Ella is unlike any other place you have seen before. Situated five hours away from Colombo and surrounded by mountains and endless patches of green, and spectacular views, this is Sri Lanka’s very own paradise. Ella is also favoured with pleasant weather conditions throughout the year, making it an ideal holiday retreat. Over the years it has gained significant attention of many tourists.
Ella is used as a transit point when travelling towards the hill country or the South. As the town is surrounded by several mountains, there are quite a number of hikes to take if you are interested in hiking.
Places/Activities in Ella
This is one of the most unique railway lines in the country. Located about 15 minutes from Ella, the design for this railway line which resembles a loop line was drawn by D. J. Wimalasurendra who is also known as the ‘Father of hydro – power’.
While the station remains on top of the hill, the train has to go under it and through the hill to reach the station. If you are really interested in understanding how it works, it is best to visit the station where the Station Master himself has designed a model railway line and railway station. Apart from seeing the railway line, you can also see the arch bridge from a distance, and a view of the countryside.
Located about 10 minutes from the Demodera Railway Station, the route to the Nine Arch Bridge is narrow with several hairpin bends. Although the last stretch of the road has been concreted, it is very steep and only 4×4 vehicles and bikes can ply on it. Construction of the railway line from Ella to Demodera was halted at the 169th mile post due to a wide gap between two hills and the British engineers struggled for a solution, P.K. Appuhami, a local carpenter cum exorcist drew the current design that would connect the gap.
While in Ella, you must take time to visit the Grand Ella Motel which is one of the oldest rest houses in the area, and also offers a splendid view of the Ella Gap. Before it was converted into a rest house, it was used as the residence of a British Government Agent and acquired by the government after independence.
Apart from the view, the next best reason to visit the Grand Ella Motel, is to taste the food prepared by their chefs. They cook up some delicious Sri Lankan food that must be tasted.
Surrounded by ‘little Adam’s Peak’ and the Ella Mountain, the Ella Gap, is a spectacular view of the gap in the southern mountain wall where land falls to a drop of 3000 feet to the Southern plains and the sea. On a clear day, you could see the southern shorelines from Ella gap.
Located on the Ella – Wellawaya Road, the Rawana Falls stands at a height of 40m and is considered one of the widest waterfalls in the country. It is also part of the Rawana Ella Wildlife Sanctuary which is situated about 2Km from the railway station.
The waterfall is also linked to the Indian epic, Ramayana as it is believed that King of Sri Lanka, Rawana had kidnapped Princess Sita and hid her in the caves behind this waterfall in Ella.
Situated about 40 minutes from Ella along a rural road on Wellawaya – Kataragama Road, Buduruwagala is a religious and historical site.
The main attraction at this site is the large Buddha statues, the Bodhisattvas and other statues carved on a massive rock, which resembles the shape of an elephant. The sculptures are believed to date back to the 8th – 9th century AD. The statues in Buduruwagala depict both Mahayana and Theravada schools of thought.
Little Adam’s Peak is a 1141m high pyramid shaped rock. It is known after Adam’s Peak for its similar shape. However, the climb to Little Adam’s Peak is less tedious and comparatively easier. The entire journey may take around two hours so make sure to go as early as possible before the clouds set in.
Travel Tips and Planning Information
Although the weather is quite warm and nice during the day, the nights in Ella can be cold. It is best to pack a few warm clothes. Remember to pack mosquito repellent and sun block too.