Approach to Bandarawela
We approach Bandarawela, along the splendid A4 highway from Ratnapura
, the flavour of the town gradually becomes apparent.
The town's post office is prominent not just because of its hillside
view but also because of its round, colonial George VI pillar box,
painted in traditional post office red. The hillsides are pleated with
housing schemes, vegetable plots and tea gardens. Then the road, after
cresting the cantonment of Diyatalawa, swoops into the town.
At the centre of the Uva "Health Triangle" & midway between the famous
Ella, the Paradise village
is charming Bandarawela. Therein
is the most favourable climate in the island. Averaging around 21
centigrade, it is invariably dry & sunny, & the air is clean & fresh.
Its invigorating spring-like climate favours plants & people alike.
During colonial times, the picturesque town of Bandarawela was once
hailed as possessing one of the healthiest climates in the world, &
nothing much has happened here to change that. The Bandarawela Hotel is
a former tea planters club with comfortable period furniture & enormous
bathtubs. Bandarawela is still the best area for what in tea planter's
jargon is termed "flavoury tea", & where some of Lanka's best tea is
produced. Pears & strawberries also reach their prime here as the
climate is drier & milder than
A centre for tea & fruit-growing, the town is pleasantly small. With a
bustling market-town feel, the town is good for picking up supplies &
provisions. Bandarawela is also good for seeing Sri Lankan lifestyle in
harmonious action. The town's population is mixed, with a Buddhist
temple, a Hindu kovil, a Catholic church and a Muslim mosque in close
proximity to each other.
Woodlands network is worth if you plan to spend any time at all here.
Set up by the late Father Harry Hass, a Dutch pastor, in 1994, this is a
non-profit organization which works towards sustainable tourism by
engaging the local community in tourism projects. Good advice is
available on local walks & treks (Knowledgeable guides are available),
or meditation or Ayurveda, or drop in for a Sri Lankan cooking
Between here & Welimada in the hamlet of Mirahawatte lies the Uva
herbarium, a garden dedicated to growing herbs & re-establishing
forests. Many species of birds of the Uva are easily photographed here,
& picnicking is a delight.
Dowa Rock Temple
Dowa Rock Temple, 6 km from Bandarawela, is squeezed between the road &
the stream in the bottom of the valley. It is a pleasant walk if you
follow the attractive valley down. The cliff face has an incomplete
carving of a large standing Buddha with an exquisitely carved face,
while inside the cave there are murals & first century BC inscriptions.
The inner cave has a "House of Cobra".