“I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree, And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made; And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow, Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings; I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore; While I stand on the roadway or the pavements grey, I hear it in the deep heart’s core.”
Every single time when going through The Lake Isle of Innisfree by W.B.Yeats, I am reminded of a faded picture deep inside my heart, a memory to which I am very much nostalgic. The very thought makes my heart sing and here is what it says.
As my first and last hint on what the place is, you may think of somewhere in the country which is completely different from the rest. Somewhere governed by picturesque landscapes and cooler climate where you could cling to the embrace of mother nature. Somewhere surrounded by mist-cloaked mountains along with unsophisticated greenery and spellbinding waterfalls that cascade down the rocks. All you would see when you walk through the meadows here is the earth, the untouched earth; dressed all green. Adding up to the exquisite beauty are the places of attraction located within the area which provide eye-soothing sceneries to all visitors.
Simply, the longing within my oldest memory is about my first visit as a little girl to the “City of Light” or the “Little England”.
Taking you all 200 years back in time, to the era of British rule when people had no smartphones, no internet, no tough workload to be completed in the rat-racing world…
Nuwara Eliya was founded by Samuel Baker in 1846. The place soon became the favorite of British rulers since it was a miniature version of their own country. The climate was favorable to grow English vegetables and fruits that still make the most important part of the country’s vegetation. The English country village is still there with its rustic beauty and all antique components including red telephone boxes, pink brick Victorian post office, rose gardens, and well-maintained colonial bungalows.
Coming back from the vibes of the 19th century to the 21st …
On the other side of the city, are the icons of Sri Lanka. Countryside buffaloes roaming in large meadows, green tea lush, markets, and small boutiques (where you could shop your heart out and take home memories). Out of all, the fields where red bulbs of strawberries fill the bushes are my favorite. What an experience would it be to pluck those juicy berries in a large field!
Towards the middle town, stands Victoria Park and the Haggala Botanical Garden which houses beautiful flora varieties. These are worth a few-hour stroll by all nature lovers. Just imagine yourself taking an afternoon walk across the paved walkway by the Gregory lake, with the sun going down in your background inviting the glorious dusk to come up. A ride on the ponies, a swan boat ride on the silver waters in such mesmerizing afternoons will be a therapy indeed. Do not miss out on the beautiful veil-like waterfalls too. (St. Claire, Lovers leap, Bomuruella, etc…) These little doses of nature would doubtlessly soothe all souls burning with thousands of worries in the materialistic world. So, why not try it out?
Zoophilists should never disappoint themselves since the city carries perfect wildlife observation sites too. Horton plains and Moon plains are two of those that should not be forgotten. Elk, deer, leopards, and many different birds inhabit the wilderness. How fascinating would it be to have breakfast at the viewpoint of Moon plains with your favorite people when nature’s songbirds sing their jingles beside you!!
Travelers who take the train journey from Kandy to Ella have blessed eyes to witness the most scenic train ride one can experience in Sri Lanka. All inner worries will flutter away for sure as the cold breeze kisses the cheeks so gently.
At the moment of freeing my thoughts here, what my mind yearns for is some peace after all the monotony and hustle-bustle of life. We all need enlivening colors in our lives. We all need time to sit back and think, think upon the things around us. So, if it is not Nuwara Eliya, where else would it be? Where else in the country would we get such comfort along with the aura of a foreign country?
Ravishing decors of nature are calling you! But, be mindful to preserve the tranquility and to leave only footprints when you come back!
By Rtr. Ruwangi Amarasooriya