By – Shucheemista Simonti, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
There is a saying in my native language Bengali which asserts that why go to far off places when you have not even enjoyed the beauty of your own place? For those of us who are fond of travelling or seriously affected by wanderlust, I would suggest, first explore the beauty of our neighborhood. South Asia, when it comes to natural beauty, offers no less than the popular exotic travel destinations- a fact I realized during a trip I recently made to Sri Lanka, popularly known as the ‘Pearl of Indian Ocean’. I repeat, for those of you who are still fascinated about Europe trips must consider the South Asian destinations for a much economical and adventurous experience. On my way to Sri Lanka, I expected it to be a magnificent island country with only sea beaches everywhere and the mesmerizing beauty of the vast Indian Ocean to explore. Was I wrong? Absolutely! Ofcourse, I visited the beaches and fell in love with the vast ocean, but Sri Lanka offered me a lot more to explore. One of the places that I enjoyed most was Nuwara Eliya, or ‘little England’ of Sri Lanka. Nuwara Eliya is a city in the hill country of the Central Province, Sri Lanka.
Nuwara Eliya-the lovely winterland
In contrast to other parts in Sri Lanka which were mostly humid, I found myself shivering in Nuwara Eliya, a place I would like to call a lovely winterland. Surrounded by tea plantations and lush green hills Nuwara Eliya greeted us with a shivering breeze. I pulled out a scarf I had put in my bag at Colombo upon my friends insistence and trust me, it helped. Some call Nuwara Eliya the paradise of Sri Lanka and therefore is one of the destinations one cannot afford to miss during a trip to Sri Lanka. The name Nuwara Eliya means ‘city of light’ and indeed I found the place to be illuminating, with clear blue sky, green hills, mesmerizing gardens and exotic tea plantations. As I gazed across the never ending tea estates while sipping slowly the (A tip: Do not leave Sri Lanka without drinking Sri Lankan tea which comes in a variety of flavors). As my trip to Nuwara Eliya was unplanned, I spent only a day there and visited only three places: Pedro Tea Estate, Victoria Park and Lover’s Leap Water fall. But I must admit there is lot more to explore in Nuwara Eliya which remains due for my next trip.
Victoria Park: Established before centuries by planting of an Oak tree by a visiting German princess, Victoria Park at present is home to variety of flowers and bird species. One needs to buy a ticket to enter the park the rate of which differs for foreigners. For those who are fond of flowers, this lovely little park is a must-visit.
Pedro Tea Estate: Trip to the Tea Estate was delightful. The smell of tea leaves, the blue sky and the green plantation was simply mesmerizing. And needless to say, the tea was amazing.
Lover’s Leap Water Fall: The beautiful water fall is not far from Pedro Tea Estate. The water fall symbolizes the immortal love story of a prince who could not marry the woman he loved and thus the duo decided to jump off from the water fall and end their lives. For trekkers as well as spiritual souls, this place is a must visit given that it is quite hard to climb the peak of the fall and the tranquil experience the surroundings offer if you close your eyes and sit for a while, with only chirping birds to disturb your thoughts.
How to travel from Colombo: Your mode of transport depends on your budget; if you are low on budget I would recommend travel to Kandy first by train and then from Kandy you can board a bus to Nuwara Eliya. You can also hire private cabs, but the charges will be extremely high so road trip is a more convenient option for solo travellers or students, like me.
(The author is a student of International Relations at the South Asian University. Travelling and exploring places is her passion. Her research interests include study of ethnic conflicts, refugee rights, women’s rights and diaspora. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Disclaimer: Views of the writer are her personal and TheFreePost.In does not necessarily endorse them.