During my month long stay in Ella earlier this year, I was frequently looking for places to visit away from the tourist crowd. Tourists meant tuktuk drivers and local businesses hard selling their products and services just like the center of Ella which was a bit overwhelming for my post-covid traveler version.
I first came across Demodara Railway loop in a tourist guide at my guest house. Said to be a Km long railway line around a hill with beautiful views, Demodara railway loop is an engineering marvel. It’s accessibility and history immediately piqued my interest.
History of Demodara Railway Loop
The railway line was laid in a loop around a hill to overcome the geographical challenge and comply with the maximum allowable gradient by Sri Lankan Railways that is 1:44. One feet elevation per 44 feet. This is to ensure safe ascend and descend of the trains.
How to Reach Demodara Railway station from Ella
Located around 6 km from the town of Ella, Demodara village can be easily reached by Bus going towards Badulla.
From this bus stop, I walked about 1.5 km to reach the railway station where I began my hike. But practically, my hike began at the entrance of the village. I had all day so I wanted to take it slow, enjoy the views. The path to the railway station has the view of tea estates and was quite serene.
One could also take a tuktuk either directly from Ella or at the entrance of Demodara village. The walk to the railway station from the village is uphill.
Once you reach the railway station, the hike is just walking along the railway tracks but it would be good to know the train timings not just to enjoy the view of train going through this loop but also to walk carefully along the tracks.
What to expect on the Demodara loop hike
The loop is only a km but the views were quite nice, there’s a stream flowing underneath the hill, there are tea estates, and most of all, it’s really quiet. During my hike, I saw only two-three other people, all of them were local residents.
What not to miss on the hike
I started the hike from the left as I reached the station. This loop ends in the tunnel that goes underneath the station. Right after the tunnel is a bridge over a stream. This bridge was like my final reward for the hike. Please note, you’ll have to take a small dirt road just ahead of this bridge to go up on the tar road again (that leads to Demodara bus stand). This viewpoint was quite nice too.
Other Railway hikes around Ella
Idalgashinna to Haputale
Distance – 7.2 km
Difficulty level – Easy
Pattipola to Haputale
Distance – 23 km
Difficulty level – Moderate