The cool climes of Bandarawela
As the train chugs ruggedly, hugging the countryside you will be
overawed by the countryside. It is an unbelievable sight from whatever
side of the carriage you view this fantastic landscape. The train then
slowly pulls its way into the colonial Bandarawela station. This is as
far as the entrance to the city is concerned.
The town itself is rather small but vibrant and the chilly
surroundings give Bandarawela that extra cool which is difficult to be
found in any part of the world.
Bandarawela has one of the most invigorating climates in the island.
This climate coupled with its cool temperatures and lush green
surroundings is ideal as an eco-tourism destination. Bandarawela is
surrounded by many tea estates. The town itself is slightly elevated
from the rest of the area and is surrounded with hotels and guesthouses,
Municipal buildings and a sports ground. From the central train station,
a colonial remnant,the town slowly begins to unfold bringing Buddhist
temples, Christian churches, Hindu kovils and a newly renovated Muslim
mosque into sight.
Located a mere 45 kilometres southeast of the more famous town of
Nuwara Eliya, Bandarawela has set itself apart as a town, and has become
yet another "must-see"attraction for tourists both local and foreign.
The Bandarawela Hotel and Bandarawela Tennis Club are synonymous with
colonial Bandarawela. The hotel and the club are two living monuments to
an exotic past tied-up with the living spirit of the European tea
planters and Railway staff of the Bandarawela Railway station.
The Bandarawela Tennis Club without doubt is one of the oldest
surviving sports clubs in Sri Lanka. It ranks with Bandarawela Hotel,
the foremost top flight tradition-bound calling place of tourists,
seeking the peace and quiet of a hotel which is predominantly old
fashioned in its services and architecture.
The Bandarawela Hotel and Bandarawela Tennis Club began almost
together. The Sports club was first setup in 1897 but it was only in
1908 that some sports enthusiasts comprising European Tea Planters and
Railway staff from the Bandarawela Station requested a land lease to
kick start the Bandarawela Tennis Club, then known as the Railway Sports
Rather strange but true, it had only one tennis court and seats were
made of wooden railway sleepers. By 1930, there were two tennis courts
and a parody of modern times, a mud-walled building as the club premises
and perhaps pavilion.
By the 1930s the Bandarawela Hotel and Bandarawela Tennis Club were
twin attractions in Bandarawela. The hotel served as the radiating
centre for those who wished to see the ravishing natural beauty of Uva
and the remarkable historical artefacts of ancient Sri Lanka.
Bandarawela is a popular town in the Badulla district.