Ella is hailed as the best place to travel on the island. Located 21 km south to Badulla town, Ella is a place with a rich biodiversity of flora and fauna. The hills are covered by cloud forests and tea plantations. If you are a fan of hiking in the mountains of Sri Lanka, Ella is a place that you must pay a visit to. You can get visually stunning landscapes of Ella, from the top of the mountains. Other than climbing to mountain tops, there are many more places that will make your make your journey a superb one. You can find many astonishing waterfalls, mysterious caves, historically famous bridges and ancient temples near Ella. Here are the 14 awesome things that you must do in Ella to make your trip an unforgettable one.
Ella is described as one of the most breathtaking locations in Sri Lanka. Ella is surrounded by a number of high mountains in the central hills. From the gap of Ella, you will be able to witness all the way to the ocean off the Hambantota coastline.
One of the best ways to spend a morning in Ella is to taking a beautiful short walk up to the top of Little Adam's Peak. The peak got its name after the holy mountain of Adam’s Peak, because of the similar shape. This peak is a pyramid-shaped rock which stands opposite to the far larger Ella Rock is 1141m high and offers a marvellous view over the hills. The path to Little Adam’s Peak is not difficult. The hike will help to make your morning excursion a pleasant one. Although there is some climbing to do near the end and it’s worth a shot.
You can hike through the mountain without a guide. The starting path of the peak has a welcoming white Buddha statue. The beginning of the path can lead through beautiful lush green tea plantations with pickling ladies. It will take around 2 or 3 hours to reach the way to the top. Little Adam’s Peak hike can be used as a warm up to hike the sacred Adam’s Peak in Sabaragamuwa, further west in Sri Lanka.
The magnificent Nine Arch Bridge located between Ella and Demodara stations. This bridge, which is nearly 100 years old, has been built with blocks of stone and cement without any reinforcing iron or concrete. These tall arches take the bridge on a semi-circular path to connect the mountains.
The 25m-high Ravana Falls cascades from an oval-shaped concave rock outcrop. During the dry season, the flow of water is markedly reduced, whereas when rain can turn the fall into what is said to resemble an areca flower with withering petals. The forming part of the Ravana Ella is it’s Wildlife Sanctuary and the source of the fall is Bandarawela Hill Oya Reservoir, which flows to the Kirindi Oya Reservoir.
Exploring the hidden legacy in Ravana Caves
According to legend, it is said that King Ravana (who was the king of Sri Lanka at the time) had kidnapped princess Sitha, and hid her in the caves behind this waterfall, now simply known as the Ravana Ella (Ravana Falls) Cave. At that time, the cave was surrounded with thick forests in the midst of the wilderness. There is a small pool which was considered as the pool that queen Sita bathed and the water falling from Ravana waterfall is accumulated to the pool . Ravana cave is one of the most attractive places for both local and foreign tourists. Which is located near Ravana falls and it’s placed 1,370 m (4,490 ft) above the sea level.
Catching the island’s most beautiful waterfall, Dunhinda Falls
Dunhinda Falls is located 5 km north of Badulla on the Badulla - Taldena Road. The falls are the highest on the Badulu Oya River that flows on the mountain border of the Uva highlands and eventually surrenders itself to Mahaweli Ganga. Dunhinda waterfall is said to be the most awesome waterfall in the country. It undoubtedly is considered as a plume in Badulla and Sri Lanka’s crown because of its spectacular downpour. It’s water smashes on the bouldered surface with high velocity and falls down into a large pool. This gives a look of a vapour waterfall from where the name Dunhinda has been derived. This amazing waterfall is about 210 feet high and is guaranteed to surprise you.
Discovering the buried history at Dowa Temple
Dowa Cave Temple is located 6km from Bandarawela on Badulla-Bandarawela highway. Nestled amidst the hills, the historic cave temple complex was once the sanctuary for King Walagamba. The temple has a beautiful ornamental gateway that attracts visitors. It has a 38 ft Buddha image sculptured from a rock and some paintings belonging to the Kandyan era, depicting various Jataka stories.
Exploring the Demodara Railway Station and Railway Loop
Demodara Railway Station is located 8 km from Badulla and is more popular for it’s spiral line. The spiral rail line is popularly known as the “Demodara Loop”. The rail loop is 900 metres long and the tunnel situated near the spiral line is 320 metres. This is considered as the only loop in the world with a railway station situated exactly over a tunnel at spiral loop.
Visiting the historic Bogoda Wooden bridge
Bogoda Wooden Bridge is said to be the oldest surviving wooden bridge in Sri Lanka. Located 7 kms west of Badulla, the bridge was built across the Gallanda Oya, which was used as an ancient route to link Badulla and Kandy. The Bogoda Buddhist Temple is found besides the wooden bridge.
Cycling in the surroundings
Cycling can bring tons of benefits to your health. Riding your bicycle for a couple of hours will be the best way to exercise your mind and the body. Cycling through the scenic Ella highlands is worth an effort. You can even cycle in different landscapes like grassy plains, flowing streams and beautiful waterfalls. For your cycling tours, local guides and backup vehicles will be provided and you will be able to cycle for more than 20 km around Ella highlands.
Visiting nearby Tea factories
Other than trekking in Ella, you could check out the lustful tea estates and tea factories. These tea factories produce some best tea flavours in the world, that is Ceylon Tea. When you pay a visit to a tea factory, you will be able to understand how tea is produced from start to end. You can Uva “Halpewatte Tea Factory”, which is the largest in the area, situated 3 km from Ella. If you are interested in learning the process of making green tea, you can visit the “Newburgh Green Tea Factory” which is one of the best green tea factories in the country.
More trekking and mountain climbing
Ella is popular as a trekking spot in the hill country of Sri Lanka. There are lots of mountain areas within the surrounding of Ella. The most notable hiking spots are Ella rock and Little Adams Peak. More than climbing to the tops of the mountains, you can explore the surrounding beauty. It will be more refreshing for the mind and body when you walk through tea estates and forest areas and following water streams around. Rail hikes is a must if you ever come to Ella. With a rail hike, you can simply enjoy the hidden beauty surrounding in Ella.
Rejuvenating yourself with Ayurveda Treatments
Who would want to miss Ayurveda treatments while in Sri Lanka..? The island is very popular for its traditional Ayurveda treatments. Ayurveda treatments can bring a total replenishment of your mind and body and your soul. Along with Ayurvedic treatments, you can get massage therapies, steam water therapies, oil massage therapies and many more. With Ayurveda, the total purification of your life will begin.
Memorable Train Trips
A train journey to Ella will be one of the best lifetime achievements that you will never easily forget. You can reach to Badulla from the capital city of Sri Lanka via train. You will able to witness the stunning beauty in places like Polgahawela, Kadugannawa, Kandy, Galboda, Nanu Oya, Pattipola, Idalgashinna and Badulla from inside the train.