Image by Koczot from Pixabay
Though Nuwara Eliya had been inhabited during the early period of the kingdom of Kandy, the existence of the spectacular “Eliya” (Sinhala: opening or clearing) valley set amidst the wooded green mountains wasn’t known to the Colonial British until the accidental discovery by the colonial civil servant John Davy in the year 1819.
Governor Edward Barnes converted Nuwara Eliya into a commercial and a coffee planting centre during the 1830s. In the year 1847 the great colonial explorer Samuel Baker introduced the gardening of English vegetables in Nuwara Eliya.
Following the Coffee Blight in Sri Lanka during the 1870s, the plantation of tea was introduced by Sir James Taylor resulting in the development of the Nuwara Eliya district as the heart of the tea growing region of the central highlands of Sri Lanka, then called Ceylon. The first plantation on experimental stages was established in 1867 at the Loolecondera Estate situated between Kandy and Nuwara Eliya. In the year 1885 the highland railway track was extended to Nanu Oya, a town 5km south of Nuwara Eliya. This is where you catch the train to Ella.