Hunting was a popular pastime of the English during the colonial past when Britannia ruled the waves. They particularly enjoyed hunting elephants. When Edward Barnes was appointed Governor-General of Ceylon as Sri Lanka was then called in 1824, his officers engaged in hunting.
During one of these forays, these officers found a very amusing environment they had never come across before. They immediately reported about this area which was at the foot of the Piduruthalagala, the tallest mountain in Sri Lanka. Being delighted after his inspection, the GG’s first step was the construction of a roadway leading to this beautiful environment.
He built homes for himself and his servants for leisure and healthy living. Later, this hill station in the Central province was called Nuwara-Eliya or popularly known as “Little England” because of its pleasant atmosphere.
The city was founded by Samuel Baker, the discoverer of Lake Albert and the explorer of the Nile in 1846. Nuwara Eliya's climate, with an average annual temperature of 16 degrees Celsius, lent itself to becoming the prime sanctuary of the British civil servants and planters in Ceylon, according to wikipedia.org.
Nuwara Eliya, called Little England then, was also a hill country retreat where the British colonialists could immerse in their pastimes such as fox hunting, deer hunting, elephant hunting, polo, golf and cricket, according to wikipedia.org.
Although the town was founded in the 19th century by the British, is now a popular holiday destination not only for foreigners but also Middle Eastern expats who relish the cool climate after experiencing the heat of the desert in the Gulf.
Specially during the month of April, when it is the season of flowers, pony races, go cart races and auto rally.
Many of the buildings retain features from the colonial period such as the Queen's Cottage, General's House, Grand Hotel, Hill Club, Town Post Office and even new hotels are often built and furnished in the colonial style.
Many private homes still maintain their old English-style lawns and gardens.
In Nuwara Eliya or 'Little England', one may also find a record breaking place at present, according to a report in the Sinhala daily Lankadeepa.
The highest road network, highest water catchments, houses and a temple are on the highest elevation, it said.
All these are located in the village called Shanthipura, in the highest area in the Nuwara-Eliya district which is situated at an altitude of 1,868 metres above sea level.
'Shanthipura' was created in 1962 by the then Mayor of Nuwara-eliya under agrarian campaign. It is located in Maskeliya and the mayor had taken a great effort in creating this village. Some people said that he had named this village after his wife.
Nevertheless, credit should go to Governor Barnes for discovering 'Little England' and the mayor for establishing 'Shanthipura'.
This village is situated on Kikiliyagama mountain top, more than 7,000 ft above sea level.
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