I sit amidst a blanket of clouds listening to the faraway prayer calls and temple bells from the Ravana caves, and reminisce my two days in Ella.
Ella is paradise. I am very surprised, and slightly amused, that when people visit Sri Lanka, they just stick to the beaches. In hindsight, I am glad, I didn’t; because I saw much more than I had expected.
I had heard quite a bit about the train journey from Kandy to Ella; so as soon as I got to Kandy, I headed to the train station to book my tickets. I did not manage any tickets on that day and was told to return an hour before the train I wanted to take to get on in a general compartment. Fortunately, on the intended day, I did manage a seat in the second class compartment, and it was all worth it.
As an Indian, the first thing I observed is that the train is very clean, as is the country. The Sri Lankan trains could also serve a model example that airlines need to follow in terms of leg space; because when they say leg space, there really is leg space to sit comfortably.
It was a good 7 hour journey from Kandy to Ella, and the views on the way were worth every bit. For most part of the journey, I had my camera in action mode! The journey was a breathtaking glimpse of the creator’s skills. The greens, the woods, the grey skies with a little sunlight peeking through the clouds; it was nothing but perfection!
Past 10 days in Sri Lanka were horribly hot and humid. With Kandy, the pleasantness started coming in. When I got to Ella, it was raining, and it was green. I was almost walking through the clouds.
That evening, I headed to Ella village and indulged into some good food at Chillis and then walked around a bit. Ella village is full of travelers and tea shops. It is a paradise for tea connoisseurs. There is a variety of tea that is sold here from different regions of Sri Lanka. You can find anything from vintage tea to mountain tea to masala chai, and also slimming tea. I hit the sack early that evening as next day was expected to be hectic and full of adventure.
The next day, I woke up early to a breathtaking view from my room at the cottage. After breakfast, I headed up for a walk to the green tea estate that was about a good 4-5 kms from the cottage. Ideally I would have taken a tuk tuk to that place and spent a fortune to get there (an easy 400 lkr). Fortunately, Jennifer (who I had met at Kandy station on that first day when I was looking for tickets) insisted we walk. Everyone, except Indians, tend to walk a lot.
That walk was a marathon for me; but Jennifer seemed absolutely at ease. The motivation and company helped a lot. Eventually, I realised that if I could actually climb the entire way up to Sigiriya (that is another dramatic story), I could actually do anything in life!
We got to the green tea estate after almost 45 minutes, with quite a few pictures of the view on the way. At the estate, we learned how green tea is made, packaged and exported. It was a nice experience.
After visiting the estate, we decided to climb the Little Adam’s Peak on our way back to the village. The climb, again, nearly killed me. It was a good 4-5 kms to the peak and back (probably more), but it was worth the climb! The view from the peak was spectacular!
From there, we headed back to Ella village and then to Ravana temple (which is a Buddhist cave temple by the way). Also, Ella has no ATM for foreign cash withdrawals (as of March 2016). So if you run out of cash, you need to get a bus (not tuk tuk; it will cost you a fortune) to the next town and back. It is a 30-minute bus ride.
The next morning, I was taking a train to Colombo and then back to Abu Dhabi. Before I left, I captured my last sight of Ella.
I am glad that I went to Ella. Now when I sit and write my account of my two weeks in Sri Lanka, Ella is one of the most beautiful parts of it. Which is why I started the series with Ella. It was the much needed muse for the creative me. Finally, I am at peace.