In the previous posts we explored the Lankan coastal line from Mirissa to Bentota via Galle. In this post lets explore the famous hill station in the central province of Srilanka, Nuwareliya. Tho it is called as Little England for its estate names and cottages, but it should literally called Little south Tamilnadu . The road from Kandy to Nuwareliya was quite picturesque and a biker's delight.
Entire hill region is populated with Tamil people and most of them speak in south Tamilnadu accent than Jaffna tamil accent.You can hear latest tamil songs in streets and its just like being in another hill station in Tamilnadu,India.
Like any other hill station Nuweraliya too has parks, lakes, boating, horse riding etc but i was not interested in them.I would rather spend time with local natives, dig some history and explore cultivation lands than usual parks and lakes.
Lets check some history behind this hill station first. British officials had this habit of developing hill stations to spend their leisure time. Almost all the hill stations in India were developed by British and its them who introduced tea and coffee estates. In the same manner after Samuel Baker spotted Nuwara Eliya hill region in early 19th century, British civil servants and other high officials started establishing settlements in this region. Hence we can find estates in the name of Edinburgh, Glenloch , Clairs, Devon etc..and they cultivated the famous Ceylon tea which are being exported world wide in various brand names. Devon estate, Clair estate are next to each other and they do have waterfall running through their estates named Devon falls, St. Clair's falls respectively.
We need to see St.Clair falls from quite a far distance
While interacting with plantation workers, i came to know that most of their ancestors hail from south Tamilnadu regions like Thuraiyur, Pudukottai,Madurai, Karaikudi, Karur etc. In early 19th century when British officials established estates in Nuwareliya obviously they were in need of labors to work in the plantations.
Since Tamilnadu was a British colony in early 19th century and being close to Srilanka by sea, many people from south Tamilnadu were shipped to Srilanka on cheap bonded contract.
Once the labor problem were sorted out, Biritish officials were in need of supervisors,accountants and cooks as well. It was addressed by another ship of bonded labors from Madurai ,karaikudi ,Trichy region.
So that's why this hill region is heavily populated with people from Tamilnadu origin and for the past 2 generations they have been working in tea estates and some managed to set up their own vegetable plantations as well. Even now , we can find hotel workers, cooks are being hired on contract from south Tamilnadu to work in Srilanka.
you can notice from the photos that weather condition here varies drastically. In early morning we can observe a chill mist filled environment with constant drizzle. Then later during the day it will be moderate sunny and by night temperature goes in negative (-8 to -12). So be prepared if you are new to extreme cold nights.
Obviously after exploring tea estates, you would like to taste the famous ceylon tea right ? Lets visit the Glenloch Teafactory. There are supervisors who takes us for a factory tour and explain the tea process.
The tea leaves are separated based on their quality and then they are put in respective conveyor
Guess most of us are aware of next machinery process of grinding and churning. You can see how those tea leaves get passed through various machines and finally comes out as powder
You can taste good tea and understand the various tea grade qualities like PEKOE,OP,BOP,BOPF Green Tea, white tea etc.We can find tourists purchasing various tea products to gift people back .In fact generally estates wont sell in retail,they do export raw powder which in turn will be relabeled and mixed by other country brands.
When you tour temples in Tamilnadu, there will be something to interest you. History, architecture or spiritual business something for everyone.But all i can see here is relatively new temples built over mythological Ramayana story and being sold to the locals. I don't find any historical /archaeological/architectural significance in these temples. Anyway if you believe in mythological stories then the following places might interest you.
As per Ramayana, Sita was kidnapped by Ravana and held in Ashokvana. It is believed that she was held captive in this Sita Amman Temple site.This temple is quite popular among the locals.
Next temple is Divurumpola. As per Ramayana story, Sita undergone agni test (fire test) to prove her chastity to Rama. It is believed that that happened in this place. No other proofs except this board.
No idea what Buddha relic building is doing in Ramayana context. May be forced secularism but all i can find here is a Rama, Sita idol, walls painted with ramayana story and inner corridor full of small Buddha statues.
As per Ramayana, Vibishna joined Rama against his brother Ravana. Based on some prophetic saint vision ,it is being believed that it happened here. A trust is developing the site with 108 lingas
Ravana himself has a temple in Ella. You can visit Ravana cave temple, Ella gap between mountains , Ravana falls in Ella.
Again..this is my style of exploring places. I plan my day well and keep travelling around. Alternatively you can spend the day in Nuwareliya city itself. You can visit Victoria park, Gregory park, Gregory Lake where you can opt for boating or water sport and of course you can go around the famous race course in horse.
After a tiresome day, rested for a while in the park .Later evening, took a leisure walk around the lake, checked in my hotel and enjoyed the cold night with hot boiled corn
your feedback and comments are greatly appreciated.
See you soon with another travel post