Nuwara Eliya

Nuwara Eliya, meaning "city on the plain" or "city of light", is a town in the central highlands of Sri Lanka with a picturesque landscape and temperate climate. It is located at an elevation of 6,128 feet and is considered to be the most important location for tea production in Sri Lanka. The town is overlooked by Pidurutalagala, the tallest mountain in Sri Lanka.

The city was founded by Samuel Baker, the legendary discoverer of Lake Albert and the explorer of the Nile in 1846. In no time, Nuwara Eliya became the prime sanctuary of British civil servants and planters in Ceylon. Nuwara Eliya, called Little England then, was also the ideal hill country retreat where British colonialists could enjoy pastimes such as hunting, polo, golf, and cricket.

Many of the city's older buildings retain features from the colonial period, and even hotels are often built and furnished in the colonial style. Anyone who visits the city can enjoy the nostalgia of bygone days by visiting old landmark buildings. Many private homes still maintain their old English-style lawns and gardens.

Due to its high altitude, Nuwara Eliya has a much cooler climate than the lowlands of Sri Lanka, with a mean annual temperature of 60 °F.  In the winter months, there can even be some overnight frost, although it rapidly warms up as the tropical sun climbs higher during the day.

One of the distinctive features of Nuwara Eliya's countryside are the widespread vegetable, fruit, and flower growers usually associated with temperate Europe. This "Little England" part of Sri Lanka is covered with terraces growing potatoes, carrots, leeks, and roses, interspersed with tea bushes on the steeper slopes.

The slow-growing tea bushes of this highland region produce some of the world's finest Orange Pekoe tea, and several tea factories around Nuwara Eliya offer guided tours and the opportunity to sample or purchase their products.

Nuwara Eliya is the only district in the country where the Indian Tamils form the majority with 51% of the population. The Sinhalese (40%), Tamils (7%) and the Moors come next, respectively. Many tea plantation workers' ancestors were brought over to Sri Lanka by the British in the 19th century.

Information based on