were named after Ravana as he hid Sita in the caves behind these falls.
2. Ravana Caves
We didn’t get a chance to visit these caves because of time constraints. To get there, first you need to get to Maha Ravana Viharaya (a cliff close to Ella), and from there it’s a steep climb up via 650 uneven steps to the cave. The cave is, well, a cave. But the view from the top is stunning, and if you have a local guide, then you can enter the cave, and there is a beautiful hidden pond with blue water called ‘Nil Diya Pokuna’. This is the underground kingdom of Ravana. It is not recommended to enter the cave without a local.
3. Sita Amman Temple
This is quite a small temple, but at the bank of the stream is an imprint that is said to be Hanuman’s footprint – when he leaped from India to Sri Lanka, this is where he landed and the footprint is the evidence.
4. Hakgala Gardens
These are some beautiful gardens to visit in Nuwara Eliya (they have nothing to do with Ramayana). The gardens are built into the hills, and showcase beautiful local flowers and trees, well worth a quick stopover.
4. Tea Plantations
Last but not least, a visit to a tea plantation is probably the most popular thing to do on a visit to Nuwara Eliya. There are an abundance of tea plantation options and we chose to hit the Pedro Tea Estate. We took the guided tour of the factory which was fascinating, then had a nice cup of tea with a view into the tea plantations.
Something to note, the workers in the tea plantations are not paid very well, thus if you take a picture of them in the tea plantations, there is an expectation that you give them some money.
I hope you have a lovely visit following the trails of Ramayana and visiting some exquisite tea plantations in Nuwara Eliya!
Here are some other things to do in Sri Lanka:
Happy Trip Avenging!