East of the Central highlands ridge are the picturesque hills of Uva Province. Badulla draws Buddhist pilgrims from across the island during the festivals The climate of the triangle formed by Ella, Haputale & Welimada (in Badulla) is regarded by many Sri Lankans as the most favourable on the island. This is a marvellous walking country, where views, particularly at Ella & Haputale, formed by spectacular "gaps" in its precocious ridges. This is the market garden area where carrots, beans, brassicas including cabbages, broccoli, brussels sprout, cauliflower, turnip & many other fresh vegetables are grown, much of it for export to the Middle East.
The town is capital of the mountainous Uva Province, but as it is situated at a slightly lower elevation (about 600 metres) it features tropical vegetation (especially palms) rather than the rolling patanas (plains) typical of the region. Badulla, the end of the line for rail travellers from Colombo, Kandy and Nanu Oya (close to Nuwara Eliya) is surrounded by paddy fields along the banks of the river Gallanda Oya & has an old fort against a backdrop of mountains & a small lake. It is one of the oldest towns in Sri Lanka though there are no traces of the earlier settlement. The Portuguese once occupied it but set the town on fire before leaving. In contrast to the comparatively recently populated Highland region, Uva, which stretches across the plains as far south as Kataragama, is sometimes held to be the original home of the Kandyan civilization, whose people would have used the river valleys draining into the River Mahaweli as a natural migration route into the hills.