Nuwara Eliya නුවර එළිය [nuwərə ɛlijə]- Situated 172km away from the capital at an altitude of 1,868 m, Nuwara Eliya is popular for a picturesque landscape and temperate, cool climate- one of the coolest areas in Sri Lanka with a mean annual temperature of 16 °C (61 °F) running as low as minus degrees during December. Proudly referred to by the islanders as ‘Little England’, the climate, the surroundings, and the architecture all make connections to prove that the alias is true. The city is overlooked by Pidurutalagala, the tallest mountain in Sri Lanka.
The city was founded by Samuel Baker in 1846 and its cool climate and surroundings quickly gained popularity with the British occupying the island at the time. Little England, was the hill country retreat where the British colonialists could immerse in their pastimes such as fox hunting, deer hunting, elephant hunting, polo, golf, and cricket. The architecture of the area retains the likenesses of their British builders. Buildings such as the Queen’s Cottage, General’s House, St. Andrew’s Hotel, Grand Hotel, and the Town Post Office are some of these buildings. Many private homes also maintain their old English-style lawns and gardens.
The Nuwara Eliya season peaks in April for the Sinhala and Tamil New Year with all accommodations being fully booked by February. The festive season starts on April 1 annually in a ceremonial manner consisting mainly of a band show in which all the local school bands participate.
Main attractions during April include motor and horse racing events. Motor racing comes alive with the Mahagastotte and Radella Hill Climbs, the former being run since 1934. The Nuwara Eliya Road Race and the 4X4 Lake Cross on edge of Lake Gregory attract a fair share of enthusiasts. Parties are held nightly in the hotels, and the season culminates in the nine-furlong (1811 m) Governor's Cup at the Nuwara Eliya Racecourse, Golf Tournaments at the Nuwara Eliya Golf Club, and the flower show at the end of the month.
Some of the most popular attractions are Victoria Park and Gregory’s lake. Galway’s Land Bird Sanctuary near the lake as well as the Horton Plains Wildlife Sanctuary are excellent locations for hiking along a scenic route shadowed by evergreens. The plains have a well-visited tourist attraction at World's End — a sheer precipice with a 1050 m drop. The return walk passes the charming Baker's Falls and toe dip after the long hike in its water is truly an experience of a lifetime.