Situated at 193 km from Colombo on the Colombo – Kandy – Nanu Oya (Close to Nuwara Eliya – Little England) – Badulla road & railway line sits Haputale at an elevation of 1579 m (4736 ft). This is one of the most spectacularly situated of all Sri Lankan towns. It is perched on a ridge top at the southern edge of the hill country with bird’s eye views in both directions. To the south is the plains & coast. To the north is across the jagged lines of hills which recede into the distance towards the hill country. Arrival into the town by car, the sudden descent is startling. You would feel like the car is about airborne over the cliff: the sharp bend creates the optical illusion
Haputale Gap is one of the most spectacular views in the country. The great amphitheatre of the upper Uva spreads out to the north and east. It is bounded by the mountains of Idalgashinna, Ohiya and the Horton Plains National Park, the peaks of Hakgala (Hakgala Botanical Gardens is located there), the purple cone of Namunukula, and Poonagala and Nuwara Eliya. On the other side is an equally breathtaking view & the foothills of the lower Uva, the southern Sabaragamuwa followed up Southern Province right down to the sea. On a bright and cloudless day, one could see the ocean as a bright blue line in the distance, disclosing the stabbing rays of the little lighthouse of Hambantota, far south
A walk in the surrounding hills
As with Ella, the principal pleasure of a stay in Haputale is the chance to get out & walk in the surrounding hills-most notably up to (or down from) the magnificent viewpoint at Lipton’s Seat. Specific sights around town include the tea factory at Dambatenne, the evocative old county mansion of Addhisham & the impressive Diyaluma Falls.
Haputale is a small town with a busy shopping street with a jumble of shops, cafes & a small fruit & vegetable market straggling along the approach to the train station. The town is surrounded by great walks to explore the area. As we walk down the main street from the Station Road crossing, again we witness the apparent disappearance of the road off the cliff.
Away from town, several tea plantations are happy to receive visitors. The principal memento of the Victorian heritage is St. Andrew’s, neo-Gothic church with homely wooden interior which lies just north of the town centre along the main road to Bandarawela. The churchyard is full of the final resting places of nineteenth century tea planters, along with the grave of Reverend Walter Stanley Senior (1876-1938), author of the once-famous “Ode to Lanka”, Victorian Ceylon’s great contribution to world literature.