Nine miles to the east of Newera Ellia, at a lower elevation of one thousand five hundred feet, stretches the Ouva country, forming the fourth ledge.
The features of this country are totally distinct from any other portion of Ceylon. A magnificent view extends as far as the horizon, of undulating open grassland, diversified by the rich crops of paddy which are grown in each of the innumerable small valleys formed by the undulations of the ground. Not a tree is to be seen except the low brushwood which is scantily distributed upon its surface. We emerge suddenly from the forest-covered mountains of Newera Ellia, and, from a lofty point on the high road to Badulla, we look down upon the splendid panorama stretched like a waving sea beneath our feet. The road upon which we stand is scarped out of the mountain's side. The forest has ceased, dying off gradually into isolated patches and long ribbon-like strips on the sides of the mountain, upon which rich grass is growing, in vivid contrast to the rank and coarse herbage of Newera Ellia, distant only five miles from the point upon which we stand.
Descending until we reach Wilson's Plain, nine miles from Newera Ellia, we arrive in the district of Ouva, much like the Sussex Downs as any place to which it can be compared.
This district comprises about six hundred square miles, and forms the fourth and last ledge of the high lands of Ceylon. Passes from the mountains which form the wall-like boundaries of this table-land descend to the low country in various directions.
The whole of the Ouva district upon the one side, and of the Kotmalee district on the other side, of tilt Newera Ellia range of mountains, are, with the exception of the immediate neighborhood of Kandy and Colombo, the most populous districts of Ceylon.
This is entirely owing, to the never-failing supply of water obtained from the mountains; and upon this supply the wealth and prosperity of the country depend.
The ancient history of Ceylon is involved in much obscurity, but nevertheless we have sufficient data in the existing traces of its former population to form our opinions of the position and power which Ceylon occupied in the Eastern Hemisphere when England was in a state of barbarism. The wonderful remains of ancient cities, tanks and water-courses throughout the island all prove that the now desolate regions were tenanted by a multitude - not of savages, but of a race long since passed away, full of industry and intelligence.
Among the existing traces of former population few are more interesting than those in the vicinity of Newera Ellia.