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Nuwara Eliya

Attractions In Nuwara Eliya

  • HAKGALA GARDENS

These attractive gardens, 10km southeast of Nuwara Eliya, are a peaceful retreat. Highlights include a fine rose garden, a Japanese garden, an orchid collection, cedars and giant cypresses. However, the entrance fee is very steep for foreigners. Planting season is between January and late March and at these times the gardens don’t really look their best.Legend has it that Hanuman, the monkey god, was sent by Rama to the Himalayas to find a particular medicinal herb. He forgot which herb he was looking for and decided to bring a chunk of the Himalayas back in his jaw, hoping the herb was growing on it. The gardens grow on a rock called Hakgala, which means ‘jaw-rock’.To get here, take a Welimada-bound bus (Rs 22, 20 minutes).

  • LAKE GREGORY

This lake is popular with domestic tourists who enjoy strolling the footpaths, taking out a swan-shaped pedal boat (30 minutes Rs 500) or trotting around on a pony (15 minutes Rs 300). However be warned that jet skis and speedboats disturb the peace on weekends, and during holiday times expect big crowds and funfairs. There are picnic tables, a small restaurant and a snack bar. Boat hire is from the smaller adjoining lake on the opposite side of the road from the main lake.

  • PEDRO TEA ESTATE

To see where your morning cuppa originates, head to the Pedro Tea Estate, about 3.5km east of Nuwara Eliya on the way to Kandapola. You can take a 20-minute guided tour of the factory, originally built in 1885 and still packed with 19th-century engineering. However, due to the type of tea produced here (a very light tea), processing only takes place at night when it’s colder, so you’re unlikely to see much action.Overlooking the plantations is a pleasant teahouse. Photography inside the factory is forbidden.

A three-wheeler from Nuwara Eliya should cost Rs 450 return, including waiting time. Alternatively, you could hop on a Ragalla-bound bus (Rs 15) from the main bus station in Nuwara Eliya.

  • SEETHA AMMAN TEMPLE

This colourful Hindu temple, 7km southeast of Nuwara Eliya, is said to mark the spot where Sita was held captive by the demon king Rawana, and where she prayed daily for Rama to come and rescue her. On the rock face across the stream are circular depressions said to be the footprints of Rawana’s elephant.Tamil wedding parties make it a point to stop here for puja (8am, 1pm, 2pm and 6pm). It’s located near the 83km post on the A5 Hwy.

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