Ella is one of those locations in Sri Lanka that is ideal for anyone who seeks a chance for relaxation. It has been ranked as the best eco-tourism destination in Sri Lanka. Today, Ella has become a must-visit spot by foreign tourists who flock to the island seeking travel leisure. Its breath-taking views and cool crisp climate make for a very comforting experience. Most foreign travelers used Ella as their relaxation destination for a few days on their way to other destinations as a transfer centre. Ella can be reached by travelling along the most breath-taking railway journey or even via main roads. It is about 210 kms from Colombo. So, here are the top eight must-see attractions in Ella.
Ella Rock Mountain
Ella Rock Mountain is a popular viewpoint which includes the inviting Ella Rock hike intermingled with a breath-taking scenery. Ella Rock Mountain offers panoramic views extending towards the eastern side of Sri Lanka The sunrise can also be witnessed early morning. To reach Ella Rock Mountain, it takes about a 2 km hike along the railway track starting from Ella railway station and then followed by a mountain climb. The Ella Rock Mountain also faces the Ella Mini Adam’s Peak.
Walk up to Ella’s Rock, about 2 hours (each way) along the railway track and through the tea plantations, for stunning views across the countryside. The first 1.5km is along the railway track itself so keep an ear out for oncoming trains although they travel so slowly you’ll have plenty of time to get out of the way. The fog tends to move in by 10am, so get an early start for the best views of the Hill Country and with the town nestled in the hills below you. This walk is about 2 hours each way, and about half of it is along the railway line before cutting off into the hills. If you are not used to climbing in this climate, leave Ella around 5 in the morning. The temperature will be more pleasant and you have the added bonus of having breakfast watching over the sunrise. For a longer walk back, rather than head straight back to the line from the hill top, follow the track through the forest.
Ella Little Adam’s Peak
Little (Mini) Adam’s peak is one of those destinations which attracts many travellers on an almost daily basis, throughout the year. Ella Mini Adam’s Peak is a small hillock where remarkable panoramic views can be witnessed in the horizon. Ella Mini Adam’s Peak faces the Ella Rock Mountain. Ella Mini Adam’s Peak hike commences from Passara Road which is about 2 kms from Ella town.
A nice short hike and breathtaking views from the top. The Little Adam`s Peak, 1141 m high, and is fairly easy to climb, with a good path all the way up. The trip will take about 2-3 hours in total (including picture taking). It is a fairly easy hike and the path is marked by signs so it`s easy to find, and very popular among tourists! So expect to meet many other people from all over the world on this trip! he Little Adam`s Peak got it`s named after it`s big brother, the holy mountain Adam`s Peak, because of the similar shape. Adam`s Peak is further west in Sri Lanka, close to Nuwara Eliya, and is 2243 m high and a much more exhausting and more challenging climb!
The Nine Arched railway bridge
The nine arched railway bridge is located in between the Ella and Demodara railway stations and is 169 N miles away from the Colombo Fort Railway station. When the British began construction of railway lines in then Ceylon, they initially brought down iron (steel) from Britain to construct these bridges_ However, The World War One broke out and the steel consignment allocated for this site was seized and was used for war related projects. When the work came to a stoppage the Sri Lankan (named Appuhami) came forward and build the bridge with solid stone bricks and cement without steel. Many such bridges are still to be found along the railway line between Ella and Demodara.
Demodara railway loop
The Demodara Loop is where the track passes under itself, going around the loop and emerges from the no 42 tunnel. The Loop is 441 feet long. The station is situated exactly over the tunnel. Also that’s the centre of the crossing point of the loop. This type of loop is known as the ’spiral loop’ or ’circular loop’. It is also known as ‘Demodara looping the loop’. It is considered the only loop in the world with a railway station situated exactly over a tunnel at spiral loop.
The engineers and surveyors found that elevation of hills apart at Demodara was too much for the track to negotiate from one side to another. With maximum inclination allowed in the CGR (Ceylon Government Railway as the department was known) being one foot per 44 feet (1/44) an innovative track design had to be devised and this loop is a result of their ingenuity.
Ravana Ella Waterfall
(Bambaragama Ella Waterfall): A stream which initiated from the Nayabeddria mountain range and Liyangahawela and which flows through Bambaragama was named the Bambaragama waterfall. But, presently this waterfall is popular as the Ravana Ella Waterfalls. Located along the Ella-Wellawaya road, these waterfalls happen to be one of the most visited ones in the region.
Upper Ravana Ella waterfall: When travelling along the railway road from Ella railway station towards the Bandarawela side, about 2 14 km on to the right side you’ll come across a waterfall. This happens to be the original Ravana Ella waterfall or the Upper Ravana Ella waterfall. Ravana Ella was created from the Kirindi Oya Stream which also commenced from the Nayabeddha mountain range. The Upper Ravana Ella cascades beautifully during the rainy seasons
Ravana Cave and Ravana Temple
Legends has it that the legendary demon King Ravana had hid Oueen Sita (wife of Rama) in this cave. The cave is quite large; 100 m long, and has been formed by metamorphosed crystalline limestone of the Precambrian era. Sri Lankan_ Archaeologist Dr. Deraniyagaia found human skeletons dating back from 800 to 2500 BC belonging to the Balangoda Man (Homa Sapiens Balangodensis) upon excavation of the cave. According to legends, the Ravana Ella ancient temple was built by King Walagamba. The temple has a cave shrine house with a rock tunnel in the temple there are wall paintings and statues that have been around for aeons. The Ravana Ella temple and Ravana Ella cave can be accessed from the Ella-Wellawaya road and when reaching the Ravana Ella junction, turn right.
Dowa Raja Maha Viharaya
When traveling from Eandarawela towards Badulla about 4 km along the Bandarawela-BaduIla road one can see this unique temple. According to legend King Walagamba [59-76 BC) had erected this temple while he was hiding from an Indian Chola attack on Anuradhapura. The temple’s image house is enclosed within a cave shrine house. This segment has three chambers. The first chamber contains a tunnel with a small pagoda. The second contains murals of Lord Buddha and frescoes of deities and flowers on the roof. In the third chamber too one can witness ancient murals, including that of a fight between an elephant and a bull. A few meters above the cave shrine on the rocky wall face is an incomplete rock carving of Lord Buddha.
Ella Pattini Dewalaya
Whilst traveling along the BandarawelaBadulla road, passing the Kumbalwela and Halpe Junctions, yet another junction will be encountered a few meters away from the petrol shed. The side road leads to a little gap, upon which you will find the Ella Pattini Dewalaya. It was erected as a tempita [‘upon half rock pillars) that is, that was built on 25 stone pillars. It is a two story building with wood carvings.