Kondagala Hike & Loolkondera Tea Estate

Kondagala is a popular hiking destination located in the boarder of Kandy and Nuwara Eliya districts in Sri Lanka. It’s a small mountain and very popular due to its surrounded beauty. Loolkondera tea estate is another historical place that you should cross before the Kondagala Hike. Some locals call this place as ‘Loolkandura’ Tea Estate.

We will bring more details about these two places within this blog post, So don’t forget to read it until the end.

Location

Kondagala and Loolkandura are located in the same place. Both these places are in the boarder of Kandy and Nuwara Eliya districts. Distance to Kondagala from Kandy city is about 32Km. This is about 20km from Rikillagaskada and 12km from Hewaheta towns. If you are hoping to reach here from Colombo, you have to pass nearly 150km from there. The entrance of the Loolkondera tea estate can be easily identified with the Google Maps.

Loolkondera Tea Estate

If you are starting your journey via Kandy, you will definitely come first to the Delthota small town. Then you have to select the Rikillagaskada direction to reach the Loolkondera tea estate. After going few kilometers, you will meet the official entrance of the loolkondera tea estate. But its not your final destination. You have to go more along that road until you find a Kovil with bridge. From the bridge, you have to turn right toward the hill. It’s a poor road with less wide. At the same time, you will find a barrier after going few meters along that road. Now, you have to buy tickets for your journey. They will ask you to take tickets only for your vehicles.

After getting tickets, you need to go a few kilometers toward the hill. Now, you are going to the upper fields of the loolkandura estate. The surround look will be amazed you. First, you will see a small tank just below the road. It’s time to stop your vehicles and visit there. The tank looks really beautiful and nice to take some photos. The tank consists a summer hut in the middle. You have to go there through a wooden bridge. The place is absolutely nice to wait for a few minutes and enjoy its beauty. But this is not your destination. You have to go around 1.5km from there to Kondagala mountain and James Taylor’s cottage.

Loolkandura is a valuable place in Sri Lankan history. It was the first established commercial tea estate in Sri Lanka in 1867. James Taylor was the person behind this work and who was a Scottish Plantation manager. After the James Taylor’s effort, Tea was widely spread around the central highlands of Sri Lanka. Today, it is the major export plantation crop in the island.

James Taylor’s Cottage

After establishing a first commercial tea estate in Loolkandura, James Taylor decided to stay there for his life. His cottage was in the upper part of the estate. This cottage will meet you just before the Kondagala Summit. But today, you can only see a small part of his cottage. James Taylor’s well is also there to see. If you turn right from the cottage, the small route will take you to top of the Kondagala Mountain. But if you turn left, you will take to another important place. It is a place with the lot of tea trees with great height. The area considered as the first tea plants established in Sri Lanka. Now, these are old more than 150 years. So, they are looking like tall trees. Now you can come again to the Cottage and turn right to the top of the Kondagala.

Kondagala Hike

It is about 500m to the top of the Kondagala from the cottage. It is not a big hike and somewhat easy to hike. Once you reach to the top of the Kondagala, you will feel amazing. Most of the time, wind is blowing heavily on the top. You can walk around there for long distance. Kondagala was much popular due to its large Stones. . If you go to the edge of the Stones, you can see the beauty of the loolkandura tea estate and the areas toward Galaha and Kandy. Top of the Kondagala Mountain is an absolutely nice place to take some amazing photographs. You can observe some old houses, paddy fields, tea estates and the beauty of the Dumbara Valley.

James Taylor’s Seat

After the Kondala Hike, you can visit to another beautiful location in the Loolkondera Tea Estate. It is called ‘James Taylor’s Seat’. This place is located in one kilometer away from the Taylor’s Cottage. There is a nice park to stop your vehicles. Then you can come to the ‘Seat’. The place consist with a big stone. The stone was used by James Taylor to sit there and watch the beauty of the surrounded. The place is absolutely nice to wait and watch the beauty of the valley.  

Our Kondagala Hike and visit to the Loolkondera Tea Estate

I first visited the Loolkondera tea estate in 2016 during my university period. It was a field visit to my degree. We reached to the James Taylor’s Cottage and stayed there for a long time. Then we visited to see the first tea plants established on the Loolkandura estate. But we missed the Kondagala Hike during that field visit.

Our second visit to the destination on 2020 August. We went there by a car and a bike. It was a bright sunshine day. We went to the above mentioned pond and waited there to take some photographs. Then we visited to the James Taylor’s Cottage and well. The purpose of that visit was to do a video shoot for YouTube. We went to the Kondagala Mountain and got our lunch. We finished the journey after reaching to the Taylor’s seat. It was a funny, happy journey with us. But we planned the journey for a long time.

Things to Consider

  • Start the journey very early in the morning. That will help you to get the actual beauty of the journey.
  • There is very less public transport facilities. It’s better if you can go there by your own vehicles.
  • Don’t take plastics and polythene to the visit. If you take them, don’t forget to bring them back. Don’t throw there.
  • You should remember to not damage any ruin in the Loolkondera Tea Estate. The place is historical important place for Sri Lankan Tea Industry.
  • Kondagala hike is not very hard. It’s easy and anyone can go there.
  • Road and other infrastructure facilities are very poor.• You need to buy tickets to enter the estate.

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