Amid the bubbling hills of Sri Lanka, travellers will find a sense of peace that fits snugly with the zeal of adventure, gentle streams, lakes and mist-covered tea plantations as far as eyes can see. The island has a wealth of experiences to offer and limiting it to pristine beaches and ocean views would be a grave mistake. Located mostly in the central and southern part of the island nations, these hills make for the perfect getaway from the bustle of cities and the humdrum of tourism. They are ideal for camping, hiking and trekking.
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Most sought after for its lush tea plantations, Nuwara Eliya is often called Little England. The charm of it lies in its freezing tempratures. This quaint hill station is known for its mesmerising waterfalls, the 18-hole golf course, a race course, gardens and lakes. Here, do not forget to try your hand at boating in Lake Gregory, a reservoir constructed in 1873. You can also visit the Horton Plains National Park nearby.
At a height of 2,234 metres, Adam’s Peak is a popular pilgrimage spot. At the top of this conical hill, a foot-shaped indentation, called Sri Pada, is believed to be the footprint of the Buddha. Though different religions have their own interpretations. For Hindus it is Shiva, for Christians it is St Thomas and for Muslims, it is Adam. Adventure seekers are attracted to this peak for its near 5,000-step, moderately gruelling hike. The sunrise here is picture-perfect and worth all the effort.
A little further is Ella, known for its iconic nine arches railway bridge that is the draw of the town. The small cafés, colonial buildings and lush trails can be found around the dense forests that cover Ella. Do remember to visit Lipton’s Seat from where the tea-mogul Sir Thomas Lipton grew his empire.
In the western region of the country, Kitugala is an adventurer’s delight. The town is home to a network of caves called the Belilena Caves; the town is also popular for mountain biking, waterfall abseiling, whitewater rafting in the Kelani River and camping under clear, starry skies.
Whatever you seek, the hills of Sri Lanka have all the answers and are a great escape.