“If happiness is the goal – and it should be, then adventures should be top priority.” – Richard Branson
Ella is a small hilly town in the Badulla District of Uva Province, Sri Lanka located on the Colombo-Badulla railway line and the A16 highway -Colombo-Badulla road. The town is just about 200 kilometers east of the city of Colombo and it resides at an elevation of 1,041 meters beyond the sea level.
Ella has some stunning tourist attractions and sightseeing spectacles such as – the Ella Gap, Little Adams Peak, Ella Rock, Rawana Ella falls and Nine Arches Bridge, Demodara, Dhowa temple (A 2000 – year- old rock temple) To add to this, the place is encircled with hills, tea plantations and cloud forests. The weather in Ella is perfect for a calming vacation with warm days and cool nights. The higher you go in this hilly small town, the cooler the weather gets.
As this was my first time hiking up to Ella, I decided to join a bunch of Adrenaline junkies who goes by the name of CRC -The Ceylon Ramblers’ Club- a community of thrill seeking and adventurous individuals that love to explore nature and take on new challenges.
The whole trip was planned and headed by Sudha (Subramanium Sudhakaran) who is no stranger to this part of the island 😊 from the transport to the meals we had, to all are hikes which were planned and executed to detail: D (YOU GO CRC!!! WOOHOO). We were able to trail up little Adam’s peak for a spectacular sun rise, hike up Ella rock and spend the evening at nine- arches bridge, and mind you this was all done in a span of 12 hours!!!!
Our first hike was up to Little Adams Peak, about a 45 minute walk from the town. The highlight of the trip was to catch the beautiful sunrise at the top of Little Adam’s Peak. Hence we started our trail at about 5.30am. It’s quite easy to find the starting point as you just need to Walk to the border of the town towards the 98 Acres Resort. Behind this hotel is a path that can take you to up to the peak, as you walk around the mountain through the tea plantations, then you can find the set of stairs to walk up the rest of the hill. It’s hard to describe in words as to how beautiful it is when the afterglow falls over the Rocky Mountains after sunrise.We descended for a yummy breakfast buffet that was awaiting us.
After chilling for a while we decided to start our hike up Ella Rock. The hike takes about two-three hours uphill and you’re bound to get lost at some point, so the easiest way to find the starting point would be to walk towards the Kithal Ella Station and just keep walking towards your left from there down the rail track.
A map I found on google 🙂 This should help a bit 🙂
The Local villagers will give you very definite directions and point you in the right way, so there’s nothing to worry about 😊 You will definitely pass tea estates, footbridges and tall shrubs. Finally, the shrubs will come to an end and you will meet a flat area which is sheltered with trees, where you will stop because of the scenic view of the Ella Gap with an abrupt drop.
From here, just continue towards the rock, climb through the turpentine forest that begins at this point and the climb is a bit steep and arduous. Keep climbing till you reach a flat surface with a 3-way junction. Continue towards your left and you will be on top of the Ella rock.
The second view-point in about 1km away from the Ella rock and will give you more scenic views. Walk through the pine forest down the marked lane and you should be able to get there under 10 minutes or so.
The Descent was clearly easier than the ascend. The whole journey (Up and Down) would take you about 4-5 hours.
After lunch we decided to go see a 20th-century engineering marvel, still withstanding the test of time after almost 100 years; the Nine Arch Bridge.
Before long we had made our way back to the Ella railway station, and was awaiting our transport back to Colombo. As I sat with the rest of the ramblers outside the station that chilly night I had a quiet smile to myself that yet again I had set myself a goal and achieved it.