Imagine a painting of picturesque scenery with waterfalls, cold mist, clear blue water, grasslands and green forests – all the beauty found in one place. This painting can come to life if you include Mandaram Nuwara in your Sri Lanka itinerary. It is a mysterious village enveloped in magnificence, and a history dating back to King Ravana’s era.
The exquisite topographical formations of this misty city make it the ideal location to experience nature and its tranquility to the most. The basin of Mandaram Nuwara has never seen the first nor the last rays of sunshine as a result of its mountain locked location. Throughout the year, this village is protected with clouds that float over the eastern slopes of Mount Pidurutalagala – the tallest of its kind in Sri Lanka (8,294 feet above sea level).
Located in the Nuwara Eliya district, the basin of Mandaram Nuwara can be reached via Nuwara Eliya, or through Kandy – on the road taking you to Walapane. Once you reach Rikillagaskada, turn right just before you enter the town of Padiyapelalla. The route that takes you to Mandaram Nuwara is a hilly terrain that turns and twirls its way, leading you to views that mesmerize your eyes every inch of the way. And upon reaching the destination, we promise you will find enchanting backdrops like nowhere else on the island.
Mandaram Nuwara is located at the base of the Pidurutalagala Mountain, bordering the Pidurutalagala Forest Reserve. The village is surrounded by Pidurutalagala from the West and the Balagolla mountain ranges from the East. Because its geographical position is at a high altitude, Mandaram Nuwara sees a lot of rain throughout the year – as its name implies, in the Sinhalese language.
What to expect
At the crack of dawn, the air of this lovely village is filled with the high pitched sound of Hill Mynahs waking up the sleeping folk. Wild colorful flowers, including rare varieties of seasonal ground orchids, garland the grassland, along with cascading waterfalls and calm paddy fields, making the scenery simply breathtaking.
In addition to the flora, the jungle surrounding the village is packed with wildlife. Don’t be surprised if you spot the rare leopard, barking deer, swinging langurs or macaques.
About 2km from Mandaram Nuwara is the Kolapathana Ella waterfall, which is a second drop of the much larger Athinni Vatuna Ella.
Wildlife in Mandaram Nuwara
Village folk living here produce treacle and jaggery, which is extracted from the sap found in the ‘Kitul Palm’ flower. It is a common sight to see endemic Grey Hornbill building nests on dead Kitul Palm. Hornbills seem to be feeding chicks in the nests. The Yellow Fronted Barbet, Dusky Squirrel, and Wood Pigeon are also commonly spotted here. Dusky squirrel is a darker shade of the usual squirrels you would see across Sri Lanka. This is because, in Mandaram Nuwara, squirrels have acquired the darker tint to survive misty conditions in the hilly terrain. Three-toed Kingfishers and streak throated Woodpecker are a couple of other birds sometimes seen in this misty village.
When the sun sets, the cold air of the village is enveloped with loud croaks of amphibians and rattling of crickets that never seems to end. Roaming across the floors of the forest are armored Pangolins, Porcupines and Hares. Look over your head and you will see the Grey Flying Squirrel gliding across from tree to tree.
Some rare endemic species:
- From the snail genera varieties inhabiting the forest floor is the ‘Rawana Snail’. The shell of this snail can be uniquely identified because it has a thin fleshy margin and its distribution is very restricted.
- A highly camouflaged lizard is the Rhino Horned Lizard, only found in the central highlands but also seen in Mandaram Nuwara – particularly on tree trunks.
- Common Rough Sided Snake is a semi-burrowing non-venomous snake species found at the edge of the forest.
People of Mandaram Nuwara
Residents of Mandanam Nuwara are very simple, friendly and hospitable. Their warm gestures make visiting the village worthwhile. During your Sri Lanka tour, If you are looking for a trekking companion to count on for finding your way through the hills, honest local folk will be happy to help. There is a charming sense of integrity instilled in the people of this village, acquired from the pure surroundings they have been blessed with.
The village has a Buddhist Temple, around which most of the folk have made their homes. Paddy cultivation is their main cultivation while tea plantations are also seen in the hilly terrains here. In addition to paddy, other types of fruits and vegetables are also cultivated in the village of Mandaram Nuwara.