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A gem in Sri Lanka’s central highlands

Ella: Scenic Beauty and Picturesque Landscapes in Sri Lanka

It is a charming hill town nestled in the central highlands of Sri Lanka. Renowned for its breathtaking scenic beauty and picturesque landscapes, Ella has become a popular destination for both local and international travelers. Surrounded by lush greenery, misty mountains, and cascading waterfalls, Ella offers a tranquil retreat away from the hustle and bustle of city life. This article explores the enchanting beauty of Ella, its key attractions, and the unique experiences it offers to visitors.

1. Geographical Location and Accessibility

Ella is situated in the Badulla District of Sri Lanka’s Uva Province. It lies approximately 200 kilometers east of Colombo, the capital city of Sri Lanka, and is accessible by road and train. The journey to Ella from Colombo takes around 5-6 hours by road, and travelers can also opt for a scenic train ride, considered one of the most picturesque train journeys in the world.

Ella is a beautiful town in Sri Lanka’s central highlands, known for its stunning scenery, lush tea plantations, and a variety of activities, such as hiking, biking, and rock climbing. The town is located at an altitude of 1,600 meters (5,200 feet) above sea level, and it is surrounded by rolling hills and green valleys.

One of the most popular activities in Ella is visiting the tea plantations. There are a number of plantations that you can visit, and you can learn about the process of tea production. You can also take a hike through the plantations and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Another popular activity in Ella is hiking. There are a number of hiking trails that you can take, and you can enjoy stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Some of the most popular hikes include the Little Adam’s Peak hike, the Nine Arch Bridge hike, and the Rawana Falls hike.

Ella is also a great place to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of Sri Lanka. There are a number of guesthouses and hotels in Ella, and you can find a place to stay that suits your budget. You can also enjoy the local cuisine, which is a mix of Sinhalese and Tamil influences

2. Rolling Tea Plantations and Green Hills

Ella is synonymous with its vast tea plantations that carpet the surrounding hills in various shades of green. The region’s cool climate and fertile soil create the perfect conditions for cultivating tea, and visitors are treated to stunning vistas of neatly manicured tea estates stretching to the horizon. Many travelers take the opportunity to explore the tea plantations on guided tours, learning about the tea-making process and enjoying fresh cups of Ceylon tea along the way.

3. Ella Rock: Hiking and Panoramic Views

One of the most popular activities in Ella is hiking to Ella Rock. This trek is favored for its rewarding panoramic views of the surrounding valleys, hills, and tea estates. The hike typically takes around 2-3 hours, and it’s best to start early in the morning to avoid the midday heat. The trail passes through lush forests, tea plantations, and small villages, offering glimpses of rural life and wildlife along the way. Once at the top of Ella Rock, hikers are treated to an unforgettable sunrise or sunset view, making the effort entirely worthwhile.

4. Little Adam’s Peak: A Relatively Easy Hike

For travelers seeking a less challenging hike, Little Adam’s Peak is the perfect alternative. As the name suggests, the peak resembles the larger Adam’s Peak, a revered pilgrimage site in Sri Lanka. The hike to Little Adam’s Peak is shorter and more accessible, making it suitable for families and casual hikers. From the top, visitors are treated to mesmerizing views of Ella’s landscape, including the Ella Gap, a deep valley with Ella Rock on one side and Little Adam’s Peak on the other.

5. Ravana Falls: Majestic Waterfall

Ravana Falls is a popular tourist destination in Sri Lanka. It is a 25-meter (82 ft) waterfall that cascades down an oval-shaped rock outcrop. The falls are located in the Ella district of Sri Lanka, about 6 km (3.7 mi) from the local railway station at Ella.


The falls are named after Ravana, a demon king who is mentioned in the Hindu epic Ramayana. According to legend, Ravana kidnapped Sita, the wife of Rama, and held her captive in a cave near the falls. The cave is still visible today, and it is a popular tourist destination.

Ravana Falls is a popular spot for swimming and picnicking. The falls are also a popular destination for photographers, who come to capture the beauty of the falls.

If you are planning a trip to Sri Lanka, be sure to add Ravana Falls to your list of places to visit. It is a truly majestic waterfall that is sure to leave you breathless.

Here are some tips for visiting Ravana Falls:

  • The best time to visit the falls is during the dry season, which is from December to April.
  • The falls are located in a remote area, so it is best to go with a tour group or hire a guide.
  • There is a small entrance fee to the falls.
  • There are a few places to stay near the falls, but it is also possible to day trip from Ella.
  • Be sure to bring water and snacks, as there are no facilities at the falls.
  • Be respectful of the environment and do not litter

6. Nine Arch Bridge: Architectural Marvel

The Nine Arch Bridge, also known as the Bridge in the Sky, is a remarkable feat of early 20th-century railway engineering. The bridge is built entirely of bricks, without the use of any steel, and is supported by nine majestic arches. It blends harmoniously with the natural surroundings, and many visitors come here to witness the magic of the passing train, which enhances the bridge’s allure. It’s a popular spot for photography, and the best times to visit are during the morning or late afternoon when the lighting is ideal.

7. Demodara Loop: Scenic Train Ride

  • Demodara Loop is a spiral railway in Sri Lanka. It is located in the Ella district of the Uva Province, about 200 kilometers (120 mi) east of Colombo.ella
  • The loop was built in 1924 as part of the extension of the railway line from Hatton to Badulla. It is considered to be one of the most scenic train journeys in Sri Lanka.
  • The train passes through a series of tunnels and over a viaduct before reaching the loop. The loop is 1.6 kilometers (1 mi) long and it takes the train about 10 minutes to complete the loop.
  • The best time to take the train ride is during the morning or evening, when the light is good. You can get a great view of the loop from the train, but you can also get off the train at Demodara station and walk up to the viewpoint.
  • The train ride is a popular tourist attraction, so it is best to book your tickets in advance. You can book your tickets online or at the train station.

Here are some tips for taking the Demodara Loop train ride:

  • Book your tickets in advance, especially if you are traveling during the peak season.
  • Sit on the left side of the train for the best views of the loop.
  • Take your camera to capture the stunning scenery.
  • Be prepared for a bumpy ride, as the train passes over a number of bridges and tunnels.
  • Enjoy the ride and the beautiful scenery

8. Adisham Bungalow: A Slice of Colonial History

Adisham Bungalow is a country house in Haputale, Sri Lanka, built in 1931 by Sir Thomas Villiers, a British planter. The bungalow is now a monastery run by the Sylvestrines, a Catholic religious order.


The bungalow is a fine example of Tudor revival architecture, with its half-timbered exterior and steeply pitched roofs. The interior is decorated with period furniture and fittings, and there is a beautiful chapel on the grounds.

Adisham Bungalow is a popular tourist destination, and it is open to visitors. Visitors can tour the bungalow and the grounds, and they can also attend Mass in the chapel.

The bungalow is a reminder of Sri Lanka’s colonial past, and it is a beautiful and tranquil place to visit.

Here are some interesting facts about Adisham Bungalow:

  • The bungalow was named after Adisham, the village in England where Sir Thomas Villiers was born.
  • The bungalow is built on a 7-acre (2.8 ha) estate, which includes a tea plantation, a vegetable garden, and a swimming pool.
  • The bungalow has 40 rooms, including a library, a billiards room, and a music room.
  • The chapel in the bungalow is dedicated to St. Sylvester, the patron saint of gardeners.
  • Adisham Bungalow is a popular destination for weddings and other events

9. Local Cuisine and Experiences

  • Sri Lankan rice and curry: This is a must-try dish in Sri Lanka, and Ella is no exception. The rice and curry is a mix of different curries, vegetables, and rice, and it is usually served with papadums (thin, crispy crackers) and a lentil soup called “dahl.”
  • String hoppers: These are a type of noodle made from rice flour, and they are usually served with a curry or stew. String hoppers are a popular breakfast food in Ella, but they can also be enjoyed at other times of the day.
  • Appam: These are a type of pancake made from fermented rice flour and coconut milk. Appam are often served with a curry or stew, and they are a popular breakfast food in Ella.



10. Ecotourism and Sustainability

Ella has been increasingly embracing ecotourism and sustainable practices to protect its natural environment and preserve the local culture. Many accommodations and tour operators support eco-friendly initiatives, promoting responsible tourism that benefits the local communities and reduces the impact on the delicate ecosystem.


Ella stands out as a gem in Sri Lanka’s central highlands, captivating travelers with its scenic beauty, rolling tea plantations, and breathtaking landscapes. Whether it’s hiking to Ella Rock or Little Adam’s Peak, visiting the majestic Ravana Falls, or exploring the architectural marvels like the Nine Arch Bridge and Demodara Loop, Ella offers an array of unique experiences that cater to every traveler’s interests.

The hill town’s blend of natural wonders, colonial history, and warm hospitality make it a must-visit destination in Sri Lanka. As visitors explore the lush greenery, misty mountains, and cascading waterfalls, they are sure to leave Ella with unforgettable memories and a longing to return to its tranquil charm. Ella truly embodies the essence of scenic beauty and picturesque landscapes, making it an enchanting retreat for travelers seeking solace and rejuvenation amidst nature’s splendor