6 Degrees Celsius in Nuwara Eliya


February 2017| 88 views

The white sheen of frost on the race course

The white sheen of frost on the race course

The early morning wind chilled us as we searched for the frosty greens of Nuwara Eliya.

Words Udeshi Amarasinghe
Photographs Menaka Aravinda and Vishwa Tharmakulasingham

Frost just beginning to melt on a dandelion

Frost just beginning to melt on a dandelion

It was 5.30 in the morning and 7 degrees Celsius; the sun was yet to rise. We covered ourselves with layers of wool to warm us from the freezing cold and like adventurers set forth braving the weather to find frost in this hill town.

As Sri Lanka is a tropical country, wintery weather that is experienced by Western countries isn’t a common thing here. However, during the months of December and January Nuwara Eliya becomes exceptionally cold and frost can be seen in the early morning light. We headed to the Nuwara Eliya Turf Club where the glistening frost was just visible. Walking towards the racing tracks we were thrilled to see the white sheen of frost. But what was more surprising to us was that though the sun had started to rise, the temperature had dropped further to 6 degrees Celsius. Our faces became cold and fingers numb, but the beauty of the wintery morning was breathtaking.

The racing track was like a white carpet with a peppering of greenery. Horses were nibbling on the grass in the centre plain, obliviousto the freezing temperature. As the sun continued to rise the frozen water particles became more visible. A plant with a fluffy appearance fluttered in the breeze, with no frost at all. Yet, a fallen branch was covered in snowy white frost that looked almost like a beard. We walked farther on indulging in the beautiful landscape.

The frost on a dandelion had already started to melt, thus a decision was taken to venture onwards to higher altitudes to see whether there was more frost to see. We reached a consensus and decided to travel to Moonplains just a short distance away from the Nuwara Eliya town.

A watchful horse seems oblivious to the cold

A watchful horse seems oblivious to the cold

Along hilly roads we drove our eyes scanning the wide spaces for any signs of frost. It was almost seven in the morning and the frost that had been there was soon becoming droplets of water. Yet, at random we spotted small plants that were shaded from the sun having a glint of frost just visible. We lost our way, but were soon on the right path and journeyed on awed by the scenery of the Nuwara Eliya hills.

The 360-degree view from atop Moonplains was captivating. On one side was Uva, while on the other was the Central Province. By now the frost had transformed into droplets of water as the sun had reached its position in the sky.

A herd of wild buffaloa were grazing peacefully while two playful wild boars disturbed their calm reverie. The green carpet bordered by the evergreen forests were resplendent. A small herd of sambar darted into the thicket on our approach while the male with a grown set of antlers stood on alert.

The 360-degree view from atop Moonplains was captivating. On one side was Uva, while on the other was the Central Province. By now the frost had transformed into droplets of water as the sun had reached its position in the sky and the temperature was already 17 degrees Celsius. We had the entire summit to ourselves and thus experienced the allure of the untouched beauty of these magnificent hills.

Our search for frost had come to an end… But our experience was one worth a lifetime…