Piduruthalagala Mountain and the Forest Reserve is situated almost next to the heart of Nuwara Eliya Town.
Nuwara Eliya being a mountain valley consists of a plateau that is shaped elliptically. The mountains situated on this plateau rises upto 2000 feet making some ridges. The plateau itself being 6240 feet above sea level makes the highest mountain peak, that is Pidurutalagala to attain a
height of 8292 feet (2527 mts) above sea level
. During 1897, there had been a path made to climb Pidurutalagala mountain. The four mile track to the top could have been made by walking for two and half hours or could be made on horse back. The Ladies of that time also had the choice of being carried on a chair which was tied to two Bamboo poles and carried by four bearers all the way up and back! The British preferred to call this mountain “Pedro” as pronouncing the mountain as “Pidurutalagala” was not an easy task for them.
The meaning of word Pidurutalagala can be likened as “ Straw laden rock “.
Unlike most mountain peaks found in the world around that has a rocky surface, Pidurutalagala has a flattened mountain peak with pale green patna covering the whole surface as per eyewitness description of 1940. During dry season, this grass may dries up and looks like a mountain top capped with a spread of straw to the distant. There had been only a single man made path to the summit and elsewhere the untouched forest , only with roads that elephants frequented for thousands of years. The trees of mountain sides were looked like dwarfs as nearing the mountain top due to high winds prevailed and the tree tops near summit all had a flattened effect like being a well trimmed off hedge by a gardener. There is a noticeable difference between the character of Pidurutalagala forest and the lowland forests. The trees here appear to be that of gnarled trunks with many forked branches with lichens and moss clinging to them showing cloud forest characteristics. The man made path to the top had been marked at regular intervals throughout the ascent on stone posts such as 7500 feet, 8000 feet. Earlier in 1940s, on the mountain summit there had been a “Toposcope” or a type of a Map which had a circle of pointed arrows that showed the directions of certain important places with distances of ‘ line of sight’ from Pidurutalagala or “Mt. Pedro” , such as Colombo, Adam’s Peak, Dondra Head, Horton’s Plains, etc. One could clearly see and identify faraway places such as Yala, Hambantota, Bintenna, Namunukula, Horabora Wewa and Bay of Trincomalee which were marked on the Toposcope.
During specific times of the year one may be fortunate enough to travel upto Pidurutalagala peak after obtaining permission ( no trekking allowed) without stopping the vehicle on the way, or getting out of the vehicle, from the Entrance Security Point at the mountain base upto the Upper Security Point at the peak.