Never despair, keep pushing on – Sir Thomas Lipton
I got down from the bus reminiscing incredible views of the forest I had through the journey, I was waiting for a Tuk Tuk & it was drizzling. I got into the Tuk Tuk covered by plastic sheets both the ends blocking the view; I asked him if he can fold it up. He said yes & I am so glad he did, the trees were shining with the dew on them & clouds just clearing up were a treat to watch. That was a ride from Beragala to Haputale, there are lots of abandoned coffee estates too, and coffee was a major crop here until blight made them switch to tea.
Sir Thomas J. Lipton acquired Dambatenne Tea estate as he was mesmerized by the view & also with the quality of the tea at the estate. He was an entertainer & would serve tea to the tourists when they visit the estate & enjoy the view; later the place was named as Lipton’s Seat. The view opens up to 4 districts: Galle, Udawalawe, Nuwara Eliya & Uva Province. You can either chose to walk through the tea plantations or hire a Tuk Tuk to reach Lipton’s Seat, both ways it’s a treat to eyes.
Colorful rows of houses can be seen after every few meters & there is a temple in each colony amidst the plantations, these are called line rooms built by British for the workers they brought from India. It was enchanting to see the mist covered plantations early morning, tea workers getting ready to start their daily routine with their colorful attire; that almost looks like cherries on the plantation & most importantly ever smiling people that I met on the way.
I met these 3 ladies, Papati, Aarayi & Valarmarai who were preparing tea on a huge pot. I went to them and said I can speak Tamil too, I am from India. They were just so happy to see me and my bangles, haha yes my bangles & my anklets too. They said, they feel really nice to see a girl in bangles and anklets. They asked me to wait as they wanted me to taste the tea they were preparing; it was a huge pot that was getting prepared for all their co-workers/friends. They were also kind enough to show how the tea leaves are cut made me wear their hat & taught me how the whole process works. They were saying India is way too developed, you may not be having people working to cut tea leaves; I laughed & said we are as good as siblings who are running at the same pace.
That’s the tallest waterfall in Sri Lanka, Bambarakanda Falls at the height of 263 meters surrounded by pine forest. Vehicles are allowed only till a certain point; in just a few meters of walk through the pine trees you can hear the water roaring high up from 263 meters.
Hike to this fall was a super short one & still scary through the slippery pine tree leaves. Leaches sucking blood on you, the roots you try to hold to climb up breaks & we finally still made it. As we walked closer to the falls, this pretty much looked like a dream I was walking in. Once you are out of the Pine forest, you will enter into an engraved path through lush green mountains & at a distance you will see the fall. It is called Lanka falls because, the shape of pond where the water hits the ground, that is naturally formed through rocks looks like a map of Sri Lanka.
Train from Haputale to Kandy
I keep mentioning this very often, train journeys in Sri Lanka are definitely not worth missing. The most popular one is from Ella to Kandy; I covered this on my first visit to Sri Lanka last year. This time I took a train from Haputale to Kandy; this has been so far the best journeys I have been in. Train passes through Horton plains National park, the dense forest & water falls that looks like milk has been poured from the sky, Heaven is all I could say!
Another famous thing to do in Haputale is to go on Tea Tours, I didn’t go on this as I come from a place who is one of the largest producer in itself & have attended many such tours 🙂 Mr. MBC Premalal can take you around, he is a retired post master who is now riding a Tuk Tuk to fund his children’s education, he can be reached at 0710594189.