Nuwara Eliya is known among tourists as Little England of Sri anka. The discovery of Nuwara Eliya was associated with a unique climate, unlike the rest of Sri Lanka.
On my table steaming a cup of black Ceylon tea, in the background is piano music, several people immersed in comfortable chairs relaxing in the atmosphere of this place. The elegant colonial interior of the Grand Hotel brings me back to the days when it was the residence of the governor of that time, Edward Barnes, and it was called “Barnes Hall.”
There are picturesque mountain ridges surrounding Nuwara Eliya in front of me , gilded by the morning sun. In 1819, when John Davy, an English military physician and writer was hunting here, the mountain ridges covered with virgin forests full of leopards, elephants and deer. He was the first, who paid attention to the unusual climate of this place, unlike of the rest of the island, and similar to the English one. This is what, his encouraging report that catches Barnes’s interest and he decides to build his holiday home here.
Soon, Nuwara Eliya becomes not only a big game hunting place and a military camp, but also a sanatorium and a holiday resort for English colonists.
Exotic climates are also suitable for growing vegetables and flowers. In 1848, Samuel Baker, earlier known as an Africa explorer, founded the first farm, initiating a farming in this area. Today the area is famous for its flowers as well as strawberries, carrots, leeks, lettuce and many other vegetables.
After a coffee crisis caused by a devastating plague, tea covered this region . Forests were replaced by large tea plantations and Nuwara Eliya became soon the second district in the country of cultivating one the world’s best tea.
Today Nuwara Eliya is a bustling town retaining the atmosphere of the past, with its characteristic housing and several colonial buildings. Among them there are a post office, the previously mentioned Grand Hotel, and a golf club located near. There are additionally, the Hill Club Hotel, once the only gentlemen’s club, and Queen’s Cottage, formerly the residence of the governors and now the president of Sri Lanka, as well.
Finally, a small walk over the beautifully located Lake Gregory, created especially in the former marshland. The lake was designed to be for the recreation of the English elites.
Currently, almost after two centuries since John Davy discovered the value of this place, , “Little England”, situated at an altitude of over 1800 m, invariably attracts domestic and foreign tourists. It presents its whole beauty in April, when flowers bloom, and the bright mountain air gives relief from heat.