Lipton’s Seat is the favored viewpoint of Sir Thomas Lipton who created extensive tea plantations in the hills of Sri Lanka. Located slightly off Haputale town, this attraction is popular amongst road trippers in search of a Mountain View holiday. Marking the launch of tea exports from Sri Lanka, this historic landmark provides breathtaking views before 9.00 am on most clear mornings.
The creation of the landmark
During the British era in Sri Lanka, Sir Thomas Lipton, a Scottish businessman, liked to relax with a cup of tea and happily observe the landscapes he had taken over. There was one particular spot that gave him a complete picture of the hills and that spot is how the story of Lipton’s Seat came into being. Lipton’s endeavors in Sri Lanka began in the late 1800s – purchasing tea plantations and arranging for Tamil Indian workers to grow and manufacture tea on them. His brand of tea was known as Lipton Ceylonta – which soon became internationally renowned. Even today, the tea from Lipton’s Dambatenna Estate reaches countries across the world.
Haputale is one of the best places to be for a picturesque and peaceful holiday. Fresh air, rolling hills, green plains, beautiful mountain ranges – all this is quite mind-blowing. And if you are a photographer, you definitely won’t stop clicking and clicking and clicking until your camera is out of film/memory!
When you get to the actual point of Lipton’s Seat you will see a statue of Thomas Lipton seated on a bench with a cup of tea in his hand! Selfie addicts are going to enjoy this one for sure! If you reach here early morning, you have a splendid view of the southern, central and eastern provinces of Sri Lanka on a clear day. By 10 am the clouds will start rolling in and all you can see will be just a big white space.
Dambatenne Tea Estate is where Lipton’s Seat is located and this tea plantation is home to a large community of Tamils mostly who migrated from South India as workers for Lipton’s plantation. This community had a tough time gaining a status. For decades India and Sri Lanka denied their citizenship but in the late 1990s, Sri Lanka finally welcomed them as citizens.
Around the morning hours at Lipton’s Seat, you will see children of these Tamil families heading to school in uniform while the women gear up in their tea-plucking attire and head off to the hedges for work. A Kovil is placed on the quiet area of the estate – for serving the Hindu Tamils of the community.
To get to Lipton’s Seat, you first need to travel to Haputale, which is about six hours from Colombo. From Haputale, it’s a journey up a narrow road – a service usually offered by tuk-tuks in the area. You could either drive up to the top or wander on foot through the lush green tea estates whilst enjoying cool mountain breeze and the increasingly beautiful view of the plantations, climaxing with the best panorama at the summit. It is advisable to reach this viewpoint by 8am so that you are able to enjoy the views before the fog creates obstruction.
When in Haputale
Apart from absorbing the scenic beauty in Haputale, you could schedule a visit to the Dambatenna Tea Factory. The lawn is decorated with some pretty hill country flowers and as you enter the actual working arena, you might feel like you are watching a film from the 1980s. For a small fee, the staff, dressed in ancient costumes, will show you around all the machinery and explain everything there is to know about the tea manufacturing process. While you are here, be prepared to inhale strong aromas of tea!
Another interesting activity on your holiday itinerary is to schedule an early morning hike with a nature guide from your hotel – wander through the hills, look out for unique flora and fauna, and take in more of that stunning beauty.
Get to Lipton’s Seat at sunrise and enjoy a magical sunrise experience.