If you want to stay on the highest plateau of Sri Lanka with different climatic conditions, you have to go to Horton plains national park, 32 km away from Nuwara Eliya in the Nuwara Eliya District. It is a national park and is home to a number of unique biodiversity hotspots. The site was declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations on August 2, 2010. Prior to that, it was designated a National Reserve on 15 January 1969 and a National Park on 16 March 1988. This is a unique creation of nature, spanning 3,160 hectares between 6,900–7,500 feet above sea level. The annual rainfall is 2,000 mm. The average temperature here is around 12–13 C. But to your surprise, there are times when it drops to 5 C.
There are three main ways you can get to this place. One is the road from Nuwara Eliya through Ambewela. The other is the road from Talawakele to Agarapathana at Lindula Junction. The other is the road through Idalgashinna, Ohio. In addition, there is another route from the Balangoda Nandorial Estate.
This place was discovered by Sir Robert William Horton of the British Government during the period 1831–1837 AD and during a hunting trip in the Sabaragamuwa country. After the site was identified in 1886, it was renamed Horton Plains. But before that, environmentalists say, it was also referred to in documents as Maha Eliyathenna. It is said that people lived here in the distant past and there are also incidents related to the character of Ravana.
Best Time to Visit Horton Plains
The best time to visit this place is from January to March of the year as the weather is dry. There are several streams of water that flow from this plain. Chandrika Wewa, Belihuloya, Agraoya, Uma Oya and Bogawantala Oya. The journey itself is fully pedestrian, so the security forces check the polythene and plastic bags so that they cannot be carried in at Horton Plains. It is also forbidden to bring video cameras, radios, cameras, etc. into it. This is done due to the damage caused to the wildlife by the noise of tourists, certain light rays, etc.
According to research conducted in 1992, there are about 101 species of plants here. 49 of them are endemic to Sri Lanka. What is special is that most of them are unique to Horton Plains. That is, the number of plants per hectare is 2.861. Currently, 98 species of birds, 14 species of mammals, 16-20 species of amphibians, and 40 species of butterflies have been identified.