Introducing The Hill Country
The Hill Country lives in a cool, perpetual spring, away from the often enervating heat and heavy air of the coastal regions or the hot dry air of the central and northern plains. Everything here is green and lush, and much of the region is carpeted with the glowing green of the tea plantations, with montane forest hugging the higher slopes.
Although Sinhalese culture was born in the north of Sri Lanka, following the decline of the Polonnaruwa dynasties in the early 13th century, power shifted southwest to Kotte (near Colombo) and to the Hill Country. The kingdom of Kandy resisted European takeover for more than 300 years after the coastal regions first succumbed to the Portuguese in the 17th century, and the city of Kandy remains the Sinhalese cultural and spiritual centre.
Since the 19th century the region has become home to a large number of Tamils, brought from India by the British to labour on the tea estates. The Tamil culture in the Hill Country is very different from that found in northern Sri Lanka; the Hinduism practiced here is not as strict and there is much less support for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
The Hill Country is a relaxed area where it’s very easy to find the days just drifting by. Higher up into the hills are many towns that are worth a visit, and an abundance of walks and climbs, refreshing waterfalls and historic sites.
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