Dunhinda waterfall falling down over the rocky terrains at Badulla, the Wonderful Mountain Town in Sri Lanka
Dunhinda Waterfall at Badulla, the Wonderful Mountain Town in Sri Lanka

If you are a passionate traveler, then Sri Lanka should be on your bucket list already. Yes, this paradise island is famous for its jaw-dropping natural sceneries. Also, this whole country is basically rich with marvelous tourist destinations. In fact, there’s a destination for any type of tourist in Sri Lanka. So, if you are a mountain person, then you shouldn’t miss Sri Lanka’s hill country. In the country’s mountainous region also, there are many places to visit. Among them, Badulla is a very interesting area that you will fall in love with instantly. It is the capital city of the Uva province, and also one of the largest cities in the area. However, Badulla is popular in the country due to its close proximity to several tourist destinations in the lower central hills of Sri Lanka. So, here’s all you need to know about Badulla.

What are the Best Places to Visit in Badulla?

Many local and foreign tourists find Badulla to be a destination that is so worth exploring. The natural beauty of the mountainous region along with the greenery is just out of this world!

So, here are some locations that you should absolutely try, during your visit to Badulla.

  1. Dunhinda Falls
  2. Demodara Station
  3. Muthiyanganaya Temple
  4. Old Welekada Market
  5. Bogoda Ancient Wooden Bridge
  6. Halpewatte Tea Factory
  7. Dhowa Rock Temple
  8. Fox Hill
  9. Wewassa Ella Waterfall
  10. St. Mark’s Church
  11. Peessa Ella
  12. Idalgashinna
  13. Bambarakanda Waterfall
  14. Ella

Continue reading to know more about these places!

1. Dunhinda Falls

Dunhinda Falls is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful waterfalls and also one of the most popular waterfalls in the country. It is not that much of a tall waterfall but the width adds so much magnificence to it. Dunhinda Falls stands majestically close to Badulla hidden away in a jungle. However, in order to see the lovely waterfall, you have to take a small hike through the jungle. It will be an exciting experience to go sightseeing through the jungle and then relax a bit enjoying the beauty of the Dunhinda Falls.

The Badulu river which flows amidst Badulla city forms this waterfall. The name of this waterfall is very interesting. The word ‘Dunhinda’ is the Sinhala term for vapor. It got this name because this 63 meters tall waterfall looks smoky due to the vapors.

The way to the waterfall is also very beautiful as you will be able to enjoy a diversity of flora and fauna on your way. Besides, you have to cross a suspended bridge on your way to Dunhinda Falls.

Apart from that, there are mentions of Dunhinda Falls in several legendary and historical stories as well. For instance, there are beliefs that the area around Dunhinda Falls was once inhabited by Veddas, the Sri Lankan indigenous community.

During the rainy season, from November to March, the waterfall looks its best. But considering the route to the waterfall, it is better if you can visit in the months of June and July to get the best experience. Dunhinda falls is located just 3 kilometers away from Badulla city.

2. Demodara Station

The railway station in Demodara is the third last railway station on the main railway line from Colombo to Badulla. It was built in 1923 and is very popular as a tourist destination among local and foreign tourists.

However, the Demodara loop is what receives the most attention as it is simply a marvel of ancient civil engineering. In the Demodara loop, the railway track passes under itself when going around the mountain. This loop is the only one of its kind on worldwide railway lines. This wonderful construction of the Sri Lankan railway is actually a sight to see.

Besides, there’s an interesting story behind this construction. Sri Lanka’s reputed engineer, Devapura Jayasena Wimalasurendra built the railway line with the help of a farmer’s suggestion to build it in the way a turban is tied.

Moreover, the Demodara railway station is a small colonial-type architectural building. This small building is located amidst beautiful surroundings. Furthermore, there’s a spectacular view of the railway loop from the railway station.

There is also a small replica of the station and the loop in the station from which you can get an idea of the loop. It will be a fun experience to trek through the railway line. And also you will be able to take some iconic photographs on the way with the Demodara greenery as your background.

Then also, don’t forget to take a train ride as well. The official website of the Sri Lankan Railways will help you to check the train schedule before your visit. It will take around 15 minutes to reach Demodara from Ella by train.

3. Muthiyangana Temple

If you love visiting religious places, then there’s a majestic Buddhist temple in the middle of Badulla city. It is a popular Buddhist center in the country as its history dates back to the 5th century BC. It is also one of the sixteen sacred Buddhist temples of Sri Lanka and is known as the Muthiyangana Temple.

As you may already know, the Lord Buddha visited Sri Lanka after the eighth year of attaining Nirvana. During this visit, he along with 500 Arhats visited Kelaniya and then paid a visit to Badulla. During this visit, he gave sermons in the land where the Muthiyangana stupa is located now. Accordingly, Deva King Indaka built the stupa enshrining the hair and ‘mukthaka dathu’ of the Lord Buddha. Then, there are stories on how the Muthiyangana temple has affiliations with the Indian epic, Ramayana as well.

There are several interesting features of the Muthiyangana temple. First, the thorana at the entrance of the temples is a structure that consists of six levels. It portrays the majesty of the site from the very beginning.

Besides, in the Muthiyangana temple, there are two such image houses. These image houses with ancient paintings are a common feature in this Buddhist temple. There are two statues of Indaka and Maitreya Bodhisattva in these image houses.

However, the most interesting feature of the temple site is the huge stupa with a diameter of 270 feet and a height of 65 feet. Furthermore, there are four sacred Bo trees in the temple complex.

Try to avoid visiting the temple on Poya days as it gets high crowds on Poya days.

4. Old Welekade Market

This is an eye-catching location situated in the middle of the busy Badulla city. The colonial-style building stands out as a unique structure in this city of charms.

The British built this historic building in 1889. At that time, it was used as a commercial trade center. It is also famous as the Dutch market as it carries certain features of Dutch architecture as well. However, the British architectural features dominate the structure.

Old Welekade market is conserved by the Department of Archeology as it is identified as a historically and archaeologically important site. It was designated as such on the 6th of June 2008 under a government gazette. There is also a belief that this is the first public building in the Uva province and the first autonomous market in Sri Lanka.

The structure of the Welekade market takes the shape of a cross. There is also an open space in the middle ground and it is in the shape of an octagon. Further, there are four corridors connecting to this open space. There are wooden pillars supporting the roof and Sinhala clay tiles cover the roof.

This historical building is in close vicinity to the Badulla general hospital on the Badulla-Bandarawela main road.

5. Bogoda Ancient Wooden Bridge

Here’s another historic and extraordinary structure situated very close to Badulla. Bogoda bridge is the oldest wooden bridge in Sri Lanka. According to historical records, this was built in the era of the Dambadeniya Kingdom (1220-1345 AD).

The roof is the most significant feature of the bridge. However, the tiles of the roof have shades of the Kandyan era. Besides, this bridge was initially built only using wood such as Jackfruit logs, Kumbuk logs, Kaluwara timber, and Milla timber. But later, it was repaired with the use of iron nails for its protection. Also, the Archeological Department considers Bogoda’s ancient wooden bridge as a heritage site.

In addition to the bridge, there is an ancient temple right next to the wooden bridge. This Bogoda Raja Maha viharaya is an ancient cave temple. There is an image house in this temple and it is in a natural rock cave.

King Walagamba built this temple in the 1st century BC but the building that you can see today on the premises belongs to the Kandyan era. Furthermore, there is also a tunnel there that connects with a tunnel at the Dowa Raja Maha viharaya on the main Badulla-Bandarawela road.

Bogoda wooden bridge has a distance of around 19 kilometers from Badulla. The closest town to this ancient site is Hali Ela.

6. Halpewatte Tea Factory

Ceylon tea is one of the most reputed brands that Sri Lanka has ever produced. With regard, Badulla holds a special place, as it is known for high-quality tea.

If you have ever tasted a cup of Ceylon tea, obviously you will get curious about how Sri Lanka produces such fine tea. If so, you don’t have to be curious anymore, because you can simply pay a visit to the Halpewatte tea factory while you are in Badulla.

Uva Halpewatte tea factory got popular as a tourist attraction because it allows visitors to visit this factory to get a descriptive idea about the tea production there. Further, this tea factory is situated 1230 meters above sea level in very attractive surroundings. So, this huge tea factory situated amidst the lush greenery is such a breathtaking sight.

You can get a step-by-step guide on tea manufacturing with information from professionals in the Halpewatte tea factory. Furthermore, you will be taken on a tour around the tea estate. It will be a refreshing experience for you to walk around a well-kept tea estate.

And then, your trip to Sri Lanka’s one of the finest tea factories will be incomplete without tasting a cup of Ceylon tea. So, you will be able to taste different types of tea in tea tasting sessions at the factory. There is also a small cafe in the factory where you can taste fresh tea and other delicious snacks as well.

Uva Halpewatte tea factory is located just a few distances away from the Halpe temple. The distance from Badulla to the Halpewatte tea factory is just 20 kilometers.

7. Dhowa Rock Temple

Dhowa rock temple is probably the most famous Buddhist temple situated in the Badulla district. It is one of the iconic and unique religious sites in Sri Lanka.

Dhowa Raja Maha Viharaya is also considered a heritage of the country. According to history, it was built by King Walagamba during the 1st century BC. There are several mysterious and legendary stories related to the Dhowa temple. Furthermore, there are many striking and unique features of the Dhowa temple.

However, its most unique feature is the unfinished image of Buddha which is carved into the rock wall. The height of this Buddha image is 38 feet. Apart from that, the temple is also the starting point of an 11 kilometers long tunnel which is believed to be guarded by a cobra. No one is allowed to enter the tunnel today.

There’s an image house in the Dhowa temple which consists of three chambers. There are ancient and colorful sculptures and images related to Buddhism in these chambers. Besides, there is a belief that King Walagamba himself started creating these paintings at the temple. There is also a small stupa and a Bo tree at the temple premises.

So, if you are into religious and historical locations, then the Dhowa rock temple is a must-visit in the Badulla district. It is situated in Dhowa which is on Badulla-Bandarawela main road about 22 kilometers away from Badulla.

8. Fox Hill

Fox Hill is the most popular name among the racing community of Sri Lanka. It is a small but beautiful hilltop located in Diyatalawa. The significance of Fox Hill is that it is the venue of the famous Fox Hill supercross event. This is the highlight of the racing events held in Sri Lanka and it is an annual event that usually takes place in the month of April.

There’s an interesting story on how Fox Hill got its name. Accordingly, the British kept many of their prisoners in the Diyatalawa area during the Boer war in South Africa which happened between Great Britain and Dutch colonists. They were taken to Sri Lanka from a ship named “HMS FOX’. The captain and the crew of the ship displayed the Ship’s insignia on a hillock in Diyatalawa and ever since it is known as Fox Hill.

The Sri Lanka military academy built and maintains the Fox Hill Supercross track in this hillock. This motocross event was launched by the military academy in 1993. Over time, it has become the most happening event of the year in the Badulla district. Fans from around Sri Lanka visit Diyatalawa during the month of April to see the event. The best racers in the country participate in the event. Apart from that, the military uses the hillock for their training purposes as well.

You can also visit the Fox Hill supercross event in April or else plan a peaceful visit to the beautiful hillock at any other time of the year. It is situated around 36 kilometers away from Badulla city.

9. Wewassa Ella Waterfall

Sri Lankan hill country is known for the gorgeous waterfalls flowing down from green mountains. Wewassa Ella waterfall is one such beautiful waterfall in the Badulla district which is a tributary of the Badulu Oya.

Wewassa Ella Falls is 22 meters in height. Unfortunately, due to illegal logging and deforestation, Wewassa Ella is only visible during the rainy season. However, the waterfall is just drop-dead gorgeous during the monsoonal period.

The authorities are taking necessary actions to protect the surrounding forests of the area in order to conserve the waterfall. Anyway, this is one of the most beautiful spots to visit in the Badulla district. Still, make sure to visit it during the rainy season to get the best view.

This waterfall is situated between Passara and Badulla, just 10 kilometers away from Badulla to be specific.

10. St. Mark’s Church

St. Mark’s church is an Anglican church in Badulla. If you love visiting religious places, then this is certainly a must-visit destination in Badulla.

Bishop James Chapman consecrated this church in Badulla on the 25th of April, 1857. Therefore, it is also one of the oldest churches in the area. Rev. E. Mooyart was the first vicar at the church. The most significant feature of the church is the plaque inside the church. That honors Major Rogers, an elephant hunter, who faced death following a flash of lightning. His gravestone is in Nuwara Eliya and there is a belief that his gravestone also has been struck by lightning numerous times. Many visit the church to see this exhibit of the plaque.

The Department of Archaeology identified the bell tower and the church of St. Mark’s church to be protected monuments in 2008. However, the old colonial church is a small building but such a fascinating sight. The historical stories behind this church make it much more interesting.

St. Mark’s church is located in the central ward of the Badulla municipal council. In fact, this is at the junction of the Mahiyangana-Badulla main road.

11. Peessa Ella

This is another beautiful waterfall in the Badulla district. And yes, owing to its beauty, this 45 meters tall waterfall is a major tourist attraction in the area.

It also goes by the name, Morahela Falls. An aquifer that is at the top of the Lunugala mountain creates this wonderful cascade of water. Unlike some of the other waterfalls in the area, Peessa Ella is a year-round waterfall. During the monsoonal season, the waterfall flows in two streams.

Besides, there are some historical stories related to Peessa Ella. One such story is that King Dutugamunu gathered workmen to work in the Buddhist religious sites close to the Peessa Ella.

However, the nearest major cities to this waterfall are Passara and Lunugala. There is a distance of around 10 kilometers to the waterfall from Passara towards the Bibile town. Moreover, the distance between Peessa Ella and Badulla town is approximately 40 kilometers.

12. Idalgashinna

Idalgashinna is getting increasingly popular as a major tourist hotspot in the Badulla area. To be specific, Idalgashinna receives so much recognition as a social media sensation.

As you may already know, Idalgashinna railway station is the most picturesque railway station on the upcountry railway. The small colonial-style building of the railway station that is located at a very high altitude above sea level is a major aspect that creates this beauty. It is actually a picture-perfect location amidst the beautiful natural backdrop. Further, the significance of this railway station is that the rainwater which falls on the roof of the station falls into the Mahaweli river from one side and to the Walawe river on the other side.

There are tea-clad mountains around the station and there’s often a foggy atmosphere there. However, this is an ideal area to have a walk around. This walking trail is indeed suitable for any type of tourist. Furthermore, there are several spots in the Idalgashinna hills that are appropriate for camping. Still, if you want to hike by rail, it is important to take permission from the railway department beforehand.

So, after all, if you are into natural destinations and hiking, then Idalgashinna will be a beautiful memory of your tour in Badulla. Idalgashinna has a distance of around 44 kilometers from Badulla. The easiest way to reach Idalgashinna is by train.

13. Bambarakanda Waterfall

This is one of the most important waterfalls among all the waterfalls in Sri Lanka as it is the tallest waterfall in the country. It also takes 299th place among the highest waterfalls in the world.

The height of this waterfall is 263 meters. Bambarakanda waterfall falls magically down from the Horton Plains mountains.

The surrounding area of the waterfall is also such a delight to see. You have to go through a mountainous track through a pinus forest to see the waterfall where you will be able to see mountainous views that are absolutely out of this world. However, there is a well-maintained path to the waterfall. So, it would be a moderately easy trek to the waterfall, which covers around 5 kilometers from the main road.

If you are a passionate hiker, you can also take a hike to the top of the waterfall. The route is about 1.6 kilometers and it will take about 1.5 hours to finish. It is better to avoid the rainy season when visiting this destination as the trail can get quite hard. Therefore, the best time to visit the waterfall is from April to September when the weather is perfect to enjoy the views and go on the hike.

Bambarakanda waterfall stands majestically in the Kalupahana area in the Badulla district. It is around 61 kilometers away from Badulla city.

14. Ella

If you were interested in a trip to Sri Lanka and searched about it, you may have already heard about Ella. It is one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in the country. So, if you are visiting Sri Lanka, then Ella is an absolute must-visit in the country.

There are so many amazing things about Ella. From lush green mountains to epic waterfalls, Ella has it all. In fact, Ella is one destination where you can see many tourist attractions within close proximity. Some such tourist attractions that you shouldn’t miss while you are in Ella are Ravana Falls, the Nine Arch bridge, Mini Adam’s peak, and Diyaluma Falls. Apart from that, exploring the small town of Ella would be a refreshing experience as well.

Don’t forget to bring your camera when visiting Ella because there are mesmerizing sights literally everywhere. Obviously, the photos in such a picturesque setting will earn you the most engagement on any sort of social media.

Besides, when you are visiting Ella, make sure to spare a few days to spend there as you won’t be able to cover all the amazing things about Ella in one day. Then, if you are wondering about the accommodation facilities, there’s nothing to worry about as there are so many hotels with such a vast range in this tourist paradise. Ella is generally a year-round destination. It has a distance of around 30 kilometers from Badulla city.

How to Reach Badulla?

Most of the travelers make Colombo – the commercial capital of Sri Lanka, their central point of travel. So, if you are traveling to Badulla from Colombo, the most recommended option would be traveling by train. You can take the train to Badulla from the Colombo Fort railway station. It will take around 10 hours but this train ride will be an epic experience for sure.

Then, you can also travel by bus. Accordingly, if you are planning to travel by bus, you can take a bus to Badulla from the Colombo Bastian Mawatha bus terminal. This journey will take around 5 hours. However, if you don’t prefer public transportation, you can arrange a private vehicle or a drive from the airport itself as well.

Then if you are coming from Kandy, it is better if you can travel by train because this train route is one of the most beautiful journeys that you can take in Sri Lanka. This journey will take around 7 hours. From Kandy also, you can take a bus to Badulla from the Kandy Good shed bus station. It will be convenient to arrange a private vehicle or a taxi to Badulla from Kandy as well.

Weather and Climate in Badulla

Badulla is famous for its soothing climate all year around. Generally, March to May is the hottest season for Badulla while November to January is the coldest. Its usual temperature ranges around 30.9°C and sometimes the temperature even drops to 19°C at night.

Badulla receives moderate rainfall occasionally throughout the year but it receives the most rainfall during the month of November. July is where Badulla receives the least rainfall. Anyhow, there’s comfortable weather in the Badulla district for the most part of the year.

The Best Time to Visit Badulla

Many local and foreign tourists visit Badulla all throughout the year. Still, considering the climate and weather conditions, January, July, and August are the best months to visit Badulla.

There are many tourists in the tourist attractions in the area during these months. So, if you are looking for a more hassle-free traveling experience, you can also plan your trip to Badulla in the off-season. Still, make sure to check the weather conditions beforehand, if you do so.

The Bottom Line

After all, you will be missing out a lot if you don’t visit Badulla during your stay in Sri Lanka. So, do you need any more reasons to plan your trip to Badulla right away?

Simply, Badulla will add so many refreshing memories to your Sri Lankan vacation. The alluring greenery there that covers the mountains coupled with the wonderful waterfalls, the ancient and religious sites, as well as the soothing climate out there, are simple promises that would magnify the delight of your trip. On the other hand, you will be able to visit many iconic destinations within a short period of time while you are in Badulla. So, what are you waiting for? Here is your chance to plan an unforgettable trip to the charming mountain town in Sri Lanka, Badulla. Happy and safe traveling!