Kondagala is a popular hiking destination in Sri Lanka, located on the border of the districts of Kandy and Nuwara Eliya. It’s a small mountain and very popular due to its surrounding beauty. The Loolkondera tea estate is another historical place that you should visit before the Kondagala Hike. Some locals call this place the “Loolkandura” Tea Estate.
We will provide more details about these two places within this blog post, so don’t forget to read it until the end.
Kondagala and Loolkandura are located in the same place. Both of these locations are on the border of the districts of Kandy and Nuwara Eliya. to Kondagala from Kandy city is about 32 km. This is about 20km from Rikillagaskada and 12km from Hewaheta town. If you are hoping to reach here from Colombo, you have to travel nearly 150km from there. The entrance of the Loolkondera tea estate can be easily identified with Google Maps.
Loolkandura Tea Estate
If you are starting your journey via Kandy, you will definitely come first to Delthota, a small town. Then you have to select the Rikillagaskada direction to reach the Loolkondera tea estate. After a few kilometers, you will reach the official entrance of the Loolkondera tea estate. But it’s not your final destination. You have to go more along that road until you find a Kovil with a bridge. From the bridge, you have to turn right toward the hill. It’s a poor road with less width. At the same time, you will find a barrier after going a few meters along that road. Now, you have to buy tickets for your journey. They will ask you to take only the tickets for your vehicle.
After getting the tickets, you need to walk a few kilometers toward the hill. Now, you are going to the upper fields of the Loolkandura estate. The surround look will amaze you. First, you will see a small tank just below the road. It’s time to stop your vehicles and visit there. It looks really beautiful and it’s nice to take some photos. The tank consists of a summer hut in the middle. You have to go there through a wooden bridge. The place is absolutely lovely 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 has a valuable place in Sri Lankan history. It was the first established commercial tea estate in Sri Lanka in 1867. James Taylor, who was a Scottish plantation manager, was the person behind this work. After James Taylor’s effort, tea was widely spread around the central highlands of Sri Lanka. Today, it is the major export plantation crop on the island.
James Taylor’s Cottage
After establishing the first commercial tea estate in Loolkandura, James Taylor decided to stay there for the rest of 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 for you to see. If you turn right from the cottage, the small route will take you to the top of the Kondagala Mountain.
But if you turn left, you will go to another important place. It is a place with a lot of tea trees of great height. The area is considered the first tea plantation in Sri Lanka. Now, they are older than 150 years. As a result, they appear to be tall trees. Now you can come back to the cottage and turn right to the top of the Kondagala.
Hike to Kondagala Mountain
It is about 500m to the top of the Kondagala from the cottage. It is not a big hike and is somewhat easy to hike. Once you reach the top of the Kondagala, you will feel amazing. The top is frequently buffeted by strong winds. You can walk around there for a long time. Kondagala was very 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.
The summit of Kondagala Mountain is an absolutely beautiful place to take some amazing photographs. You can observe some old houses, paddy fields, tea estates, and other topographies in the Dumbara Valley. You can easily identify the famous Hanthana Mountain Range from here.
If you are seeking tour guide support for this trip, we recommend Zen Tours. You can contact them at the numbers below.
071 0857333 – Kalana
070 3144388 – Rumesh
James Taylor’s Seat
After the Kondala Hike, you can visit another beautiful location in the Loolkondera Tea Estate. It is called “James Taylor’s Seat”. This place is located one kilometer away from Taylor’s Cottage. There is a nice park to stop your vehicle. Then you can come to the “seat”. The place consists of a big stone. The stone was used by James Taylor to sit there and watch the beauty of the surroundings. The place is absolutely lovely 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 for my degree. We reached 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 in August 2020. We went there in a car and a bike. It was a bright, sunny day. We went to the abovementioned pond and waited there to take some photographs. Then we visited James Taylor’s Cottage and well. The purpose of that visit was to do a video shoot for YouTube. We hike to the Kondagala Mountain and got our lunch. We finished the journey after reaching 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 see the actual beauty of the journey.
- There are very few public transport facilities. It’s better if you can go there in your own vehicle.
- Don’t take plastic and polythene with you to the visit. If you take them, don’t forget to bring them back. Don’t throw it there.
- Remember not to cause any damage to the Loolkondera Tea Estate’s ruins. The location has historically been significant for the Sri Lankan tea industry.
- The Kondagala hike is not very hard. It’s easy and anyone can go there.
- Roads and other infrastructure are in disrepair. You need to buy tickets to enter the estate.
(Image Credit: Ama Kalana)