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Thursday, October 10, 2013 - 05.25 GMT
Sri Lanka: In commune with nature

 

“On our journey to Nuwara Eliya and the town itself, we discovered a green gem with excellent views. It was not just the beauty of nature that fascinated us, but the raw and yet unexploited character of the place,” says the Arab News writer.

Tea plantations extend as far as the eye can see. This is Nuwara Eliya, an idyllic town in upcountry Sri Lanka, nestled amid lush tea gardens. The route from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya threads through the breathtakingly beautiful hills, dense valleys, negotiating endless hairpins, passing the magnificent waterfalls at the village of Ramboda, tea factories rustling up fresh brews, roadside fruits stalls selling avocados, papayas and pineapple. Though the road is narrow throughout, the riot of green and pretty villages soothe your senses. The town can also be reached by train from Colombo and Kandy, the Arab News further said.

Here is the full text of the article:

Tea plantations extend as far as the eye can see. This is Nuwara Eliya (pronounced nur-e-liya), an idyllic town in upcountry Sri Lanka, nestled amid lush tea gardens. After having spent two fantastic days in Kandy, we took off by a private coaster organized by Sri Lankan Airlines who sponsored our Sri Lanka tour. The route from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya threads through the breathtakingly beautiful hills, dense valleys, negotiating endless hairpins, passing the magnificent waterfalls at the village of Ramboda, tea factories rustling up fresh brews, roadside fruits stalls selling avocados, papayas and pineapple. Though the road is narrow throughout, the riot of green and pretty villages soothe your senses. The town can also be reached by train from Colombo and Kandy.

Our first stop is to relish the fresh bright orange-colored king coconut water called temboli, and a quick bite of ripe jackfruit bits. Both were so sweet that we craved something savory after that. I also ate for the first time a fruit known for its nasty odor, the durian. This oblong, brownish green fruit is covered with sharp spines and is similar to jackfruit.

As we moved farther the distant sight of a waterfall cascading down a mountain slope made us stop to record some memories in our cameras. After some time, we sighted the Ramboda Holiday Resort from where you can literally feel the dew released from the picturesque Ramboda falls.

At our next we watched the processing of tea produced from leaves. At Glen Loch Tea Factory in Katukithula hamlet a variety of orange pekoe teas, green teas and flavored teas are available for sale. Inside the factory we got a first-hand experience of tea processing and the operations that go into the making of different varieties of tea. We sipped freshly brewed tea and some of us purchased different varieties of tea to take back home.

Women laborers plucking leaves at tea plantations became a regular sight. Today more than 200,000 hectares in highlands and other areas are under tea cultivation and around 300 million kilograms, with a 25 percent of world tea exports are done by Sri Lanka as the world’s largest tea exporter. Tea was first planted in Sri Lanka in 1824 at the Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya, when a few plants were brought from China. More were introduced from Assam (India) in 1839. In 1867, a Scottish planter named James Taylor planted tea seedlings in a eight hectares of forestland, in the Loolkondura Estate. Since then Sri Lanka is famous for tea.

Perched at a height of some 1,880 meters above sea level, Nuwara Eliya was discovered by the British in 1818 who converted this picture-postcard town into a summer retreat in the late 1820s.

Before we checked in at our hotel we feasted on an a la carte lunch at Jetwings’ St. Andrews hotel, built around an old Tudor country house, which served as a grand colonial residence during the days of British rule. Nuwara Eliya is very pretty with old English cottages dotting an area of the landscape called, ‘Little England’. The town is replete with centenarian heritage buildings as we got to see the Grand Hotel, the exclusive Hill Club, the Post Office, and many others. We quickly passed the golf course and headed toward Gregory Lake. As we got down to amble along the lake road, we sighted a seaplane floating on two giant pontoons on the waters. Our guide told us that the air taxi service between Peliyagoda near Colombo and Lake Gregory takes only 30 minutes to fly 15 persons.

After sipping Ceylon tea at a local café, we proceeded to our hotel Langdale by Amaya about 12 kilometers from the center of the town. Though the road is not in good shape, the idyllic scenery made the journey worthwhile. The new boutique hotel is stunningly beautiful. At the height of a resonating calmness, Langdale by Amaya stands with conventional colonial charm and sits pretty with spectacular views around. After a night’s stay we left the hotel just after dawn. As zephyr coddled us, the area looked like it was partially dipped in fog. En route to Colombo, we had lunch at Kitulgala Rest House, which overlooks the site where the award-winning movie “The Bridge on the River Kwai” was shot. The view from the rest house is spectacular, overlooking the Kelani River and a lush forest reserve on the other side of the river. Here, we gorged on Sri Lankan delicacies. On our journey to Nuwara Eliya and the town itself, we discovered a green gem with excellent views. It was not just the beauty of nature that fascinated us, but the raw and yet unexploited character of the place.





 

 
 
   
   
     
   
   

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Last modified: October 10, 2013.

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