TCT Sri Lanka Travel Diaries: Mystic Hills of Nuwara Eliya

Our girl on the ground bringing us all things Sri Lanka, straight from the elephant's mouth, is travel blogger and all-round island girl Demi Perera. Demi is the creator and editor of her own popular e-zine Girl Travels World. In her spare time she loves to recline on her hammock under a coconut tree. What we have here is a match made in heaven... πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka. A mystical land which evokes the spirit of the greatest love story ever told; that of Prince Rama and Princess Sita. The ancient epic Ramayana recounts their love which is revered due to Rama and Sita's reunion as lovers over several incarnations. The story chronicles Prince Rama's valiant rescue of his wife from a terrifying 10-headed demon king Ravana who kidnaps the princess and brings her to his island fortress Lankā. Ramayana describes the land of Lankā; a breathtaking landscape of lush greenery, icy streams and imposing waterfalls. Although proof exists that Lankā of Ramayana is unlikely to be the island of Sri Lanka folklore maintains that Nuwara Eliya was the mythical land where Sita was held against her will. As such this small town is home to the Seetha Amman Temple where devotees believe Sita prayed and meditated whilst she waited to be rescued.

Sri Lanka's ancient kings guarded the central highlands of Nuwara Eliya fiercely as it was a source of water; integral to rice cultivation. Generations of monarchs built no palaces near or in the surrounding area to protect the hills from landslides. Complex irrigation systems directed water from the hills to paddy fields. It was a process which remained sustainable for centuries.

The arrival of British colonists in the 18th century was to change the landscape of Nuwara Eliya forever. Beginning with the first small tea plantation in Kandy the hillsides of the central highlands which included Nuwara Eliya were soon covered with tea estates.The cool climate and rainfall of the country's central hills provided the perfect conditions for growing high-quality tea. As the commercial value of Ceylon Tea grew around the world so did the number of plantations back on the island. Communities of British tea planters settled in Nuwara Eliya giving rise to English style cottages, hotels, gardens and churches earning Nuwara Eliya the nick name Little England. Almost all of the colonial buildings and houses have remained in tact to this day.

If this brief history of Nuwara Eliya has left you wanting more try the Little England Cocotail on our menu. The marriage of Colombo 7 Gin and Ceylon Tea has captured the spirit of Nuwara Eliya in a glass and we hope you enjoy it. It's taken us centuries to create it for you.