An overview of Nuwara Eliya
Nuwara Eliya is by far one of the island’s most scenic and picturesque cities. Located within Sri Lanka’s iconic central hillside, Nuwara Eliya is a popular tourist destination for both locals and tourists from around the world – this has been a fact that has remained true for many decades. In addition to its role as the home of some of the country’s most iconic sights, Nuwara Eliya is also known for the role it played during Sri Lanka’s colonial era. The city stands tall at an altitude of 6,128 feet and is considered the most important location for tea production in Sri Lanka. Almost as if to add a cherry on top of it all, this gorgeous city is overlooked by the famous Mt. Pidurutalagala, which is considered the tallest mountain in Sri Lanka.
Nuwara Eliya is famous for its temperate and cool climate, making it one of the coolest regions and cities in the whole of Sri Lanka. Due to its altitude, Nuwara Eliya’s average temperature hovers around 16 °C (61 °F) and is a region slated to have a subtropical highland climate that has no dry season per se, yet is regularly encompassed by a monsoon-like cloudy season. Winters in Nuwara Eliya can often result in a little bit of frost at night, however, the climate warms up significantly during the day due to the city’s favourable angle that gives it regular exposure to the sun – this prevents the region from slipping into long and extensive periods of very cold climate.
Nuwara Eliya directly translates to “the city of light” in Sinhala and is also commonly known as Little England for its preference among the country’s historic British colonizers. Given the region’s relatively cooler climate, the city was favoured among the British civil servants from all parts of the island as a retreat – largely since the area mimics, to a great extent, the climate in many parts Britain. It is important to note that the city was founded by a British colonizer and explorer named Samuel Baker, who is also famous for his exploration of the River Nile in Egypt. In addition to its climate, Nuwara Eliya’s fauna was also a major attraction for its foreign conquerors, given its abundance of foxes, deer, and elephants, which proved to be a major form of game for them. The city’s strong colonial presence is very evident given the presence of many buildings that have retained quintessentially colonial architectural features – buildings like the Queen’s Cottage, General’s House, Grand Hotel, Hill Club, St Andrew’s Hotel, and Town Post Office are great examples of this. Additionally, whether you are looking at old or new hotels and houses, one thing you can expect to see in the region is that many of these locations still maintain the famous old English-style lawns and gardens.
While the majority of the Nuwara Eliya population is Sinhalese, with around 20,000 of the total 43,000 citizens, the city is also known for its diversity. Sri Lankan Tamils make up the second largest population in the city, with around 9600 citizens, while the Indian Tamil community is third largest with a population of just over 9000 citizens, followed by the Sri Lankan Moor community of just 4600 citizens. The city is also home to other communities like Malays and Burghers who amount to around 600 citizens.
There is so much to check out in Nuwara Eliya! If you plan on visiting the region, expect to be amazed by the city’s natural picturesque landscape and elegant colonial architecture, among many other incredible attributes. If you would like more information about the region, please get in touch with us or check out the other sections!