Bandarawela is a British colonial era town in the Central Highlands. At that period it was highly popular due to having the most ‘perfect and healthiest’ weather in Sri Lanka. But after the colonials left the popularity of the town waned until recent years. The past few years have transitioned the failing community of the town into a tourists haven.
There are not many attractions within the Bandarawela area itself; however its proximity to places such as Ella and Nuwara Eliya have made it a great place to stay that is quieter, and hence more attractive. This has led to a large amount of hotels and cottages. However, the main portion of income for the locals is provided through farming vegetables and tea plantations.
Here’s a list of of noteworthy attractions in Bandarawela:
The Dowa Rock Temple has 6km east of the town. It is identifiable by the 4m tall standing Buddha cut into the rockface. The temple is believed to date back to the 1st century BC; when the King Valagamba took refuge in the monastery that was here, after his exile from the Kingdom of Anuradhapura. The temple can still be seen in a series of caves adjacent to the standing Buddha. It’s believed that there was a secret underground tunnel within the shrine, that lead to Kandy.
The church was built in 1908 by the British priest Rev. W J P Waltham. It was extended in 1936 and 1938; when the belfry, vestry and side chapel were added. The church came into full use during World War II, when the rich and powerful citizens of Colombo temporarily moved to Bandarawela due to a bomb scare. Today its ancient stones stand as a symbol ascetic beauty.