Nestled in the central hills of Sri Lanka, Badulla lies in a hairpin bend of the Badulu Oya River surrounded by tea plantations. It was once ruled by a Sinhalese prince before becoming part of the British Empire and established as a railway terminus for tea products destined for the markets of Colombo.
Things to do in Badulla
Spend a day strolling through the streets of Badulla, which is home to an ancient shrine dedicated to the Sinhalese deity, Kataragama deviyo. The town’s British colonial legacy is on display at the Old Welekade Market, a protected monument that was constructed in a cross-shaped design and centred around an octagonal compound.
In the heart of Badulla is the Muthiyangana Raja Maha Vihara, an ancient Buddhist temple that’s one of 16 sacred places in Sri Lanka believed to have been visited by Gautama Buddha. Step through the dragon-adorned thorana and admire the 20-metre-high stupa, then catch a glimpse of one of the four bodhi trees located within the temple grounds.
A short drive from Badulla lies Dunhinda Falls, a 64-metre-high cascade that’s considered one of Sri Lanka’s most beautiful waterfalls. The region also boasts one of the oldest surviving bridges in the country, the 400-year-old Bogoda Wooden Bridge, which features roof tiles in the style of the Kingdom of Kandy. Adjacent to the bridge is the Bogoda Raja Maha Viharaya, a 1st-century BC temple built during the Anuradhapura era.
Getting around Badulla
Badulla is around five hours’ drive from Colombo and Bandaranaike International Airport. The Main Line also connects from the Sri Lankan capital to Badulla railway station. The temple city of Kandy is just under three hours away, with buses the main means of accessing the surrounding towns and villages.