An encounter with nature

Traveling due east of Colombo heading into the interior of the island, the tapestry changes to Sri Lanka's invigorating Hill Country. It is in the Hill Country that the world famous Tea is grown and produced. Visit a tea estate and a tea factory and be enlightened in the entire process of tea manufacture and at the end of it, relax and enjoy a cuppa!
Set deep in the valleys or almost perched on the cliffs are the peaceful villages and hamlets of the country people who predominantly work in the tea factories or in the rice fields.
Throughout the country beautiful cascading waterfalls named as Devon, St. Clairs and Aberdeen, Sri Lanka's highest falls – Bambarakanda Falls, and stunning mountain passes of Kadugannawa, Balane, Ginigathene, Haputale, and the spectacular Ramboda pass which leads to Nuwara Eliya at an altitude of 2000 meters.

Nuwara Eliya is what the British called "little England" now boasts of its colonial influences, an eighteen-hole golf course and the exotic Hakgala Botanical Gardens. Also in the vicinity is the island's highest and most isolated plateau -Horton Plains which will thrill nature lovers with its variety of wild life and stimulate everyone with its sheer drop of 1053 meters called the World's End!

Some 42 km away from Nuwara Eliya is Haputale with its beautiful mountain pass and forest reserve which is ideal for camping. Also to be admired is Lipton's Seat, the rock named after the19th century Tea millionaire Thomas Lipton. From Haputale the Badulla Road descends rapidly to Bandarawela which is said to have the most bracing climate in the country. Further to the plains is Ratnapura - the city of Gems. This is where the sapphires, rubies, alexandrites, catseyes and amethysts are found in abundance and a visit to a gem-mine is a must to watch the gem stones being mined according to age old customs. Beyond Ratnapura is Sinharaja, the great primeval rain forest - one of the island's world heritage sites.

If the mood is to encounter nature in a more stunning way is climbing Pidurutalagala, Sri Lanka's highest mountain, at 8,281 feet, and Adams Peak, the sacred mountain, which attracts pilgrims between December and April each year.