September 2017


Exciting Ella
September 2017




A hiker's reward! A photo with the train passing over the Nine Arches Bridge

A cold rush, thrill of excitement and nighttime scrumptiousness, these are the hallmarks of Ella, a tourist town ringed by marvellous, verdant mountains swirl with mystique.


Words: Keshini de Silva
Photography: Menaka Aravinda and Geeth Viduranga


One heads to Ella with cheeks blushing with cold and eyes sparkling with the picturesque beauty of the Uva mountainside. Serene Ella is an energetic holiday destination brimming with tourists, almost taking the persona of a quaint European town. Ella town is fringed by elegant restaurants and rustic eateries, each perfuming the air with mouthwatering aromas.


We arrived in Ella under the cool gloom of a drizzle, yet the travellers swarmed about unruffled all geared up for a hike. Indeed, there is much to discover. Of the many peaks to conquer are Little Adam's Peak and Ella Rock, trails which explore the lush and wild emerald landscape of the area. An energetic walk to the iconic Nine Arches Bridge is another favoured activity, with sightseers eagerly awaiting to photograph a train passing along on the bridge. There are many stories about the construction of the viaduct, some saying it was built without metal, others about a local who lay down beneath the bridge as a show of faith when the first train crossed the bridge. One would rarely miss the opportunity of posing for a photograph before the mesmeric Ella Gap or the mystical Ravana Falls.


Ella is riddled with myth about the notorious King Ravana, who according to The Ramayana epic, kidnapped Seetha from India and hid her in the area. A cave a few metres beyond the waterfall is believed to have been the place Seetha was held captive and is reached after a flight of about 600 steps. It is an exhausting climb, yet the view is quite breathtaking. Be sure to stop by the little shop along the stairs to quench your thirst and rejuvenate with a sip of sweet tea, ginger tea or thambili (King Coconut). Enjoy the hospitality of the pleasant shop owners and savour a bite of the delicious Gotu Pittu, a steamed concoction of rice flour, coconut and treacle. It is served in a cute cone made of jak tree leaves, which makes eating it a lot more convenient.


Hike on!
Little Adam's Peak is approximately a 2km hike through tea fields and offers a beautiful view. It is said to be the place where King Ravana engaged in his daily 'Surya Vandanawa' (Worship of the sun).


The Ella Rock is a hike that requires more endurance and is an approximately two-hour climb. A mesmerising view of Little Adam's Peak and the Ella Gap can be seen from here. Be prepared and enlist the assistance of a guide if required.


Respect the environment and thus dispose of your garbage and flammables responsibly.


Exotic Ella Must Eats!
The rottis of Ella are a must try. Traditional savoury godamba rotti is filled with banana or pineapple and oozing with chocolate, scrumptious indeed. Or try the rotti filled with coconut and treacle or just with treacle and chocolate. Each are blissful creations for your sweet tooth.


Nearby is the ancient and quaint, Ravana Ella Cave Temple, believed to have provided sanctuary to King Walagamba during his exile while the country was under the rule of South Indian invaders. After the King regained the throne, in gratitude, the cave was decorated with Buddhist art. Fittingly the art and colours in this cave temple is similar to that of the Dambulla Rock Temple. The statues are uniquely made of clay and depict the Buddha in the standing, seated and reclining positions. Other statues, such as that of god Saman are believed to have relented to the test of time.

At night, Ella town is the centre of attention. Music and merriment echo through the air. The street is lit up with coconut and kerosene lamps.


At night, Ella town is the centre of attention. Music and merriment echo through the air. The street is lit up with coconut and kerosene lamps. Diners relish Sri Lankan flavours and street food and popular international flavours over frothing glasses in the cheerful, laidback or even romantic settings. Families visit restaurants to savour the most exotic of treats. Once appetites are satisfied, dance away the cold and calories into the night.


No matter the time of day, whether you seek an adventurous hike or to cuddle in a blanket and enjoy the view, Ella offers thrills, excitement and inspiration to all.

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    The spectacular Nine Arches Bridge

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    Ravana Ella, a gushing beauty

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    The mystical Ravana Cave, where Seetha was said to have been held

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    Ella Gap, a mesmerising scene of the beautiful mountainside

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    Hikers at Little Adam's Peak enjoying a view of Ella Rock

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    Gotu pittu, an Ella delicacy

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    Scrumptious rotti, a must try!

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    Ella is alive with music, merriment and delicious flavours at night

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