26 Nov 2020

Hike to Little Adam’s Peak and Nine Arches Bridge in Ella

Up in the highlands of Sri Lanka, tucked in amidst the verdant tea gardens is the panoramic Ella, the top tourist destination of the island nation.

I must confess the best two highlights in the mountain village of Ella is the insta-favorite 30-meter high Demodara Nine Arch Bridge and hike up to the summit of Little Adam’s Peak.

The best thing is; in 5 hours of loop time, you can hike both the spots from the countryside of Ella town. 7 am is the sweet time to hit the Sri Lankan countryside for a scenic hike to the summit of Adam’s Peak first. With an elevation of approx. 1150 m above the sea level, the fifth tallest mountain of Sri Lanka draws its name from the sacred Adam’s Peak which is also known as Sri Pada where the footprint of Lord Buddha is preserved. The close similarity also gives the little Adam’s Peak it’s the local name; “Punchi Sri Pada”. Keep your camera shutter wide open as you can’t afford to lose the best of the peak; that’s the hike. Walkthrough the running cascades, lush green tea plantation, and the blooming paddy fields. The entire up and down hike takes two hours. It’s amusing to have your breakfast at the base of Little Adam’s Peak or the packed one under the open sky on the trailhead.

Then I hiked down cross-country through some woods to reach the Nine Arches rail Viaduct to Demodara. A colonial-era stationhouse still presides over a looping track. A walk along the railroad passing over the bridge is an experience of a lifetime. This incredible Arches bridge is entirely built from stone, bricks, and cement. Surprising no steel! Lack of steel caused by World War I made this bridge exemplary structural integrity. P. K. Appuhami, a local Ceylonese builder in consultation with British engineers, is the man behind this masterpiece. Also known as the “Bridge in the sky” is one of the best examples of colonial-era railway construction in the island nation. For an extra special moment do check the train time tables to match your visit. This bridge looks fabulous when passing by train carriages’ rhythmic clackety-clack of the wheels mesmerizes the curious shutterbugs. Here is a tip for you! Try standing on the other side of the bridge across the tunnel. The plantation below you will make a perfect picture with the bridge and the tunnel sitting at a distance.

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