Nuwara Eliya - Intersting Places to Visit

Following are a few list of intersting places where you can visit from Red Rose Holiday Bungalow, Nuwaraeliya

Queen Victoria Park

The Victoria Park of Nuwara Eliya said to be named to comorate the 60th Jubilee Coronation of Queen Victoria in the year 1897. Originally the park was used as the research field of Haggala Botanical Garden which is located about 04 km away from the city centre. It is known that this park was established by planting an Oak tree by a German Princes who visited Nuwara Eliya at the latter part of the 19th Century. The park is 27 acres in extent and about 90% of the tree species available are those of foreign plants.

Nanu Oya which flows through the park and a number of lakes within it enhances its beauty. A large number of rare bird species can be found in the park. The park is a great tourist attraction in Nuwara Eliya. It was estimated that over 100,000 local visitors as well as around 4000 – 5000 foreign tourists visit the Victoria Park every year.

Victoria Park is an attractive and well-used oasis. It is popular with birdwatchers at quieter times because of the good opportunities it gives to see Indian Blue Robin, Pled Thrush or Scaly Thrush lurking in the denser undergrowth. Kashmir Flycatcher is another attractive bird species found in the park

Gregory Lake
Lake Gregory is one of the significant tourist attractions in Nuwara Eliya. It was built by the Governor William Gregory during 1872 – 1877 periods by utilizing the water from the Nanuoya which runs across the town. It is about 91.2 hectares in extent. It was said to be used for water sports and for re-recreational activities during the British rule. A boat yard now allows visitors to go boating and rowing.

The town's attractions include the golf course, trout streams, Victoria Park, and boating or fishing on Lake Gregory. Victoria Park is an attractive and well-used oasis. It is popular with birdwatchers at quieter times because of the good opportunities it gives to see various species, particularly the Indian Blue Robin, Pied Thrush or Scaly Thrush lurking in the denser undergrowth. The Kashmir Flycatcher is another attractive bird species found in the park.

Galway's Land Bird Sanctuary, close to Lake Gregory, is another wildlife site of 0.6 km². The town is a base for visits to Horton Plains National Park. This is a key wildlife area of open grassy woodland. Species found here include the Leopard, Sambar, and the endemic Purple-faced Langur. Endemic highland birds include the Dull-blue Flycatcher, Sri Lanka White-eye, and Yellow-eared Bulbul. The plains also has a well-visited tourist attraction at World's End, a sheer precipice with a 1050 m drop. The return walk passes the scenic Baker Falls. Early morning visits are best, both to see the wildlife, and to view World's End before mists close in during the later part of the morning.

One of the distinctive features of Nuwara Eliya's countryside is the widespread growing of vegetables, fruit and flowers usually associated with temperate Europe. This "Little England" is covered with terraces growing potatoes, carrots, leeks, and roses, interspersed with tea bushes on the steeper slopes.

The slow-growing tea bushes of this highland region produce some of the world's finest Orange Pekoe tea, and several tea factories around Nuwara Eliya offer guided tours and the opportunity to sample or purchase their products.

Although not strictly an attraction, the Grand Hotel (Nuwara Eliya) is the former British governor's mansion, now in the ownership of Tangerine Hotels and one of the most prestigious hotels outside of Colombo. The charming colonial era building is over a 100 years old.

Haggala Botanical Garden
10 km on the Badulla Road. The Garden was first established in 1860 under the curatorship of three Britishers of the same name - William Nock, JK Nocl and JJ Nock. It lies under the Hakgala Peak, between 5000-6000 feet in elevation - the highest set Botanical Gardens in the world. It boasts 100 year old Monetary Cypress trees from California, Japanese Cedars, Himalayan Pines and English Oak.

The Botanical Garden is first as a cinchona plantation and then adapted to an experimental garden for the acclimatization of plants from temperate zones in the tropics. Here can be found all the flowers of an English cottage garden in spring and summer, and much else besides - such as the oldest tea-bush in the island, an ornamental pond and quaint summerhouse. Hakgala (Jaw Rock) rises a sheet 1500 ft/460 meters and offers one of the most stunning views ever. Legend says it was part of the Himalayas carried here by the Monkey God - Hanuman in his quest to help God-Rama rescue Goddess - Sita from the demon king - Ravana. Sita-Eliya, site of Sita's imprisonment, stands a mere mile away, with the 'Sita Amman Kovil' close by.

Sitha Kovil
On the way back from Hakgala Botanic Garden, we decided to stop at the historically famous Seeta Amman temple near the main road. This is the exact spot believed to be place where Sita was held captive by the demon-king Ravana in the Lanka of the epic, Ramayana.

Myth has it that Sita, the wife of King Rama , was imprisoned in the Ashoka forests of the region. I was accompanied by a very proud poojari at the temple and showed me signs of the Hanuman's feet and the place where he rest after the battle. Poojari also took me to the palce where Sita had her bath and the place where she used to meditate.

Horton Plains
Nuwara-Eliya is the town base for visits to Horton Plains National Park. The journey from Nuwara- Eliya to Horton Plains only takes an hour. Horton Plains National Park is the only Nations Park situated in the hill country and the highest plateau in the island consisting of grassland interspersed with patches of forest, with some unusual high altitude vegetation and an excellent excursion and a paradise for nature lovers, hikers and bird watching.

It falls within the Nuwara-Eliya District 200Km away from Colombo, the capital city. The panoramic beauty of the hill country is witnessed within the park. The Plains are a beautiful, silent, strange world with some excellent walks.

The grassy plains still host many other wild lives. Species found here include Leopard, Sambar and the endemic Purple-faced Langur. Endemic highland birds include Dull-blue Flycatcher, Sri Lanka White-eye, and Yellow-eared Bulbul.

The most stunning place is the World's End, where the southern Horton Plains suddenly ends, and drops off to nearly 1050 meters, when is an awesome sight indeed. This shear drop offers a breathtaking view of the land below on clear days. This is a favorite place fro trekkers, as there are plenty of soft and hard trails.

Early morning visits are essential, both to see the wildlife and to view World's End before mists close in during the later part of the morning.
Flora - Trees & shrubs; up to now 744 species of flowering plants has been identified in the area out of which 112 species are endemic, and 78 species are identified to be endangered. Being a grassland more than 50 species of grass has been identified, majority of which are endemic.

Fauna - 460 species of birds are recorded to be found in Sri Lanka, out of which 33 species are endemic - out of this number more than 100 species are confined to Horton Plains. 12 endemic species of these birds can be seen in Horton Plains. Mammals - more than 10 species of mammals could be seen in the area, and apart from these, some species of reptiles, amphibians and butterflies could be seen in the area.