Inland (Hill country) Sri Lankar
Trip Start Apr 30, 2006
59Trip End Mar 25, 2007
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After touring Yala National Park, for the next week we basically tea-town hopped, visiting various cities that revolve around the tea industry. The tea industry was brought to Sri Lanka after the British took Sri Lanka as its colony in 1818. Coffee was originally the main crop (tea and rubber second and third), but after coffee became susceptible to a local pest, the farmers started cultivating tea as the primary cash crop
The hill country tea plantations have a much deeper history than simply providing a nice afternoon pick-me-up. In the 1800's the Sinhalese would not work in the British-owned plantations so the British brought over lower-caste Tamils from south India as "Indentured Laborers." They, of course, were slaves living in line rooms (resembling modern day cattle sheds) and, because of the immigration, the Tamils soon made up 10% of the Sri Lankan population. Many Sinhalese say there would not be a civil war today if the British would not have taken these people from India to Sri Lanka.
After the tea towns of Ella, Haputale and Nuwara Eliya, we concluded our hill country trip with the city of Kandy. Within and around Kandy we saw an incredible elephant orphanage, important Buddhist temples and the reminisce of old colonial life at its best. Sri Lanka is incredible and the hill country is equally as beautiful as the beaches.