Places to visit in Ella
Welcome to Ella, a hidden gem nestled amidst the picturesque landscapes of Sri Lanka’s central highlands. This charming town, located in the Badulla District of the Uva Province, is a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. With its lush green tea plantations, breathtaking mountain views, cascading waterfalls, and warm local hospitality, Ella offers a truly unforgettable experience. Ella, situated approximately 200 km east of Colombo, is a haven for those seeking tranquillity and natural beauty. Journeying from Colombo to Ella is an adventure in itself, as you witness the scenic transformation from bustling urban landscapes to serene tea-covered hillsides. Once you arrive in Ella, prepare to be captivated by its awe-inspiring vistas. The town is perched at an elevation of 1,041 m above sea level, providing a refreshing escape from the tropical heat of the coastal regions. Ella’s mild climate, cool breeze, and misty ambience create a soothing atmosphere that envelops you in tranquillity. So pack your bags, embark on a scenic train journey, and let Ella’s hidden treasures enchant you with their beauty and charm. Let’s delve into the best places to visit in Ella and uncover the wonders that await you.
1. Little Adam's Peak
Little Adam’s Peak, is a captivating hiking destination in the enchanting town of Ella. Standing tall at 1141 m, this must-visit peak offers a thrilling adventure that unveils stunning heights and picturesque landscapes. Begin your adventure on relatively flat ground, surrounded by the beauty of nature. As you set foot on the trail, you’ll be greeted by the lush greenery and serenity of the surroundings. With each step, the higher you ascend, the trail gradually transforms, revealing a steeper ascent that adds an extra touch of excitement to your journey. It’s an opportunity to challenge yourself and embrace the thrill of conquering new heights. As you navigate the ascending path, the magnificent views that await you at the summit are truly awe-inspiring. From the top of Little Adam’s Peak, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic vistas that stretch across the horizon. While the trail presents a moderate challenge, it is suitable for hikers of various skill levels. Whether you’re an experienced trekker or a beginner, Little Adam’s Peak welcomes all adventurers with open arms. Little Adam’s Peak, nestled amidst the enchanting landscapes of Ella is a captivating hiking destination and one of the top places to visit in Ella.
2. Nine Arches Bridge
Nestled between the Ella and Demodara railway stations, you’ll find a remarkable engineering masterpiece called the Nine Arches Bridge. Fondly referred to as the Bridge in the Sky, this viaduct stands as a testament to human ingenuity and determination. The construction of the Nine Arches Bridge is a captivating tale of collaboration between a local Ceylonese builder, P. K. Appuhami, and British engineers. With their expertise combined, this architectural gem came to life. The bridge, which is part of the upcountry railway line of Ceylon, showcases a perfect fusion of local craftsmanship and colonial-era railway construction. During the bridge’s construction, an unexpected challenge arose. The Great War erupted, diverting the allocated steel for the project to the war effort in Europe. Undeterred by this setback, the locals persevered and resorted to their resourcefulness. They ingeniously built the Nine Arches Bridge using stone bricks and cement, transforming their vision into reality without the traditional steel reinforcement. As you stand upon this iconic viaduct, you’ll be enthralled by the panoramic vistas of the surrounding hillsides covered in lush greenery. The bridge perfectly blends with its natural environment, making it a photographer’s paradise. The Nine Arches Bridge, a captivating feat of engineering, is one of the great places to visit in Ella.
3. Ella Rock
Ella Rock, a thrilling hiking destination, is among the top places to visit in Ella. It is a trail that beckons those seeking a challenge and a deeper connection with nature. This trek is best suited for more experienced hikers who are ready to venture into the unknown. With a total duration of approximately four hours, the hike demands stamina and determination, rewarding those who conquer it with unparalleled sights. As you set foot on the path to Ella Rock, you will find yourself immersed in the beauty of the surroundings. The trail meanders through verdant tea estates, where the lush greenery creates a serene ambience. Walking along the railway lines adds a touch of adventure, evoking a sense of curiosity and wanderlust. The journey continues through a small eucalyptus forest, where the fresh scent of the trees invigorates your senses, making the hike even more captivating. Reaching the summit of Ella Rock is a triumph that unveils a stunning panorama. From the cleared summit, gaze upon the mesmerizing beauty of Ella Gap and the iconic Little Adam’s Peak. So, gear up, lace your hiking boots, and embark on an unforgettable journey to Ella Rock, where nature’s rewards are as immense as the courage it takes to reach them.
4. Ravana Falls
Among its many wonders, Ravana Falls, also known as Ravana Ella, stands tall and proud. With a height of approximately 25 m, this magnificent waterfall is named after the legendary king Ravana. Ravana Falls is a sight to behold, captivating visitors with its sheer beauty and breathtaking cascade. As the water gracefully tumbles down from an oval-shaped concave rock outcrop, it creates a mesmerizing spectacle that leaves a lasting impression on all who witness it. With its remarkable height, the waterfall stands as one of the tallest in Sri Lanka. The falls derive their name from the mythical king Ravana, a central figure in the famous Indian epic, the Ramayana. According to ancient tales, Ravana, the powerful king of Lanka, kidnapped Princess Sita and concealed her within the caves located behind the waterfall. These caves, now known as the Ravana Ella Cave, serve as a reminder of this captivating legend. The abduction was an act of revenge against Rama, Sita’s husband, and his brother Laxmana, who had harmed Ravana’s sister. So, Ravana Falls is one of the most interesting places to visit in Ella, offering a mesmerizing spectacle of cascading water and enchanting natural beauty.
5. Ravana Cave
The Ravana cave holds great significance as it served as a hiding place for Princess Sita during the reign of King Ravana. Located 1370 m above sea level, this mystical site offers an unforgettable adventure for those seeking to delve into Sri Lankan history. The Ravana Cave is part of an intricate tunnel system connected to the magnificent Ravana Falls. As you venture into the cave, you will be allowed to explore up to 200 m inside. Although the cave itself may appear modest in size, it holds countless stories of ancient times and plays a significant role in the legendary tale of King Ravana and Princess Sita. Legend has it that King Ravana, captivated by Princess Sita’s beauty, whisked her away to this very cave. The underground passageways that surround the cave were used for quick transportation and as secret pathways during ancient times. The architectural marvels within these tunnels bear testament to the remarkable building skills of King Ravana. Upon entering the cave, you will be immersed in a world filled with history and mystery. Ravana Cave is a must-visit attraction that adds a touch of ancient history to the list of places to visit in Ella.
6. Diyaluma Falls
Diyaluma Falls, one of the top places to visit in Ella, that amazes visitors with its towering height and offers an exhilarating swimming experience in its natural pools. As the second-highest waterfall in Sri Lanka, standing tall at a remarkable height of 220 m, Diyaluma Falls is a true marvel of nature that will take your breath away. Formed by the mighty Punagala Oya, this spectacular waterfall is a sight to behold. As the water rushes down the rocky cliffs, it creates a mesmerising cascade that enchants all who visit. Once you reach the first part of the waterfall, get ready to be amazed. You’ll discover a series of natural pools that beckon you to take a refreshing swim. Dive into the crystal-clear waters and feel the cool embrace as you immerse yourself in nature’s playground. But the excitement doesn’t stop there! For adventurous souls, these natural pools offer the perfect opportunity for an exhilarating jump. Leap from one pool into a lower levelled pool and experience the rush of adrenaline as you soar through the air. Surrounded by the lush greenery and the soothing sound of cascading water, Diyaluma Falls creates a tranquil oasis where you can connect with nature.
7. Nil Diya Pokuna
Located within the enchanting landscapes of Ella, Nil Diya Pokuna is a captivating underwater pond nestled in a cave, offering a unique and mystical experience for visitors exploring the places to visit in Ella. According to legends, Nil Diya Pokuna is believed to have been constructed by King Ravana, adding a touch of myth and intrigue to its allure. This remarkable pond rests 80 meters deep inside a mountain cave in Karandagolla, beckoning adventurers to uncover its secrets. Accessing Nil Diya Pokuna involves traversing through two independent entrances. The more renowned entrance resides within a forest reserve, while a lesser-known entry point was discovered on private property. These entrances lead to a rabbit hole-like passage, serving as a gateway to this hidden wonder. Upon reaching Nil Diya Pokuna, visitors are greeted by the breathtaking sight of crystal-clear water. The tranquil ambience and natural beauty of the pond create a sense of serenity and wonder. Exploring Nil Diya Pokuna is an endeavour for the adventurous at heart. As you embark on this extraordinary journey, it is essential to exercise caution and heed the guidance of experienced guides. The cave’s captivating beauty and the intriguing tales surrounding its creation will leave you in awe.
8. Dhowa Rock Temple
Dhowa Rock Temple holds a rich history dating back to the first century BC. It was constructed by none other than King Valagamba, a revered ruler of his time. The temple stands as a testament to the king’s resilience and devotion during a tumultuous period. Seeking refuge in the Uva Province after an invasion by forces from South India, King Valagamba embarked on a mission to build several temples in the region. Dhowa Rock Temple is one of his remarkable creations, showcasing his unwavering faith and architectural prowess. As you step foot into the temple premises, you will be captivated by its tranquil ambience. The temple is a protected archaeological monument, recognized by the government for its historical significance. It has withstood the test of time, standing proud for over 2000 years. One of the temple’s most remarkable features is the awe-inspiring unfinished Buddha image. Carved into a towering granite rock face, this magnificent sculpture stands at an impressive height of 12 m. It represents the artistry of Mahayana sculpture, leaving visitors in awe of its grandeur. While exploring the enchanting places to visit in Ella, don’t miss the majestic Dhowa Rock Temple.
9. Ella Wala Falls
Ella Wala Falls, though small in size, holds a world of beauty and tranquillity that will leave you in awe. Located just 5 km from Wellawaya Town, Ella Wala Falls invites you to explore its hidden treasures. As the crystal-clear water gracefully descends a distance of 4-5 m (318 ft), it gently kisses the natural pool beneath, creating a mesmerizing sight that will captivate your senses. The highlight of your visit to Ella Wala Falls is undoubtedly the refreshing natural pool at its foot. Immerse yourself in its inviting waters and let the cares of the world wash away. Feel the cool droplets on your skin as you bask in the serenity of this secluded oasis. As you make your way to Ella Wala Falls, be prepared to encounter another enchanting attraction along the journey – the picturesque Alikota Ara reservoir. The shimmering waters of the reservoir add to the allure of the surroundings, creating a harmonious blend of nature’s elements. For those seeking more adventure, don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in a rejuvenating bath at the Alikota Ara spill canal. Ella Wala Falls is a mesmerizing attraction that should be on your list of places to visit in Ella.
10. Lipton's Seat
Lipton’s Seat, situated amidst the breathtaking hills of Poonagala, is a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and tea lovers alike. This high observation point holds great significance as it is named after the legendary tea planter, Sir Thomas Lipton. Sir Thomas Lipton, a visionary entrepreneur, made a significant impact on the tea industry in Sri Lanka. With a passion for tea cultivation, he established vast tea gardens that stretched across the rolling hills of the country. Lipton’s Seat serves as a tribute to his remarkable contributions. As you make your way to Lipton’s Seat, prepare to embark on a journey of awe-inspiring beauty. The winding paths and lush greenery lead you to an elevation where a panoramic view awaits. From this vantage point, you can witness the magnificence of the surrounding hills, covered in a verdant blanket of tea plantations. The sight is truly mesmerizing and offers a glimpse into the natural wonders of Sri Lanka. Standing in Lipton’s Seat, you can imagine Sir Thomas Lipton himself taking in the stunning landscape with pride. It is said that he would often sit here, surveying his vast tea estate, as the aroma of freshly brewed tea filled the air. Lipton’s Seat is one of the remarkable places to visit in Ella, offering panoramic views of the surrounding tea plantations.