The dramatic precipice of the World’s End had been located at halfway of a 9 kilometers hiking route through the Horton Plains National Park. I had reached there with the earliest set of visitors and had witnessed the young morning light waking civet cats which had been cozily snoozing inside trash bins. They had looked around drowsily before scampering off as noisy crowds had descended on the viewpoint. Though the main tourist attraction of Horton Plains National Park, the World’s End had not been the only important one and we had resumed our hike quickly from there. A very beautiful part of Sri Lanka, forests, plains and water had all merged together at the Horton Plains to create a gorgeous landscape. The amazing bio diversity had also made the park an interesting place to explore and we had been mesmerized by what we had seen.
The open expanse of Horton Plains had been its biggest charm and clouds, mists and the sun had created lovely shadows on its bleak vastness. Wild flowers, narrow meandering streams, tall grass and deep red rich earth had basked in the warm sun shine and not a human habitat had been in sight. Our hiking trail had lead us through them all and we had walked along lonely grasslands, moist forests and wet swamps, as a huge blue sky had spanned overhead. Misty cloud forests too had covered large tracts of the undulating Plains and their unique umbrella-shaped keena trees had dripped water from the fine cobweb of old man’s beard vegetation. Strange, beautiful flowers had peeked from the trees and the undergrowth and a dazzling variety of ferns, lichens and orchids had grown in clusters. Exotic birds and gorgeous green scaled lizards had flitted out of the forests and streams had reflected the skies more as we had neared the swampy lowlands.
Renamed after Sir Robert Wilmot-Horton, the British governor of Ceylon, who traveled to the area, the plains had been found to be inhabited since ages and ancient stone tools had been discovered there. Designated as a national park in 1988, the Horton Plains had been a part of the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka, which had been inscribed on the World Heritage List and it had certainly been an awesome day trip from Nuwara Eliya. I had been very much taken in by the unique national park at the time of my visit and even today, I find it very beautiful. Though not the most breathtaking World Heritage Site I have ever seen, the park’s bleakness had been vividly spectacular and it had indeed been like no other place in Sri Lanka.
TRAVEL TIP – The early morning (between 6 am and 10 am) is the best time to visit the World’s End and it is true that you have to get up early to experience the end of the world. Post 10 am, usually the clouds roll in and obscure the fantastic views which stretch all the way to the coast. Make sure, you are dressed warm in long trousers and sweaters as the evenings and early mornings are quite chilly. The plains warm up fast though and for hikers, sunglasses, water, sunscreen, hat etc are advised. The weather is clearest January to March and World’s End, Lesser World’s End, Baker’s Falls, Slab Rock Falls etc are some of its attractions. The national park is accessed by the Nuwara Eliya-Ambewela-Pattipola and Haputale-Boralanda roads, and there are railway stations at Ohiya and Ambewela.
RESPONSIBLE TRAVELING-BECAUSE I CARE