Altitude: 3320ft above sea level
Ella lies in the enchanting jungle landscape of the Uva plateau with its caves, gorges and waterfalls. In many places, there are wonderful panoramas of the varied landscape. The town is a suitable base for walking as well as interesting drives for example through the Ella Gap.
What to see in Ella
From the Ella rest house there are perhaps the most fantastic views that Sri Lanka has to offer ranging across the amazing landscape all the way to the sea about 100km. The large cave now filled with water in front of the Rest House is where the demon King Ravana is said to have kept Sita, the consort Prince Rama, captive and hidden. In the Neolithic period the cave was probably inhabited as simple tools mainly of quartz of the Balangoda culture have been found in other caves in the vicinity.
Surroundings of Ella
The Down Temple approximately 6km south of Ella is worth a visit. There are some steps leading into the interior of the temple which is completely carved out of the rock. The wall paintings have been very carefully restored by the monks in the recent years. Also worthy of a note are the statues of various Hindu deities and a 27ft tall image which dates from the 10th century and is said to represent the bodhisattva Maitreya.
6km south east of the Ella a raod leading downhill to Wellawaya passes the foaming Ravana Falls. A further 13km west of Wellaways are the majestic Diyaluma Falls whose water plunges about 575ft. This is the highest waterfall in Sri Lanka.
Admission is FREE
Visiting days: Wednesday to Monday 8.30am to 5pm
Wellawaya has an Archaeological Museum that exhibits several interesting fragments of Buddha statues that have an original connection of the statues of Buduruvagala.
Negombo to Ella is approximately 219km. It is preferred that you spend a day in Kandy or Nuwera Eliya before embarking on your journey to Ella as you can cover more ground and sightseeing than being on a car all day long.
Where to stay
Here are some recommendations
The Grand Ella Motel ($$-$$$) post the renovation has been converted to a 3 star establishment. The drive along the Wellawaya road will take you through fascinating mountain landscape, past paddy fields and tea plantations.
Mountain Heavens ($$) is situated on the road between Bandarawela and Wellawaya. Most regarded as the nicest hotel in Ella by the tourists and definitely one with the best views. Large windows give the guests a magnificent view of the surrounding mountains. The restaurant serves both local and international specialities.
Waterfall Homestay ($-$$) is a three room property owned and managed by Australians. Best views of Ravana falls can be witnessed especially during the wet season where the water plummets down in powerful cascades.
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Get customised tailor made tours enjoying train travel as well. Experience it differently like no other has! (Picture Credit: Sri Lanka Expedition)