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Exploring Sri Lanka’s Hill Country Heritage: Colonial Bungalows and Cucumber Sandwiches


There’s nothing more soul searching than a visit to the winding down roads of Sri Lanka’s hill country. The tree lined roads that accompany green hills(legacy of the hill country), clouds that light up the sky and the strong sense of knowing you are in a place where waterfalls whisper and hills change colour all year around.

Where ancient legends meet geological wonders, and the earth whispers tales of cosmic journeys and heroic flames

This is where paradise comes down to earth, where earth touches the sky. legacy of the hill country

legacy of the hill country

Sri Lanka’s hill country is nestled deep in the hills, either on mountain tops or in valleys nestled in between. Here, you will be able to go back in time and see the plantation bungalows that once stood tall in the area, capturing the very essence of the hill country soul.

The bungalows still beckon with neatly laid out teas and dainty cucumber sandwiches, served with hot Ceylon tea. Take your pick – either the all time favourite Earl Grey or the more stable and robust flavours grown in south of the island(legacy of the hill country). Maybe the light floral taste of Nuwara Eliya grown teas, highland beverage at its best.

The bungalow experience of the Sri Lankan highlands must be savoured with good taste and impeccable manners. Back in the day, the British planters had rituals set in stone – tea on the lawn, lavish dinners and elegant dances, club hall festivities and the good old rugby matches(legacy of the hill country). The nostalgic sense prevails when one sees the bungalows still intact, now more of a restored tourist destination than the rough and tumble abodes they used to be.

Stories are told of planters clearing the land to grow tea back in the old days, of putting up camp in rough sheds with nothing but the sky for the roof ; long before the study bungalows were put up. Plantations culture was something to be savoured for over a century, a unique combination of rituals, lavish meals, plenty of celebrations and feasts.

White clad waiters anxious to serve you, home made chocolate cake for tea time, cucumber sandwiches for tea in the rose gardens and lavish dinner parties with Sri Lankan favourites – stringhoppers and molagathanni , a traditional British curry soup, hot off the stove, served with freshly picked strawberries from the fields.

Lots of laughter, games and parties that appeased the lonely life in the plantations somehow – camaraderie among planters and their families, keeping up estates that dotted the landscape far and wide(legacy of the hill country). With children studying in the city or overseas, the planter couples always found time to mingle with other planter families to overcome loneliness and isolation.

The fireplaces are stacked with freshly split firewood, brought in from the luscious jungles surrounding the estates(legacy of the hill country). This is where the salubrious climate yields roses and dahlias and the landscape reminds the British of home.

Sri Lanka’s hill country is also known as little England – walk into Nuwara Eliya, dotted with historic buildings and hotels that remind one of a little English town, and you can for one second, be mistaken about the location.

There are various hill stations beside Nuwara Eliya. There’s Haputale and Diyatalawa,  traditional tea stations where many plantations were. There’s also Bandarawela and Ella, nestled in the hills, each a unique destination that is celebrated for the climate and the unique landscapes.

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