If you feel the sudden urge to escape the concrete jungles characteristic of life in urban hubs such as Colombo, and are in no mood for the fierce sun and sandy shores of Sri Lanka’s coastal belt, fear not. Among the multitude of Instagram worthy geographical features that makes Sri Lanka an indisputable paradise for a growing number of travellers, the misty mountains of the Central Province make a compelling destination for some serious RnR. Whilst traditional holiday destinations nearby such as Kandy and Nuwara Eliya are spectacular for their own reasons, the oft overlooked Ella, a little town in Badulla, is a gem tucked away in the lush valleys of the Hill Country.
Famous for its majestic views and breathtaking landscape, Ella is a scenic town approximately 200 kilometres away from commercial capital, Colombo. The journey itself is a picturesque blur, especially if you find yourself on a train; one of the most popular ways to travel to this quaint countryside. If you’re not in the mood for public transport however, there is always the expo rail, a luxury train ride offering its passengers the best of facilities and magnificent views on the way to Badulla. Despite being a quiet and sleepy little town, Ella is home to a number of prominent tourist attractions, all of which are guaranteed to leave you breathless in the face of its unrestrained beauty. The most well known of these is the Nine Arches Bridge in Demodara, an architectural wonder quietly tucked away in the leafy hills. Frequently referred to as ‘The Bridge in the Sky’, the bridge hails from the country’s colonial era, when Sri Lanka was under the control of the British.
Ella Rock is another attraction, an arduous trek well worth the effort upon reaching its end. Offering panoramic views of residential peaks and valleys, the Rock is a must visit for anyone keen to engage in a quintessential Ella experience. Be sure to enlist help from the locals in terms of directions and transportation ahead of time as the trek certainly requires careful planning and navigating, at the risk of getting lost in the meandering mountainsides. You’d also be privy to a stunning view of Little Adam’s Peak (located close-by) along your steady ascent to the top. The countryside is also known for its natural heritage and endowments, its breathtaking waterfalls the most significant. Among these, the Ravana Ella waterfall is the most popular, attracting hordes of tourists to its crystal clear pools every year.
Ella also houses prominent historical and religious sites, primarily the Dhowa temple, a 2000 year old rock structure. The temple features a roughly hewn and unfinished Buddha statute carved into the surrounding rock, and is located on the Badulla-Bandarawela Road. The Buduruwagala is another rock temple in the area, nestled within a plot of forest, alive with varieties of flora and fauna. The rock temple hosts Buddhist sculptures that are said to date back to the early 9th or 10th century AD.
If you’re not one for historical tours however, adrenaline junkies can get their fix from a range of fun activities available in the town. Some of these include paragliding, canoeing, camping, rock climbing, fishing etc. all of which can be arranged with relative ease prior or during your visit here. Given its growing tourist appeal, the town is gradually expanding to include luxurious rest houses and hotels, ready to dispense all of life’s comforts on its guests. The 98 Acres Resort in Ella is every traveller’s dream, stretched out atop the region’s hills and valleys, providing its guests with unrestrained views of the countryside, while indulging them with the best life has to offer.
Want more suggestions on things to do and see in Ella? hit us up and we’ll come through with what you’re after. Check out the sections below for more information!