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Hill Country

Hill CountryThe Hill Country in Sri Lanka is exceptionally beautiful, with crystal clear waterfalls and tea plantations dotted throughout. The temperature in this region stays cool all year round, in an atmosphere of early morning Spring. Everything is green and lush and the landscape is elevated with layers of grassy knolls and jagged waterfalls with dense mountain forest clinging to the upper slopes. The days drift by in the hill country in Sri Lanka with not much to do but drink tea (in abundance) and absorb the serenity and breathtaking walks and views.

Some of the exciting towns in the hills are Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Bandarawela, Badulla, Belihul Oya, Haputale etc.

Kande-Uda-Rata' which became Kandy for the easy pronousation by the British was really the 'Royal city' of the Sinhalese and the last stronghold of the Sinhala kings.

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This was captured by the British in 1815 and the whole island went under colonial rule. Kandy is famous for its lake near the town which was re-vitalized by a kandyan gentleman of the modern era, making it once more beautiful and eye catching place free from pollution. This adds beauty to the town surrounded by hills such as Hantana, Hunnasgiriya, Bahiravakanda etc. You can have a view of the entire city of Kandy from the Hantana range above the lake.

Kandy is well renowned for its cultural pageant taking place in July with a large number of elephants richly caparisoned, Nilames in their traditional costumes Diyawadana Nilame docked in all regalia accompanying the casket of the Sacred Tooth relic of the Buddha and riding on the majestic elephants, crackers of whips, all forms of dancers with respective drummers really fascinating to observe.

Nuwara Eliya, the highest town in Sri Lanka attract a larger number of visitors who enjoys golf, horse riding, pony rides, flower shops, trout fishing introduced by the British. The British explore Samuel baker had introduced Herefordshire cattle, strawberries, leeks etc. & transported them to this hill station. Victoria Park in the town is a calm scene-testing place for the tired visitor. Accommodation in Nuwara Eliya especially in April, hottest month in the low country is scarce and expensive but the money folk go there annually for golfing, horse racing and motor sport etc.A sleepy town to the South East Nuwara Eliya had been regarded, as the healthiest holiday resort for its dry cool climate is conductive to good health. Haggle Botanical Gardens on the road to Bandarawela is a nature reserve and had been the royal pleasure garden of a Sinhala king of old and had been extended by the British. And is a splendid location to view the animals and birds.

To the south of this is the bleak grassy plateau of Horton Plains, more than 6520' above sea level. This is a good tracking country but you have to be careful of the thick mist especially afternoon and if you are caught in it you will be lost to the world at least for some time.

For visitors who are not in a hurry, riding the hill country train from Kandy to Nan Oya is an excellent way to savour the delights of this region, in addition to being a practical way of getting around. Snaking its way through tea plantations, pine forests and plunging ravines, this is rightly regarded as one of the finest railway journeys in the world. Ascending to a height of over 2,000m, the journey affords stunning views of the scenery plus a chance to experience the romance of a mode of travel of a bygone era.

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