Tea Trails in Sri Lanka | Episode 2

Trail routing

Pekoe Trail is a social enterprise. Trail was designed in a way to increase the flow of responsible travellers to some of the most remote communities in the hill country, expanding opportunities for the locals. The stages of the trail starts or ends in a local village or a local town, so that it allows the hikers and travellers to blend with the local culture and explore more into the rich, diverse heritage of the Sri Lankan Tea Country. Hence the trail focuses on routing to expose the traveller to the hill country’s culture and heritage; bustling tea factories, the warehouses and sheds, colonial tea plantation bungalows, old post offices, tea trails and tea roads used in the time of the British and the iconic railway paths.

The route of the trail has been intricately crafted as a weaving thread, interconnecting numerous captivating and significant landmarks within the enchanting tapestry of Sri Lanka’s Tea Country, from Adam’s Peak to the Addisham Bungalow, from Lipton Seat to the Nine Arch Bridge. Given below are some more of the scenic highlights of Sri Lanka, that the Pekoe Trail offers.

  • Singamalai Lake
  • Pundaloya River
  • Kotmale River gorge
  • St Claire Waterfall
  • Castlereagh Lake
  • The Bogawantalawa ( the Golden Valley of Tea )
  • Devil’s Staircase
  • Thangamale Sanctuary
  • Ravana Falls
  • Ella Rock
  • Uma Oya
  • Sthripura Caves
  • Lover’s Leap fall
  • Uragala Mountain Range
  • Dumbara Valley
  • Chariot Path
  • Horton Plains

Apart from these spectacular highlights, there are some more attractions primarily related to the tea plantations. Notable ones are listed below.

  • Ceylon Tea Museum
  • Loolkandura Estate
  • James Taylor’s Cottage
  • James Taylor’s Seat
  • Udaweriya Tea Factory
  • Lipton Seat
  • Dickwella Tea Factory
  • Pedro Estate Tea Factory
  • Catherine’s Seat

What’s the ideal time to embark on the hike?

Traversing the Pekoe Trail in Sri Lanka’s Central Highlands unveils a journey through diverse landscapes, each touched by varying monsoon patterns. Despite occasional rain, mornings typically offer a drier window for exploration, ensuring a year-round weather conditions, certain sections of the trail may be temporarily closed to the public for safety reasons.

December through March stands out as the driest period across the Sri Lankan hills, offering respite from the usual rainfall. These months boast significantly lesser rainfall compared to the rest of the year. Additionally, the daily average temperatures tend to be cooler, especially in November, December, January and February. Interestingly, despite this hikers often favour June, July and August. During this time, gentle westward clouds meander across the hills, carried by the monsoon winds. Sunlight filters through these clouds, creating mesmerizing vistas of infinite green gradients across the tea estates below.

The trails can be done throughout the year but during May and June, and from September to December, Central Highlands receive a considerable amount of rain. It is not recommended to hike during this period. During this period, travellers are still welcome to walk the trails, however they should be extra cautious as there is a surge in leech activity! During the rainy season, there is a risk for landslides too. It is advisable to plan the hike taking the weather report of that area into account.

How to Get to the Pekoe Trail and Picking the right stage of the Trail

The stages of the Pekoe Trail are designed to be walked from point to point, enabling you to do several segments from one base. Within the hills, each main base offers a variety of trails to explore. Kandy provides access to 2 trails, while Hatton boasts around 4. Meanwhile, there are 3 trails in and around Nuwara Eliya, and an impressive 6 trails can be accessed from Haputale / Ella. These trails range from 9 km to 17 km, each presenting its own terrain challenges.

Understanding the landscapes becomes crucial when choosing the trail; some routes ascend continuously, some descend, while others involve both inclines and declines. Uphill trails are known for their difficulty, but by simply reversing the start and endpoints, they can be adjusted to moderate or easy levels. Understanding your fitness level should be prioritized to guarantee your comfort during the trail.

Since only the first two stages of the trail is open to the public, provided below is a comprehensive overview focusing solely on these stages.

The Pekoe Trail - Stage 1 :
Hanthana ⇌ Galaha

This is the very first stage of the Pekoe Trail from Hanthana to Galaha. This stage is currently open to the public. Signages are installed and the trail conditions are consistently under observation.

The trek is an easy-to-moderate walk.

The travellers can begin their trail at the Ceylon Tea Museum, a place that offers a captivating journey into the history and heritage of tea in Sri Lanka. Hikers can enjoy their walk through the shade of tall trees that line the roads of Hanthana Tea Estate, one of the largest and oldest tea plantations in Sri Lanka.

Key Points

  • Ceylon Tea Museum
  • Temple of The Tooth
  • Katusu Konda
  • Hanthana Tea Estate
  • Film site of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
  • Hanthana Mountain Range
  • Sri Maha Bodhi Maha Viharaya- Bahirawakanda Vihara Buddha Statue

The Pekoe Trail: Stage 2 :
Galaha ⇌ Loolkandura

This stage is currently open to the public. Signages are installed and the trail conditions are actively monitored.

The trek is a moderately challenging walk.

Hikers can embark on a calf-stretching hike in this stage. The trek is split into two parts; the initial trail spans from Galaha to Deltota, followed by the second stretch from Deltota to Loolkandura.

Trekkers begin their adventure in the picturesque town of Galaha, nestled among the hills of the central highlands, traversing the scenic Deltota Estate along estate roads, passing by an ancient kovil and navigating through mountainous terrain. Anticipate numerous bends and curves as you approach Deltota, a typical hillside town boasting a bustling market – a perfect spot to recharge with delicious fruits before continuing your journey.

Key Points

  • Deltota Estate
  • James Taylor’s seat
  • James Taylor’s Cottage
  • Konda Gala
  • Loolkandura Estate
  • Ambalammana Mountain Peak

Article by:
Ransadi de Alwis
22 Batch
Faculty of Engineering

244 0
Created : Feb 13, 2024 08:35pm
Last updated : Jul 18, 2024 01:50pm