Ella: The Land of Trails & New Adventures

Ella was my last destination in the country of Sri Lanka. I hadn’t had the chance to take a proper train journey in Sri Lanka yet.So I decided to book an overnight train ticket from Colombo to Ella, with the help of a local friend. I had underestimated the might of Sri Lankan weather as I stepped onto the train. The temperature started to drop as the train passed through the magnificent valleys. Those felt like the longest twelve hours of my entire trip.

I checked into my hostel, which was located just 100 meters away from the Railway station. Although I was feeling sleep-deprived, I didn’t have the time to get some rest as there was a long day ahead of me. I met two German travellers at the hostel and we decided to wander around the city together.

Ella is a small town situated at a distance of about 200 km’s away from the city of Colombo. Ella lies at the heart of the country and is famous for its trekking adventures. A few of the most famous trails include the Little Adam’s Peak, Ella’s Rock, Ravana Ella Falls, Demodara Nine Arch Bridge, tohikemanyRavana’s Cave, etc. The town was full of trekkers feeling at home with their backpacks on and their maps held high. The town felt like a pilgrimage for backpackers. I had just a day in hand to explore Ella. I wanted to hike many trails but I decided to visit the Ella’s Rock and Demodara Nine Arch Bridge.

Demodara Nine Arch Bridge:

One of the most iconic bridges in Sri Lanka, the Demodara Nine Arch Bridge is also one of the oldest heritage structures in the country. Located in between Ella and Demodara station, the bridge is 96 ft tall and is built entirely out of rocks. My friends and I walked for about half a mile to get to the bridge and take some beautiful pictures of trains passing the bridge. We missed the first train and had to wait for another hour for the next train to pass by. It was a memorable sight; totally worth waiting for. If you do visit this town, the Demodara Nine Arch Bridge would be is must visit. Just remember to check the train timings in advance.

Ella’s Rock:

One of the most famous trekking trails in Sri Lanka is the Ella’s Rock.The trek’s importance can be observed by the fact that the city itself is named after it. After the Demodara Bridge, we headed directly towards the Ella’s Rock. We had been warned in advance about the complexity of the trail but were reassured by the fact that all the hard work would be worth it. The 8 kilometre long walk started picking up gently as it leads to a vertical slope. The trail was confusing as there weren’t many sign boards set up to keep the trekkers on the right path.Since a lot of people were there on the same trek, I t was easy to ask for directions from the travellers who were on their way back down.

The first few kilometres were effortless to cover as there wasn’t much of a slope.As we kept walking, the trail started pushing us to our limits. This may sound dramatic but our physical, as well as mental strengths, were challenged multiple times throughout the trek. But looking back at the beautiful scenic beauty of the trail, everything felt worth the trouble. I kept reminding myself that this was what I had come to Ella for… and that I wouldn’t give up no matter how long it took for me to finish the hike. It took me a little longer than the others in my group but we were finally on top of the Ella’s Rock after a tedious 3-hour trek. Sitting on the edge of the rock, looking at the countless mountains just made the end of my trip perfect. Moments like these make me want to travel more and more.The more I achieve, the more my thirst to see and learn new things increases.

My friends and some new people we had met along the trail, decided to celebrate our successful hike with a delightful dinner and some chilled beer at a local bar. The temperature that evening was low and we found a bonfire to sit around, singing local songs, sharing our stories and sipping on our beers. This was another one of those experiences which are worth travelling for.They make you feel complete. The feeling is difficult to describe in words…so you’ll need to feel it know what I am talking about!

Other than these two trails, there are many other places in or around Ella, which should definitely be on your to-do list. Due to time restrictions, I couldn’t make it all of them but given a chance again I would love to visit all the trails someday.

Overall, my Sri Lanka trip was a huge success.I shall cherish all the memories I made with the new friends I found in the beautiful land. I hope my adventure series in Sri Lanka helped inspire you to travel to want to wander the world, just like I do! Feel free to share your thoughts, articles, any helpful information you might have on Travelling to Sri Lanka. Thank you for reading!

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