Sri Lanka

The Detailed Travel Guide To Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

Nuwara Eliya is a beautiful hamlet situated in the central hills of Sri Lanka. Known as “Little England” due to its colonial architecture and cool climate, it’s a popular destination among local and international tourists. Nuwara Eliya is one of Sri Lanka’s most vibrant locations where you may spend some time amidst lush beauty. It is the ideal getaway for everyone, especially for couples looking for a romantic getaway. Here is the detailed travel guide to Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka to have a stress-free and relaxing trip.

History of Nuwara Eliya

The city’s name “Nuwara Eliya” means “city on the plain (table land)” or “city of light” in Sinhala. It is located in the Central Province of Sri Lanka, and it is known for its cool climate, scenic beauty, and tea plantations.

Nuwara Eliya

Nuwara Eliya was discovered by British colonialists in the early 19th century, who were attracted to the cool and salubrious climate of the region. The city was founded in 1846, during the British colonial period, and it was initially used as a retreat for British officials who wanted to escape the heat and humidity of the lowlands. During the colonial period, Nuwara Eliya became a popular destination for British tea planters who established large tea estates in the region. Tea production became the main industry of the area, and it still remains an important industry today.

Getting There

Nuwara Eliya has located approximately 180km from Sri Lanka’s capital city, Colombo. The easiest way to get there is by car, either by hiring a taxi or a self-drive car. The journey takes around 4-5 hours, depending on traffic.

Alternatively, you can take a train from Colombo to Nanu Oya, which is the nearest railway station to Nuwara Eliya. The train journey takes around 6-7 hours, but it’s a scenic route that passes through lush green tea plantations and misty mountains.

Things To Do At Nuwara Eliya

 

Visit A Tea Plantation –

Nuwara Eliya is known for its tea plantations, so a visit to one is a must-do. You can take a tour of the plantation to learn about the tea-making process and taste some of the finest teas in the world.

 

Go On A Hike –

There are many hiking trails in and around Nuwara Eliya, offering stunning views of the mountains and waterfalls. Horton Plains National Park is a popular destination for hikers, where you can see the famous World’s End cliff and Baker’s Falls.

Explore The Town –

Nuwara Eliya town has many colonial-style buildings, including the Post Office, the Grand Hotel and the Hill Club. You can take a leisurely stroll around the town to see these beautiful buildings and take in the cool climate.

Visit A Strawberry Farm –

Nuwara Eliya is also known for its strawberry farms, where you can pick your own strawberries and enjoy them fresh.

Where To Stay

Nuwara Eliya has a range of accommodation options, including luxury hotels, budget guesthouses, and homestays. Some of the popular hotels in the area include The Grand Hotel, Jetwing St. Andrew’s, and Araliya Green Hills Hotel. I stayed at Jetwing St. Andrew’s and I loved the property.

With its colonial-style decor and mouth-wateringly delicious food, St. Andrew’s invites guests with its old heritage.

What To Eat

Nuwara Eliya is known for its fresh produce, including strawberries, vegetables, and dairy products. Some of the popular dishes to try in Nuwara Eliya include:

Creamy vegetable soup: Made with fresh vegetables and cream, this soup is a warming comfort food perfect for the cool climate.

Strawberry dessert: Nuwara Eliya’s strawberries are famous for their sweetness and juicy texture. You can try a range of strawberry desserts, including strawberry ice cream, strawberry tart, and strawberry milkshake.

Sri Lankan curry: While not a speciality of Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lankan curry is a must-try dish when in Sri Lanka. Made with a range of spices and fresh ingredients, it’s a flavorful and aromatic dish.

When To Go

Nuwara Eliya has a cool climate throughout the year, with temperatures ranging from 12°C to 24°C. The best time to visit is from March to May and from August to November when the weather is dry and sunny.

Must Visit Places In Nuwara Eliya

Nuwara Eliya is a beautiful destination with a unique blend of colonial architecture, stunning landscapes, and mythological places. Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation or some mythological places to explore, Nuwara Eliya has something to offer for everyone.

Sita Eliya

Sita Eliya is a small village located approximately 5km from Nuwara Eliya town in the central hills of Sri Lanka. It’s a significant pilgrimage site for Hindus, as it’s believed to be the place where Sita, the wife of Lord Rama, was held captive by the demon king Ravana in the Indian epic, Ramayana.

Here are some details about Sita Eliya:

History –

According to the Ramayana, Sita was abducted by Ravana and taken to his kingdom in Sri Lanka. He held her captive in a garden, which is believed to be Sita Eliya. Lord Rama, with the help of his army and Hanuman, the monkey god, fought against Ravana and rescued Sita.

The place where Sita was held captive is believed to have been a beautiful garden with lush greenery, flowers, and fruits. It’s said that Sita used to spend her days in meditation and prayer while in captivity.

Things to See and Do at Sita Eliya

Sita Amman Temple:

This temple is dedicated to Sita and is believed to be the place where she prayed during her captivity. The temple has a small shrine and a statue of Sita, along with other Hindu deities.

Ashoka Vatika:

This is a small garden located near the Sita Amman Temple and is believed to be the garden where Sita was held captive.

It has a few trees and a pond, along with a small statue of Hanuman.

Hanuman Temple:

This temple is dedicated to Hanuman, the monkey god who played a significant role in the Ramayana. The temple has a large statue of Hanuman, and it’s believed that he landed in this area while searching for Sita.

Many visitors come to Sita Eliya to meditate and offer prayers at the Sita Amman Temple. The peaceful surroundings and the spiritual significance of the place make it an ideal spot for meditation and reflection.

Sita Eliya is a significant pilgrimage site for Hindus and a place of historical and spiritual significance. The peaceful surroundings and the beautiful gardens make it a great spot for meditation and reflection, even if you’re not a religious person.

Gayatri Pitham

Gayatri Pitham is a Hindu temple located in Sri Lanka that is dedicated to the worship of Goddess Gayatri. It is believed to be a powerful spiritual centre where devotees can experience the divine presence of Goddess Gayatri and seek blessings for their well-being and prosperity. It is also believed that Ravan’s son Indrajit performed the Nikumbhila Yagna here, and this is the place where Laxman came with the help of Bhivisana and killed Indrajit on the last day of the yagna.

History –

The temple is believed to have been established by Sri Kaleshwar in the 1990s. Sri Kaleshwar was a spiritual master who revived the ancient knowledge of Sri Vidya, a powerful form of tantra, and spread it across the world. He established Gayatri Pitham in Sri Lanka as a centre for spiritual practice and a place for devotees to connect with the divine.

Architecture –

The temple complex is built in the traditional South Indian style, with a gopuram (tower) at the entrance and a mandapam (pillared hall) for devotees to perform rituals and prayers. The main sanctum sanctorum of the temple houses the idol of Goddess Gayatri, who is depicted as a divine mother with four arms holding a book, a lotus, a rosary, and a water pot. The idol is made of black granite and is adorned with gold ornaments and silk clothing.

Rituals and Festivals –

Gayatri Pitham is a place for spiritual practice, and devotees can perform various rituals and prayers to seek the blessings of Goddess Gayatri. The temple offers daily poojas (worship services) and abhishekas (ritual baths of the idol) to the goddess. Devotees can also participate in homams (fire rituals) and receive blessings from the sacred fire.

Gayatri Pitham in Sri Lanka is a powerful spiritual centre where devotees can connect with the divine and seek blessings for their well-being and prosperity. The temple’s serene location, traditional architecture, and various rituals and festivals make it a popular destination for spiritual seekers from all over the world.

Ramboda Waterfalls

Ramboda Waterfalls is located in the town of Ramboda, which is approximately 24 kilometres away from the city of Nuwara Eliya. The waterfall is situated on the Pussellawa- Nuwara Eliya main road, and it is a popular tourist attraction in Sri Lanka.

Activities –

You can take a walk around the waterfall and enjoy the beautiful scenery. You can also take a dip in the natural pool at the bottom of the waterfall, but be careful as the water can be quite deep.

Safety: Be careful when walking near the waterfall as the rocks can be slippery. Also, be aware that there have been reports of drowning incidents in the past, so be cautious when swimming in the pool.

Nearby Attractions-

There are several other attractions near Ramboda Waterfalls that you can visit, such as the Bluefield Tea Gardens and the Ramboda Ella Cave Temple.

Tea Estate

Most tea estates offer guided tours of their factories, where you can learn about the tea-making process from picking the leaves to the final product. The tours usually take about 30 minutes to an hour, and they are very informative. You can also taste different types of teas during your visit. Most tea estates have tea rooms or shops where you can sample and purchase their products.

Dress code: Wear comfortable clothing and shoes as you may need to walk around the tea estate. It can get chilly in Nuwara Eliya, so bring a jacket or sweater.

Some popular tea estates to visit in Nuwara Eliya are Pedro Tea Estate, Mackwoods Labookellie Tea Centre, and Damro Labookellie Tea Centre. I went to Damro Tea estate and tasted their tea, visited the factory and trust me it was one of the best knowledgeable excursions I visited so far.

You May read: Sri Lanka Itinerary – The Best Of Sri Lanka In 10 Days

Other Places to Visit in Nuwara Eliya

  • Victoria Park
  • Gregory Lake
  • Bale Bazaar
  • Moon Plains
  • Hakgala Botanical Garden
  • Glaway’s Land National Park
  • Town Walk
  • St. Clair’s Falls
  • Laxapana Falls
  • Kudahagala 
  • Thotupola Kanda 
  • Pidurutalagala 
  • Aberdeen Falls 
  • Bomburu Ella Falls –
  • Devon Falls 
  • Horton Plains National Park – A UNESCO Heritage Site

I hope this detailed travel guide helps you plan your visit to Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka.

In case you want a virtual Detailed trip to Nuwara Eliya, please check this video and you will get the vibe of this place :

Enjoy your trip!

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29 thoughts on “The Detailed Travel Guide To Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

  1. Nuwara Eliya has such a surreal feel about it, and what is fascinating is its link with mythology. Sita Amman temple and Gayatri Pitham look like really serene places. Sandy N Vyjay

  2. I absolutely loved it! The article was very informative and provided great insights into the beautiful city. I especially appreciated the detailed information on the best places to visit, eat and stay. It is indeed, a fantastic guide that has definitely inspired me to plan a trip to Nuwara Eliya soon!

  3. I have read so much about Nuwara Eliya. So regret that I missed this place during my trip to Sri Lanka. Your pictures look so tempting. Perhaps I would start with the temples.

  4. Nuwara Eliya was high on my list and I really regret not visiting this place during our trip. The kids were too small and the travel was longer from Negombo. Your guide gave me a visual tour right from my computer.

  5. I have never visited this place before nor I have heard of it. But, your detailed views on the place now made me feel to visit it as soon as i can . As i noticed in your post, The city’s name “Nuwara Eliya” means “city on the plain (table land)” or “city of light” in Sinhala makes me think that how beautifully a place gets its name. Also, visiting ta plantation made me remind of my Assam visit few years back.

  6. The photos look amazing. We had been contemplating to visit Sri Lanka but due to recent economic crisis there we have been avoiding it. Nuwara Eliya seems amazing place to visit. Your travel guide is exhaustive and perfect to follow when we are tour. Bookmarking your article.

  7. What a beautiful scenic place is Nuwara Iliya and I am glad that I stumble upon your blog only to get some quality info about this place. The Photographs are well captured and gives a clear view about the beauty of the place. Your Itienary is perfect enough to plan for my trip to Srilanka followed by a visit to Nuwara Iliya. You nailed the art of penning travel blogs and capturing Vlogs so beautifully that everyone will head back again and again on your posts to get quality information. Thank you for the wonderful itienary

  8. You know I love the outdoors. I felt like taking a flight and heading to Sri Lanka after reading this. It is such a beautiful town, so green and serene. I would love to go to the waterfall, the tea estate and just breeze around. It looks magical.

  9. I hadn’t heard about Nuwara Eliya but it has all the elements of my dream destination; amazing greenery, great food and religious sites to visit. Beautiful pictures!

  10. To visit this place what all information ia required you have shared it perfectly, from you experience to how it would be. Good 1

  11. Hey, you covers each little details of the place. Happy to get the knowledge of history
    They have Hanuman temple and Sita Temple too. I am very curious to visit this place. Hope we will go in 2 years. I am bookmarking this post.

  12. Love the pics. The temple is breathtakingly beautiful. I hadn’t heard of Nuwara Eliya but it is now on my itinerary for sure when we visit Sri Lanka. As always, filing the post. Thanks for sharing such a detailed one.

  13. Strawberry farm, tea plantations just thinking how pleasing and soothing the air around must be. Loved your pictures with vibarant colours. Loved the vitual trip to the greenery.

  14. What a charming, scenic and gorgeous place Nuwara Eliya is. if I hadn’t read your post Pamela, I wouldn’t have known about this jewel in the heart of Sri Lanka. The best part is the weather and the fact that there are lots of interesting places in and around. It was nice to learn about the mythological connection of the place too. Btw, beautiful pics 😍.

  15. I don’t know what I loved more, the detailed and well-informed blog or the stunning pictures. I’ll settle for both. Thank you for this. Sri Lanka has been on our minds for a very long time, Covid and the bankruptcy of the nation kept pushing our plans down the drain. Will relook into Sri Lanka as a destination yet again thanks to your post.

  16. I’ve actually been here many times and love the place. I love how descriptive your blog is and thank you for sharing a place that more people need to go and explore

  17. We had planned to visit Sri Lanka before the pandemic but it is on the back burner for now. I remember you sharing another post about Sri Lanka which was equally informative. I have not heard of Nuwara Eliya. We will surely add it to our list.

  18. Been hearing lots of great stories about how great Sri Lanka is and your photos really show that. Though I know that your photos and stories may not give justice to how it great it really is in real life, I’m still happy and really appreciate you sharing with us your experience.

  19. I am starting to enjoy reading your travelogues. This one too is well organized, easy to follow and has great pictures with ample details. I felt I was there…. Learned a few things about the history of the region. Keep them coming…

  20. Beautiful scenic view and you captured it beautifully 😍. Thanks for sharing this informative and helpful travel guide to Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka! Your description of the town’s colonial architecture and cool climate, along with its lush beauty, make it sound like a must-visit destination. It’s great to know that there are also popular tea estates to explore, such as Pedro Tea Estate, Mackwoods Labookellie Tea Centre, and Damro Labookellie Tea Centre. Your personal experience visiting Damro Tea estate and tasting their tea, as well as visiting the factory, adds a nice touch to the post and makes it feel more authentic. I’m sure this guide will be helpful for anyone planning a stress-free and relaxing trip to Nuwara Eliya.

  21. Nuwara eliya is a great place especially the scenic beauty. I also love the captures you’ve included here. And definitely not to miss is the plantation visit and strawberry farm .

  22. I haven’t had a chance to visit Sri Lanka yet. This country is still on my list of places to see. Nuwara Eliya seems like a great place to visit, as I love colonial architecture. It’s great that it is known as “Little England” due to its cool climate. I love tea plantations and hope to see them in this area. Also great to know that Nuwara Eliya is known for its fresh produce, including strawberries and vegetables. I am a strawberry foodie and would like to try their strawberry ice cream, strawberry tart. I want to visit the Hindu – Sita Eliya and Gayatri Pitham temple pilgrimage sites. Also, Ramboda Waterfalls look so stunning that I add them to my bucket list!

  23. We do not even have Sri Lanka on our travel radar and know nothing about what we would want to see. So it was good to read about Nuwara Eliya. Even though it is a popular tourist destination. It was good to know it can still be a romantic getaway spot. I love that there are lots of outdoor spots to enjoy. And great to visit when strawberries are in season. Definitely worth a few days if we get to Sri Lanka.

  24. Well, I’ve never even thought about traveling to Sri Lanka, but you’ve changed my mind! The landscape looks so beautiful, reminding me of several different countries. I love that it’s called Little England b/c I can see that in the landscape, yet all of the colors remind me of India. And that bread looks so delicious. I’m going to put Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka on my list!

  25. I had a discussion about this place with my mom just a few weeks back but we were not able to recollect the name of the place where Sita was held captive. Now I know that the place was so firstly thank you for that. Secondly, I didn’t even about Nuwara Eliya up until now but now that I do know I feel like taking a visit there right now. With so much history, architecture, culture and serenity, how could I miss this place from my travel list! I would love to be a part of all of it!

  26. Srilanka is really high-up on my wishlist. Interesting to know that Nuwara Eliya is called Little England. I would definitely like to go there by train through the scenic route that passes through lush green tea plantations and misty mountains. Strawberry farm??? Wow! That’s something I wouldn’t miss. Sita Eliya and Ashoka vatika is super interesting, top of my list.

  27. It’s nice to know that there are many options on where to stay in Nuwara Eliya. We have been meaning to explore Sri Lanka and this place seems perfect. A trip to Sita Eliya and the tea plantation looks great.

    By the way, we’re planning a trip in October so, I am glad to know that it’s a good time to visit.

  28. Such a detailed post! I’ve been to Sri Lanka twice but haven’t visited Nuwara Eliya yet. Seems like I must add it to my next itinerary.

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