Driving up the hills from Ratnapura.
Further along the drive
Adisham, in the afternoon light
Dawn breaks on the forest
The road up to Lipton's Seat
The view of the valley, partway along the route to Lipton's Seat.
Adisham, in the afternoon light.
The headstone on W.S. Senior's grave
Haputale has some stunning scenery, about the best there is in the country, equalled only by the scenery in the Knuckles mountain range. Fortunately it to too far off the main tourist trail to become as despoiled as Nuwara Eliya. It has deteriorated in the twelve years since I first visited, especially on the road up to Adisham where part of the forest has been felled and two ugly hotels and a number of small guest houses have mushroomed.
The ruthlessness with which any opportunity for a quick profit will be exploited by Sri Lankan's needs to be seen to be believed. Endemic corruption ensures that the few building, environmental and safety regulations can be ignored and one finds spindly, ugly buildings clinging to hillsides offering board and lodging or refreshments. Why this entrepreneurial spirit cannot be channelled more productively is a mystery. Some of the hills were being logged heavily, with backhoes and other equipment leaving great bare patches on the hills. It is no wonder that with the heavy rains there are frequent landslides in the hill country.
Despite the best efforts of the rent-seekers, there is much beauty to behold and it is easy to see what captivated Sir Thomas Villiers, who built Adisham at a particularly stunning spot and Walter Stanley Senior.
Senior's love of the place was such that although he retired to England his ashes were interred at the churchyard of St Andrews, Haputale. The inscription on the headstone, taken from his own poem Lanka from Pidurutalagala reads:
Here I stand in spirit,
as in body once I stood Long years ago,
in love with all the land,
This peerless land of beauty’s plenitude
Followed by the words:
He Loved Ceylon
A fitting tribute to the craggy, smoky mountains and deep valleys. The rolling mist, which descends suddenly, together with the sparkling sunshine is a photographers (or painters) delight, possibly even worthy of Turner.
There is little do do in Haputale except breathe the crisp clean air and enjoy the magnificent scenery. An ideal place for solitude, which is probably why the Benedictine Monks turned Adisham into a monastery.
Large groups of noisy tourists please go away.