Things to Do and See at Sabaragamuwa Sri Lanka

Sabaragamuwa Province is situated in a unique and contrastive geographical landscape amongst the coastal lowland, central highland and south-eastern dry zone. Luckily located between the Central Capital and Central Province, it also touches the boundaries of Western, Southern, North Western and Central Provinces. Sabaragamuwa is one of the most naturally beautiful, culturally exciting and historically significant regions in Sri Lanka that proudly holds the World Heritage Sinharaja Forest Reserve, Udawalawa National Park, Adam’s Peak, Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage including precious gems, innumerable fauna and flora, large scale commercial plantations, countless spices, minerals and export crops. It offers a hypnotizing scenic beauty blended with the mystery of historicism scattered all over the province. Every inch of Sabaragamuwa is enriched with a charming beauty that pleases the tired eye. The panoramic scenic beauty of the mystic hills and of the infinite valleys together with the splendorous glory of lakes, rivers, waterfalls and adventurous natural sites have never faded away in the face of the growing modernization. The path carpeted with lush green tea gardens through the top of mountains that touch the clouds with picturesque bird-eye views continuing for miles from the flat lowland to the tall wetland leads to eternity and beyond.

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1. Sri Pada

The range of the Samanala Mountains which is honourably illuminated in central uplands is about 2243 meters high. Among all the sacred Buddhist places in Sabaragamuwa, Adam’s Peak is prior as it is believed that Lord Buddha’s sacred left footprint is imprinted thereon peak. In reference to Mahawanshaya (a celebrated history of the dynasties of the kings of Ceylon), during his third journey to Sri Lanka Lord Buddha has set the sacred foot-print on top of the Adam’s Peak by Sumana Deva’s (God Saman) invitation who descended from divine lineage to be the mayor of the region at that time. He achieved a great state of fruition after listening to Lord Buddha’s preaching and, from then on, he was worshipped, honoured and respectfully titled as “Sumana Saman Devi Raja” by the people of the Sabaragamuwa region. Through the Esala Maha Perahara ceremony annually held by Maha Saman Devale in Sabaragamuwa also with royal patronage and assistance, the Buddhist community even today expresses their gratitude and greatly admires his service for the whole Buddhist community in Sri Lanka. In the bygone period of kings, it was really hard and very dangerous to make a pilgrimage to Adam’s Peak through the dreadful, murderous and menacing wild. How hard the pilgrimage was that, as folklores indicate, people gave up their desire for life, shared full right of their property among their children and made vows to god Saman expecting life-security before they start the journey. One must have to make a very difficult journey about 8 miles through a narrow foot-path, which is considered as Raja Mawatha that lies through Palaabathgala in Ratnapura. As far as the difficulty is concerned, the path through Erathna from Kuruvita to Adiyalama is also not inferior to the previous. The Hatton-Nallathanni road, which is comfortable to a certain extent as there is the capability of making half of the journey by vehicles, is more famous today. The sacred sculpture of Saman Deva, the sacred relic shrine and the god’s ornaments are taken in a procession starting from Galapoththawela Raja Maha Viharaya in Pelmadulla and ending up in the sacred Sri Pada compound. The path of this procession is the easiest Hatton Nallathanni road. That gives the commence to the season of worshipping the sacred footprint of Lord Buddha at Adam’s Peak, and for the pilgrims, it makes a spring out of season. Though the fragrance of fresh breeze purified by the dews of drizzle, the pleasant view of ever-green forests, the never-ending songs of little birds, the beauty of various types of Orchids which are endemic only in Sri Pada, the rareness of herbal plants like Kidaram (Amorphophallus campanulatus), Jatamansa (spikenard or Nardostachys jatamansi), Ayanuwel, Iyanuwel, Kudahedaya (Lycopodium squarosum), Mahahedaya (club-moss or Lycopodium phlegmaria), Iraraja (Zenxine regia), Sandaraja (Hypericum japonicum) and Wanaraja (forest-King or Anaectochilus regalis) which add more to the value and beauty of Sri Pada and also the darkness and dreadfulness of wild, which is always there hidden under the silence and calmness of the jungle, are disturbed by the pilgrims, the scene of their unity making a sacred procession from the bottom up to the peak of Sri Pada through the forest, adds mare life, more beauty and most of all humanity illuminating the darkness of wild. These pilgrims come from every corner of Sri Lanka and unite to make the journey successful helping each other by being kind and friendly even without knowing the whereabouts of each other. Their devotion, humanity and piety fill the whole forest with beauty, life and compassion. On the other hand, this sacred place becomes an alluring, magnificent paradise that attracts tourists. The feat of climbing to the peak of Sri Pada with a great difficulty suffering from freezing coldness, the attainment of worshipping the sacred foot-print of Lord Buddha with a great devotion, and the performance of observing the magnificent view of sunrise called “Ira Sevaya”, while resting a little near ever-lightening lamp for all the year (Dolos mahe pahana), are unforgettable experiences that raise the enthusiasm, appreciation and allegiance in mind. This wonderful season of Sri Pada pilgrimage ends in six months. God’s ornaments are brought back in procession to Thalpoththavela temple at Wesak poyaday in May. Thereby the whole environment that was filled with echoes of the entreaty of “Sadu” and peoples’ voices goes back to its usual calmness and silence of Mother Nature and once again it becomes a kingdom of wild animals. During offseason, due to the threat of heavy rain, lightning strikes and attacks of wild animals, it is entirely impossible to worship Sri Pada. Among the royals who have cleared the path to Sri Pada that was almost covered by a thick forest, the service King Vijayabandu I (1055-1111 A.D.) had rendered is very important and note-worthy. He has done a memorable service for the convenience of pilgrims by erecting wayside rests and alms-halls mile by mile, constructing the way by building bridges and stair-cases, building up a parapet-wall around the compound of Sri Pada and providing land and village grants for the maintenance of Sri Pada. Information about his great service is recollected in Gilimale and Ambagamuwa epigraphs, which were erected by this great King and also in some descriptions in Mahawanshaya (name of a celebrated history of the dynasties of the kings of Ceylon). It is also mentioned that King Parakumba I has built a pagoda in the name of god Saman and King Parakumba II has built bridges and reconstructed the road on behalf of pilgrims. The service done by King Kirthi Sri Nishshankamalla is also historically note-worthy. He presented a village named Gilimale to pilgrims and supplied enough food and also constructed the road to make the odyssey more comfortable. This factor is verified in the content of epigraphs that were erected all over the country by this great King and proved by the content of Panduwas Nuwara enthroning letter. His pilgrimage to Sri Pada has been appreciated and honoured even in the Rameshwaram letter. Sri Pada is denoted as Adam’s Peak by Christians, Sivanolipadam by Hindus and Al Ruhun by Muslims. Likewise all Sri Lankans irrespective of their religious worship Sri Pada considering this place as very holly and sacred in the light of their own beliefs. From King Alexander the Great, who has added iron chains in constructing the road to Sri Pada to facilitate most of the foreigners who visited this sacred place from time to time, have written various interesting, socially and religiously very epoch-making tidings about Sri Pada. Ibn Batuta, Suleiman (Islamic), Barbosa, Kwerose, Ruberio (Portuguese), Robert Knox, John Davy (English), Fa Hien, Wajira Buddhi, Xuanzang , Chingo (Chinese) and Hayet (Germen) are also few of them who visited and made important documentations about Adam’s Peak. Apart from them, governors like Robert Brownrigg and Wilmot Horton and more famous people like Henry Marshal and Skinner too have left important written reports on what they have seen. The jurisdiction of Sri Pada which was authorized by Buddhist monks taking much effort and a long time has unfortunately gone into the hands of Hindus in the reign of King Sithawaka Rajasingha. In this era, the properties of Buddhist people have been disgracefully looted from them. Over the strong attempt of venerable Pindapathika Asarana Sarana Saranangkara Thero, Sri Pada has been again turned into a right of Buddhist in the reign of King Kirthi Sri Rajasingha. Sri Pada, as a right assigned to Pelmadulla Vehalle Dhammadinna ascetic generation, even today, is authorized by the throes of that generation.


2. Sabaragamuwa Maha Saman Devale

Sabaragamuwa Maha Saman Devale is located in a prepossessing and beauteous land which is not further than 2.5 km from Ratnapura-Panadura route, and its premises spread towards the riverside of Kalu, one of the great rivers in Sri Lanka. Temples in the name of Sumana Saman deity (God Saman) was erected after Polonnaruwa reign. The first temple was constructed on Adam’s Peak, and, as “Sathara Devale”, four temples were assembled in four directions, namely Mahiyangana Saman Devale from east, Sabaragamuwa Maha Saman Devale from the west, Bolthumbe Saman Devale from the south and Daraniyagala Saman Devale from the north. In Dambadeniya epoch, a minister of honourable erudite King Parakramabahu named “Aryakamadewayo” has come to Ratnapura for gems and has vowed Saman Devale to build a pagoda with three story mansion if he could treasure out gems. The epic “Saman Saritha” evidences this historical incidence and also the in the content of 20th page in the book “Katuwana-Mathara Satahana” provides details for this very important evidence. “Mahavansha” reveals that great thero lived in Sabaragamuwa have proceeded to the pinnacling ceremony of Ruvanweli Stupa and to a monk retreat held in Polonnaruwa. Also according to the content of “Saman Siritha”, a thero named Shilawansha has brought the sculpture of “Saman Deva”, which was in a cavern nearby Sri Pada compound, to Sapragrama temple and has calmed it there. Then only the Sapragrama temple was populated as “Saman Vehera”. Minister Aryakamadewa has found a massive stock of gems and thereby to keep his promise, he has built the current “Saman Devale”. In 20th page of Mathara Katuwana epic, the incident is described like this; “This Saman Vehera, which is built in a charming and divine land that was filled with earth about 9 m high in the middle of a plane ground spread to the riverside of “Kalu River”, was built in the year 1226, by Minister Aryakamadewa, on the order of ever-erudite King Parakramabahu”. Until the crummy coercion of Portuguese invaders has threatened the very existence of all the Buddhist temples and other religious places, the traditional rituals were safely kept on practising till the end of Kotte epoch. In the period of King Rajasinghe I, reconstructing Saman Devale, which was undercover until then, and organizing processions were done. One of the great historical works of Sabaragamuwa Saman Devale is taking in procession the sacred tooth-relic that was calmed in Kotte to Degalgamu Vihara and holding the annual Saman Devale procession. King Parakramabahu VI has reconstructed this temple with the labour of Nilapperumal in 1415 A.D. spending 26000 silver. 26 land-grants and 360 fiefs have been offered to possess both temple and devale. All the essential equipment including celestial ornaments has been offered to Devale and an idol has also been carved there on a stone slab. The lineal descendants of Nilapperumal have been called by the name “Vijaya Narayana” and appointed as sub-officiating priests of Saman Devale. Vijaya Narayana belongs to the Kapu generation in Veralupe. All this information is mentioned in the stone inscription at Sabaragamuwa Maha Saman Devale. After the demise of King Rajasinghe I, the Portuguese have invaded Sabaragamuwa and destroyed Degalgamuwa Vihara, Pothugal Vihara, Saman Stupa and Devale. Epigraphs done by King Parakumba were also destroyed during this time. Thereafter, the Portuguese built their own fortress and church in the glebe of Saman devale and turned this sacred place into an administrative centre. Knowing that the Portuguese are planning to invade this place the officiating priest of Saman Devale has taken all the res divini, ornaments and sacred idols to a mount named “Idam Godella” located in the north and has managed to do all the rituals there. The contemporary Saman Devale has been reconstructed and renovated by King Rajasinghe II. He who was famously known as God “Rasing” (shortened God Rajasingha) has defeated the Portuguese, destroyed their churches and fortresses and rebuilt Saman Devale. The stone door-frame which was buried by Portuguese was found by him and set again to the main entrance of the master building. The other monoliths have been set as steps of the stair case that subsides into the bank of Kalu River. Among all the historical materials that were there in the ancient Saman Devale, the stone door-frame is the only prehistoric antique remains today. Few pieces of stone inscription that has been erected by King Parakumba VI have been fixed in the wall of the Samanthi stage. There is a stone slab fixed to the wall of the temporary shed at the right side of Devale. In this stone slab, there is an image of a European who is holding a sword and a shield and a Sinhala soldier who has been defeated, lost his sword and captured by that European. Under that, a letter is inscribed in Portuguese and a Portuguese sign is also cut into the stone slab. This is the best evidence to prove that this place has been a battlefield during the foreign invasions in Sri Lanka.


3. Sinharaja Rain Forest

Sinharaja rain forest can be mentioned as an invaluable bio-diversity hotspot and as a tropical ever-green hilly virgin rain forest that is located in south-west lowland wet-eco region in Sri Lanka. This is the biggest and the only virgin rainforest remain in the low country unto now. The dense vegetation spreads over 11187 ha passing the borders of three Districts namely Ratnapura, Galle and Matara. This biosphere reserve is positioned in between north latitude 6º21´-6º27´ and east longitude 80º21´-80º37´. There are four approaches to pass into this treasure trove. They are Ratnapura – Weddagala route, Ratnapura-Rakwana-Sooriyakanda-Ilumbakanda route, Hiniduma – Neluwa route and Deniyaya-Pallegama route. Although it is significant that the treasures of this rainforest belong to Ratnapura District and the main entrance to Sinharaja also opens at Ratnapura. The reserve is only 21 km long, maximally 7 km and minimally 3 km wide. It stretches in a hilly land in between 10º-35º and situated 100-200 m higher from sea level. A considerable area of this hilly virgin forest belongs to the low-country wet zone that locates less than 1,000 m high from sea-level and the lock of land that belongs to hill country is located more than 1,000 m high from sea level. Sinharaja forest stands apart from central mountains. The eco-region is replete with rolling hills that runs parallel with several villages. The highest peak in this treasure trove is Hinipitigala Mountain, which stands 1,171 m high. 2,723 ha were designated as “Sinharaja Mookalana” according to no. 4046 gazette notification in 8th May, 1875. In 1978, Sinharaja forest was denominated as a “Man and Bio-sphere Reserve” and nominated as a heritage site in 1988. Sinharaja forest, which was designated as a world heritage site in 1989, is the first dense vegetation that was honored by this esteem in Sri Lanka. The annual rainfall would count 3,000- Signature of Sri Lanka 191 6,000 mm and the average temperature is about 23-25 Cº. There are 8 peaks that rise higher than 600 m. Sinharaja forest is encircled by 22 villages and the two villages namely Warukandeniya and Kolonthotuwa are located interior this tropical evergreen forest. There are several bruits that unfold the legend of the title “Sinharaja” among villagers around this natural site.

It is said that this forest was named after a lion-King who held the entire imperium of the forested kingdom. Other animals, neighbouring villagers and travellers journey through the forest have been molested by this lion-King, which was inhabited in a giant cave in wilderness locally called “Sinhagala”. Hence most of the people hesitated to go into the darkness of greenery or at least to reside nearby. Folklore reveals that a doughty strongly built young man named “Lanka” has killed the lion by tactfully stoning it anticipating solace to the oppressed from this diabolic lion. It is believed that the offspring of that giant called “Lanka” live in the villages around Sinharaja forest even today. The terrain that is locally known as “Yodha Galgoda”, which is said to be filled with rocks used to stone the lion to death, can be seen even today in the forest. The report was written by Mr J.A. Willy in 1943 for “Loris” magazine also documents about the legend mentioned above. Another folktale reveals a forbidden love between a princess of a regional state and the lion-King lived in Sinharaja forest. The reports of a British named C. Jamsgan written in 1873 further documents that the Sinhalese nation was descended from offspring of these two forbidden lovers and as the entire forest was a dominion of a lion-King it was named as “Sinharaja”. The route mostly used by the pilgrims from Morawaka and Galu Korale to approach Sri Pada was also laid through this evergreen rainforest in the days of yore. Sinharaja was considered to be originated in the pre-historic era, when flowering plants were born and when our country was bounded with Gondwanaland in 15 billion years ago. Thus, Sinharaja forest can be mentioned as a live natural-science museum that supplies sources for the researches of animal evolution. Out of the 340, woody trees so far identified within the reserve, 192 is endemic. 15 families out of them are endemic only within this humid wet evergreen forest. Out of 25 genera endemic to Sri Lanka, 13 represent in Sinharaja. It is home to 21 species out of 45 reptilian species, 10 genera out of 19 amphibious animals, 25 types among 96 genera of bird-flock and 8 out of 12 mammalian species endemic in Sri Lanka. Hence it is significant nature’s green cathedral for both local and international scientists and nature lovers.


4.Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

The elephant orphanage can be approached by turning the 82nd km post in the Colombo-Kandy route. It is 10 km northwest of Kegalle town and very close to Rambukkana town. By train, it is just 2 km from Rambukkana railway station. The orphanage was established in 1975 in a 7 ha coconut plantation. It is the first elephant orphanage established in Sri Lanka. Besides, it is also used as a breeding centre for elephants, which belong to the National Zoo in Sri Lanka. A branch of the National Zoo is also presently available right next to the orphanage.

At present, the orphanage is home to over 60 elephants including both male and female elephants. Instead of elephants are brought here from various regions found abandoned by their mothers or displaced from their wild habitat. The elephant orphanage has become a tourist attraction and a resort popular among local and foreign tourists and nature lovers unto now.

At the time it was finally settled the orphanage had 7 baby elephants and now it is developed unto the happiness of seeing births occurring. First, it was planned to attract tourists. But in time these aspirations were changed into a greater intention to feed, nurse and house elephants while providing space to study elephants. Later, Pinnawala elephant orphanage has turned into a breeding ground of jumbos with subsidies from local and foreign donators. The first birth at Pinnawala was in 1984, “Sukumalee” a female was born to “Vijaya” and Kumaree”. Over 40 baby elephants have been born in the orphanage until now. Year by year the number of orphans and breeding are rapidly increasing.


5. White Water Rafting – Kithulgala

White Water Rafting in the Kelani River, covering 5 major rapids and 4 minor rapids. This activity is for anyone above the age of 10 years. The distance covered is around 5 KMs. The river and its surrounding will make you feel enchanted, with a memorable Experience during your White Water Rafting Tour.

Boasting about adventure sports, Kitulagala is a town located the West of the road from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya. It’s a town located amid tickly forest hills. It has been once a filming place for David Lean’s 1957 Oscar-winning epic “Bridge on the River Kwai” on the banks of Kelani River. Most visitors to the adventure sporting are from Colombo. The Kitulgala’s main attraction is White water rafting where you can ride the tides of the Kelani River. Other than that it’s popular for sports like confidence jump, Stream Sliding, Waterfall abseiling, Jungle trekking. Bird watching and cave exploration and last but not least river trips and expeditions.


6. Kithulgala Belilena

One of the most attractive and famous prehistoric caves in the country, holds the secret of a lost generation some 12,000 years ago. One can reach the cave by driving nearly 80 km through the Colombo-Hatton highway via AwissawFalls and KarawanFalls. There is significant evidence to prove the opinion of Dr P.E.P Deraniyagala that the human settlements in Sri Lanka might have started as early as the Pleistocene Age. The information about Homo Sapiens who live 624 m above sea level belonging to Pleistocene Age gathered from Kithulgala Belilena that had been a foremost human settlement adjacent to Kelani River was a great help to enhance the knowledge about aborigine.

Two fossilized skeletons of anthropoid lived 3,000 years back and 22,000 years ago that directly have relations with 12,000 B.C. time period have been discovered through excavations done in Belilena. Inoya Tamil College, Kegalle is met in 6 km distance from Inoya estate which is just one mile away from Kithulgala Hostelry in Hatton route. Belilena can be found by proceeding 1 km to the right direction from the College.

Since Belilena is located 624 m higher from sea-level as mentioned above, the vicinity has a cool temperature. Today, there is a rich rubber plantation in either side of the road. Together with rubber, a tea estate that extends over 15 acres can also be located when proceeding after Yatiyanthota towards Kithulgala. A difficult gorge will lead you to a long staircase that seeks one to the cavern in a 200 m distance.

Three attendant caverns encompass the main cave. The one in front and the cave on the right side have few doors that open up to some small tunnels. The walls of the cave are made of limestones. The largest cave out of them would measure 18.7 m wide and 12.5 m high. Archaeological excavations have also been done in this cavern. Above the right corner of the cave is beautified by a waterfall that would count 78-94 m tall. The waterfall draws a thick flash of water throughout the rainy season of a year that is 8 months out of 12. The block of land that belongs to Belilena extends over 8 acres and the land above the cave is consisting of 4 acres. Belilena is also referred as “Girilena”. The ruins state about a temple that was there in about 1878. Villagers declare that a thero named Ven. Sumanasara resided in the cave until 1970. The whole land is currently denominated as a treasure land that belongs to the Department of Archaeology.

The archaeological researches were started in Belilena in 1978 A.D. and the excavations conducted by the Department of Archaeology in Sri Lanka continued until 1983. Especially the entire course of excavations was done with the intention of untwisting the buried particulars about the aborigines in Sri Lanka. The former Director of Archaeology (excavation) Mr W.H. Wijepala and the Former Director-General of Archaeology Dr S.U. Deraniyagala has shouldered the excavation program.

Various tools including stone swords, flint weapons and also cranium which is 28,000 years old have been discovered from this cave. When excavating a particular area some oyster shells that had been eaten by aborigines were also found out. As a large number of oyster shells were discovered from this place, the cave was denominated as “Belilena”. There is a citation that reads ‘2,504 B.C.’ where a small image of Lord Buddha is placed in the cave. A skeleton, which is 22,000 years old, of an aborigine and a 13,000 years old cranium of a child about 3 years old have been discovered in the excavation pit right in front of the Buddha image. Later it was declared that these human skeletons belong to Balangoda man. The jaw bone of the first female in the generation of Balangoda prehistoric man “Kalu Menika” was also found from this cavern. Her jaw bone which was fossilized under the ash of the fireplace at Kithulgala Belilena as well as few fossilized remains of her meal has been unearthed. Dr. Kajale has uncovered through the carbon 14 experiment done in India that she had eaten baked or burned seeds of wild breadfruit. After the chemical experiment done by the Faculty of Archaeology at Cornell University in America, it is uncovered that Kalu Menika has lived in Kithulgala Belilena cave 12,500 years ago. When excavating around Belilena, at the invitation of Dr S.U. Deraniyagala, a group of foreign archaeologists also came to the site signifying the intentional attention on the historical weight that Kithulgala Belilena holds.


7. Gems Mining Industry

Pre-historic pieces of evidence prove that Sri Lanka has been famously celebrated for priceless gems since the days gone by. The antiquity of the gem industry in Sri Lanka, which is called “Rathnadveepa” and “Serandib”, is evidenced in a recently found Brahmi epigraph that belongs to third century B.C., which mentions “Minikara” (lapidary) in its content. Sinhala chronicles like “Maha Wanshaya” and “Choola Wanshaya” also bespeak words like “Ruwanmini” signifying the availability of precious stones in the country. Gem thus has held the most outstanding place among valuables since the days of yore.

Historical details reveal a conflict occurred between two kings of the tribe called “Na” named “Chullodara” and “Mahodara” for a bejewelled throne. In the stories of Sinbad Seaman, Sri Lanka is indicated as “Menik Nimnaya” (valley of jewels), and details about Lankan gem is documented in Chinese and Greek scripts.

Foreign tourists like Marco Polo, Iban Batuta, and Pahiyan have recorded important documents about the Ceylon gems with the intention of winning the love of queen Sheba. Considering the whole picture, it is crystal clear that Sri Lanka has been internationally renowned for gems at least about one thousand years ago. Similarly, since ancient times, Ratnapura has been famous for gem mining. The District, which is named after the meaning “Gem City” (Ratnapura), has extensive annals.

Ratnapura, Kuruvita, Pelmadulla, Rakwana, Nivithigala, Kalawana, Rambuka, Eheliyagoda, Kiriella, Ayagama and Balangoda can be mentioned as the most gem copious areas and Mathara, Mathale, Polonnaruwa, Galle, Kaluthara and Nuwaraeliya Districts are also designated as some other places host in the gems. As Ratnapura District comes prior to all of these areas it’s worthy to mention the configuration of gems under the earth of this area. Gems that are vastly accumulated in the sole of all the rivers that stream across Ratnapura District lie deeper than about 32 m into the earth from the surface. The value of gemstones which are subsided until the anterior basal named “Malawa” is evaluated considering weight and hardness.


8. Bogala Mines of MICA

This mine of graphite is located in Aruggammana Village which is 5 km ahead along Avissawella – Kotiyakumbura route that traces across Aruggammana in Galigamuwa division. Mining mica started in the era with British Colonials. It is not more than 160 years until now since then that mining was vastly extended over the country in 1830-1880 A.D. The vein of graphite ore in Sri Lanka spreads from Mathara to Kaluthara and Kurunegala. Dumbara, Kolonna and RuwanvFalls are sites of mica in Sabaragamuwa Province. Graphite mining was advanced to a level of industry in the era during Colonial times. Bogala, Punchi Bogala and Karandawaththa mines are introduced as depositions of mica. Bogala mine which was established as a private mining industry in 1920 was later converted into a company named “Bogala Mines” in 1947. Bogala mine and three other mines have remained after the war. Graphite Corporation saw the light after Bogala mine, which was owned by Graphite Corporation in Bogala, was taken over by the government on 18th may, 1971. Mining mica in Bogala thus has become a duty of the State Excavation and Mineral Development Authority since 1979. This industry was renamed “Bogala Graphite (Lanka) Corporation Limited” in 1991.

This mica contains a high percentage of carbon unto 90-99 percent. These mines would count 313 m long, 156 m wide and 781 m deep. A large number of employees work in these mines even today. When observing the process of mining underground, one can understand the grueling act of making mica a treasure. Flake mica, chunky mica, mica powder, broken mica and micron are found in this mine. These types of mica are exported to several countries. New technology is also used for mining in Bogala Graphite.


9. Uthuwan Kanda Village

This natural attraction is located within a 1 km distance in Uthuwana route from Uthuwan Kanda village not far from Mawan Falls in Colombo-Kandy road. It is rather famous as the dwelling place of worldwide popular Soora Saradiyel who is known as “Sri Lanka’s Robin Hood” alias “Sinhala Robin Hood”. The fabulous hill is 431 m high from sea level. The gigantic rock on a hilltop which is considered a remarkable creation of Mother Nature, states the legend of sole antipathy against inequity and injustice of a brave Sinhalese. At that time Uthuwana village was a blooming area of coconut cultivation. Using the sound “Uthu”, which means in Sinhala coconut, the area name was denominated as “Uthuwana” which declares the meaning, forest of coconuts. The limestone cavern that is considered to be the dwelling of Saradiyel can be met on top of the hill even Signature of Sri Lanka 247 today. The space in the cavern gradually falls short from the stand height of a man to a lesser space enough only to crawl. There are several high rocks on the cave and the peak of these rocks open up a clear view of the vicinity including the Colombo Kandy route. “Soora Saradiyel” might have used this rock to be safe from wild animals and to scrutinize the rival invasions afore. The documentaries that untwist the secrets about Sinhala Robin Hood are police reports written in the imperial administrative period, news reports and petitions of mudaliers. The legends about Saradiyel declare that he had shown morale and courage that surpasses the brawn of his own meager body against injustice and inequity. Lots of people have brought out lots of viewpoints about Saradiyel. He has looted from British rulers and wealthy chetties and has ladled out among the oppressed poor in the society. However, he did adieu forever on 7th May, 1864 spending only 32 years as a hero of the poor.


10. Belihuloya

Belihuloya town that is known as Galagama belongs to Imbulpe Divisional Secretariat in Balangoda and there are lots of important villages around Belihuloya like Silogama, Ihala Galagama, Karagasthalawa, Pambahinna, Muththettuwagama, Kumbalgama, Kinchigune, Olithenna, Puwakgahawela and Halpe. Belihuloya, full of historically and culturally important enticing places, waterfalls, and flamboyant ranges of mountains is located 625 m high from sea level.

The area name Belihuloya was popularized on account of Belihuloya rest house. Also, the region becomes significant as the initial station of the short-cut that proceeds to Horton Place. The area name Belihuloya has become famous also due to the recently initiated Samanala Wewa reservoir, Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka and furnaces with the old technology of melting iron and steel found within the area of Belihuloya.

The beautiful cascade that is created by Belihuloya River adjacent to Belihuloya rest-inn is also an important reason for this milieu to become a comely wet ground of local and foreign tourists. Belihuloya takes the shape of a cornet by being encircled by a range of mountains arêtes that open to Kalthota dale. The site of upper Bakers Falls, next Pahanthudawa Falls and thereafter Galagama Falls enhance the elegance of this area. Similarly, enumerate comely waterfalls have resorted in Belihuloya.

As a tourist-niche, Belihuloya is a spring-head that enhances natural resources and climatic complexities. Especially, the Samanala Wewa atmosphere is occasionally a vapory zone. It seems that the Samanala Wewa forest which has an exhilarating and surprising atmosphere has been an archaeological nursery of local metal technology. Afforestation of pines in slops of mountains seems to have been created in a congenial way for tourists by nature.

The rural development niche located on top of a fascinating mount unfolds an elegant view of Samanala Wewa reservoir and vicinity around. Thereby Balangoda and adjacent areas seem like a tourist wet-ground. Involuntarily foreigners get amazed by experiencing the volatile atmosphere that would change in every second as if there was a cloud of mist the next moment it would transform into the fairness of sunlight. Diversity of this volatile atmosphere creates the beatific wet-ground of local and foreign tourists; Belihuloya.264 historically important centres that have been fallen under the reservoir when constructing Samanala Wewa tank were identified recently. Most of them are hubs of melting ore iron alias pyrites using wind-powered iron melting technology. As these things can surprise foreigners, Belihuloya would definitely become a promote Centre of tourism and a centre that would bring forth human resources in near future.

Another main reason for Belihuloya to become the very place that would be capable of gaining the attention of the entire world towards the aesthetic delight of nature is the fame that sprung up with the location of Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka, Belihuloya. This zone of tourism becomes sake for the conditioning state of living and economy of regional residents.


11. Pahanthudawa Falls

The breathtaking Pahanthudawa Falls has situated about 2 km from the small town of Belihuloya in 19 km off Balangoda on the A4 road. This is the last one of a series of waterfalls created by Belihul Oya before it streams into Samanala wewa Reservoir. This waterfall creates a small but deep pool at the bottom which is said to be of immeasurable depth and is in the shape of a wick of a lamp- helps deriving it name (pahana – a lamp). To reach the falls, one should travel about 1.5 km on Ihala Galagama road starting from the famous Belihuloya Resthouse and follow the road leading to the mini-hydropower plant. Witnessing the falls is quite challenging as one must have to cross the stream and follow the steep valley upstream.


12. Kuragala monastery complex

Kuragala monastery complex can be sighted following a 2.25 km distance from the 14th-mile post in the Balangoda-Uggal Kalthota route. This is Buddhist traditional heredity which has seen the light and developed synchronous to archaic monasteries like Vessagiriya, Ritigala, Dimbulagala, Sithulpavuwa and Mihinthalaya. Among the few caverns, which are famous in relation to their religious, national, cultural and historical value, this cavern holds an inimitable place second to none. According to folklore, the old name of this massive rock is “Kuharagala”, not “Kuragala”. Though this place is called Kuragala in common, actually there are two rock-apical namely Kuragala and Hituwangala, which is named by dint of its natural site with a natural concavity in the east slope of the rock. This rock concavity is 5-6.5 m deep and large enough for two people to go in at once. Before reaching Kuragala one has to climb the old staircase made picking the rock and in a 100 m distance, there is an annular cant. Thence from left the cave complex in which antecedent Brahmi letters inscribed can be accessible. Hituwangala cave is situated on the right side of this. According to the Haputhale map, Kuragala can be described as the highest vertex in the precipice that spreads as a sloppy dyke in between 150-450 m contour lines directed to the south and southeast. Following the map, this precipice is long about 16 km from Bellangala Mountains that stretches to north-east and south-west directions to Diyainna, Kapugala and Bambaragala. This range of Rocky Mountains can be considered as a dense deposit of charnockite or “granite migmenise”. When observing the vicinity of Kuragala, the sight from south direction is the hydro-merge of Chandrika Wewa and Udawalawa that resembles horizon. From south-east, two massive reservoirs namely “Bindinu Mankada” and Hambegamuwa can be sighted. From northeast direction, the Haputhale range of mountains and Koslanda plateau add colour to the attraction. There are only a few caverns in the east Kuragala rock. The first cave is about 20 m long and 13.4 m high with dripledges. Also, there is a long lithographed inscription with antecedent Brahmi letters including the phrases mentioned below(dathahasa prahalene) means “the cave offered by Daththa”. “mreuliuh” (parumakasamaya) means “the main cavern”. There is another inscription written in double columns that would measure 10 m high in a separate cave in the same rock-hill. (parumaka (su) ma (na) ha) means “the chief Sumana’s cave and….” Currently, this sanctuary which was dedicated to Buddhist monks on day one is now a major holly place of Muslims whose shrine is called by the name “Dathaththaselan” is situated on the second rock. Though this name is considered as one of their holy names it resembles the same word “Dathahasapada Lena” inscribed in a stone inscription. According to old Sinhala, this cave might have been referred to as “Dathahalana” before contributing it to monks. The rock in Signature of Sri Lanka 79 which the cavern is located might have been referred to locally as “Dathahasela” in days of yore. Ven. Gnanavimala thero shows the Muslims who came here have changed the Sinhala name as “daththaselan” into an easy way for them to pronounce. Some of them believe that these Brahmi letters are the letters of Koran. The location of this sacred place is not easy to reach. One of the stretches of caverns that could be found by descending a short distance from the peak to the declivity is denominated as the place of worship. There is also a very abstruse rock chasm. Many years ago, a devoted Muslim ecclesiastic has once gone into this chasm never to return. Thence they believe that this chasm ends in Mecca. It is sited that Kuragala cave has a long history that has descended from the epoch of aborigines. Dispersed ruins have evidenced the fact Kuragala is not a secluded hermitage. Most of the mountain caverns in Sri Lanka belong to the hermitage genre including Kuragala too, which descends from 2-1 centuries B.C. Today the terrain is designated as archaeological conservation.


13. Duvili Falls

This magnificent waterfall crumples lamenting as loosened plait of hair of beauty from the summit to deep water receptacle at the cliff. Dispersed delicate driblets float in a milieu as a cloud of dust. The rainbow created penetrating the driblet cloud by solar rays is extremely intriguing. Duvili Falls can be reached by turning to the right at 16th milepost in BFallsngala Village at the Balangoda-Kalthota route and proceeding 4 km through the jungle. Another path that leads to the waterfall is Kalthota-Medabedda road that traces left to Ilukpelessa. Out of the five dusty falls in Sri Lanka, Duvili Falls is pre-eminent. It is reported that a British proconsul who was hunting elephants has found this cascade. Folklore reveals that a prince who lived in ancient history has ensconced his jewels in Signature of Sri Lanka 133 a stone cavity at this fall when he was standing at the bay. Villagers carry a belief that in the deep water receptacle at the feet of the waterfall lives an eel guided in golden earrings and a golden ash pumpkin. It is also said that “Katharagama deity” has brought Duvili falls into existence. The root-cause of Duvili falls, which would count 40 m high, is Walave River. When visiting this waterfall which is located in a dense forest of slopes and precipices one must beware of wild elephants. A species of vipers called “Trimeresurus trigonocephalus” is abundant in this forest. Two tele-dramas namely “Wana Wadule Wasanthaya” and “Ganga Addara Kele” have been recorded based on this waterfall. Bellangala area that encompasses the fall in denominated to be a preservative zone, as it is a rare herbal wild abundant in endemic herbs. As the first reserved lock of land of herbs in Sri Lanka, the Department of Wildlife Conservation with the intercession of the international fund on nature has designated a land of 300 acres as the forest reserve. The splatter of muddy dusty driblets like a cloud in the rainy season is like a gift from nature to a withered tree victimized by dry weather. Species of butterflies and Ceylon spur fowls (a species of woodcock) can be involuntarily seen in this area. As an enchanting heritages of nature, the jungle is dense with precious herbs like life-giver (species of Terminalia chebula), Sinu (Euphorbia tortilis), yellow myrobalan (Terminalia belerica), Emblic myrobaan (Phyllathus emblica), and large timber trees like Ebony (Diospyrus ebenum), Gammalu (Pterocarpus marsupium), and sandalwood (Santalum album). Villagers warn not to bathe from the area around the waterfall as it is dangerous.


14. Surathali Falls

This cascade is located in between Halpe 169th km post and Marangahawela 170th km post in Colombo-Badulla main route. One who proceeds on this route can experience the splendour of Surathali falls which rains down from 62 m up. The origin of this fall lies in Horton Plains, Kadawath Oya, which begins from the higher region of Bumton government estate in Mahaweli range of mountains, creates this waterfall. After the film titled “Surathali” has been filmed nearby this fall was popularized as “Surathali Falls”.


15. Seelogama Community Tourist Village

Seelogama Community Tourist Village, which is replete with natural beauty is a tourist site associated with Belihuloya Tourist Paradise. A program to accommodate lodging for tourists relating to houses in the village has been actuated by the Sabaragamuwa Province Ministry of Tourism. Especially through agricultural operations done in this village, traditional agro-industry that has been declining from us and rituals, language and mores that have been fabricated around traditional agro-industry could have been able to shield from eradication. Also, most of the features that are generally discoverable in an ancient village still exist alive in this area. Especially, the paddy fields prepared according to terraced cultivation are picturesque and add more to the beauty of this touristy village. Signature of Sri Lanka 243 Streams and cascades that flow down through this village escalate its natural beauty. The splendid range of mountains leading to Hagala and Paraviyangala at one side and Samanala reservoir at the other end of this village creates an exclusive paradise for tourist activities. At the village, travellers can have an enchanting view of the Nonpareil area and the lower part of the World’s End through the comely Hagala and Paraviyangala mountains. As this village is located in intermediate climatic zone, it consists of a higher bio-diversity level. Thus, Silogama village is home to wide variety of fauna and flora. Travellers who visit this village can experience various tour activities as bird watching, rock climbing, bicycling, boat riding and fishing. Also, this village procures great assistance for researches of natural ecosystems and explores of village agro-industrial lifestyle in Sri Lanka.


16. Udawalawa Elephant Transit Home

This is a place where abandoned and stranded jumbo babies are looked after till they are ultimately fit enough to be released back to the wild. This elephant transit home is situated in a land of 200 acres that is bound to Udawalawa reserve and Udawalawa National Park. It is significant in the entire field of wildlife in the world, as it is the foremost and the only elephant transit home of this type established to preserve world elephant affluence. Department of Wildlife Conservation maintains this place and was set up on 6th October 1995 as the pilot project by the Department of Wildlife Conservation under the considerable attempt of Dr Nandana Athapaththu, the former deputy director of the Department. Signature of Sri Lanka 195 In the sake of medical treatments and nourishments in this elephant transit home that was started by taking care of the jumbo baby named “Komali” in 1995, nearly 100 baby elephants have been cured and looked after unto now. The first group among them was released to the forest on 21st March 1998. Jumbo babies named Gamini, Panduka, Anuradha and Anusha were lucky enough to belong to the first group released. The second group to which baby elephants named Komali, Isuru, Sandamali and Mathali belonged was released on 1st July 2000. Jumbo babies named Pandu, Jayendra, Mahesh, Neema, Hema, Madara and Thamali, which belonged to the 3rd group were released on 18th January 2002. When transit home receives a baby jumbo first of all it is given first-aids and treated if it is wounded. Then the baby elephant is fed milk using bottles. An elephant baby in this shelter is given several meals of milk per day. The smallest baby jumbos are given milk powder for infants and little grownups are given children’s milk powder. In pursue of the fact, 99 milk powder packets each 400 g, and 6 milk packets each 1 kg, are needed to nourish baby elephants per day. Later on after one year or little more, they are trained for extra nourishments by feeding grass and leaves. Then gradually they were accustomed and given a considerable practice to go in search of water and to self-defence. When the time is ripe for enough of them to be sent back to their natural habitats, they are released to the Udawalawa reserve. There is an opportunity for any nature lover to participate in the conservation of wild elephants that are on the verge of extinction due to various reasons.


17. Udawalawa National Park

Udawalawa National Park which falls into two administrative Districts; Ratnapura and Monaragala is established based on the development project of Walave River. This area was asserted as a National Park on 30th July 1972 with the intention of protecting the fauna and catchment of Udawalawa reservoir. Udawalawa National Park is located approximately 200 km southeast of Colombo city. The 30,821 hectares of eco-tourism tourism destination falls a part of 10,300 hectares into Ratnapura administrative District. The entrance to this National Park can be confronted near the 7th milestone of Thanamalvila road that is accessible by proceeding in the Colombo-Ambilipitiya route and turning left from Thimbolketiya junction. Signature of Sri Lanka 197 This park is especially famous for elephants (Elephas maximus), which are mainly visible in the park in herds feeding in the grasslands. The annual rainfall in the park, which is located in the dry zone, is about 1,524 mm, completely depends on the south-east monsoon rain. The average temperature is about 29º degrees celsius. Part of the west area of this park belongs to the intermediary zone and comparatively gets excessive rainfall. Several foothills can be observed here and there in this plain grassland. Some of the most prominent features are the Kalthota Escarpment and spectacular Diyavinna fall to the north and in the west the foremost park Ulgala Mountain and Bambaragala, Remanikotha rocky plains. Elephants in numbers 450-600 exist in the park for now. Tall tree species like satin-wood (Choloxylon swietenia), Trincomalee wood alias Halmilla (Berrya ammonilla), ebony (Diospyros ebenum), Kolon (Adina cordifolia), Ceylon oak (Schleichera trijuga), chaste-tree (Vitex altissima) and KunumFalls (Diospyros ovalifolia) have dominated the park. In the riverine forest at Walave River, Kumbuk (Terminalia arjuna) and the endemic Mandorang (Hopea cordifolia) are predominant. Savanna grasslands are dominated by Mana (Cymbogon confertiflorus) and Iluk (Imperata cylindrical) and the scrub is invaded by clustery vegetation of Damaniya (Grevia tiliaefolia). Besides, invading plants like Gandapana (Mappia ovate) and Kuretiya (Memecylon rostratum) have covered some areas of grassland. As well as elephants among the large mammals, the spotted deer (Carvus axis), samber deer (Carvus unicolor), sand deer, Indian moose deer (Moschus miminna), wild boar (Sus scrofa) and water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) are re-establishing themselves. Other mammals live in the park include jackal (Canis aureus), wandaroo or large monkey, monkey, 198 SABARAGAMUWA golden musang (Paradoxurus zeylanicus), rabbit and polecat (Paradoxurus musanga). About five species of the mouse have been reported from the Thom-scrub now predominate. Leopard (Panthera pardus), Toddy cat (Paradoxurus hermaphrodities), small Indian civet cat (Viverricula indica) that belong to cat family and deer also live in this park. About 30 species of serpents and 3 species of mongoose (Herpestes griseus) have been discovered from this national park. Also, it is home to numerous species of avifauna. An internal road system including an entrance from Handagiriya area in Balangoda has been established specially with the anticipation of exploring hitherto unknown areas of Udawalawa National Park. This project is done on financial provisions and guidance of the Ministry of Tourism in Sabaragamuwa Province. There is hardly any facility for tourists to cover the entire park due to the discomfort of travelling inland interrupted by water-bearing grounds. The area that is newly open to the public is also a part of Udawalawa National Park. Fossils of Balangoda anthropoid considered to be the foremost joint of the chain of human linage in Sri Lanka have been discovered from the place named BFallsn Bandi Pelessa near Handagiriya in the park. Besides, a lot of antiquities can be sighted here though more than the visible are invisible under the cover of earth. Historical areas of archaeological remains like Pilima Edda Aara (Pilimeddara), Ambethota, Ulgala, Pansal Kulugala, Vidiya Godaella and Vehera Godaella and much more undiscovered areas yet to be discovered can be witnessed in the park. Bio-diversity in this wilderness sanctuary is at a higher level. The entire ecosystem which is home to numerous fauna species, foothills, rocky plains, wetlands, drylands, thorn-scrubs and river basins, can be happily mentioned as a legendary compliment of Mother Nature.


18. Wavulpane Limestone Cave

Wavulpane Limestone Cave is situated at a valley with acclivities belonging to Buluthota hills in Rakwana range of mountains the northeast of Ambilipitiya town. The only geological structure that has an interior cascade (sub-terranean waterfall) in the world and the largest and the oldest limestone cave in Sri Lanka is this cave which is located in the village called Wavulpane in Kumburugamuwa Gramaseva Division that belongs to Kolonna Regional Secretarial Division. There are three ways to access this place. Wavulpane Vidyalaya can be reached proceeding on Sanwardhana road that can be found by paddling 10 km turning to Buluthota route from Thunthota junction in Ratnapura Ambilipitiya route or proceeding along os Sanwardhana road that is confronted bypassing 14 km on 200 SABARAGAMUWA Ambilipitiya- Sooriyakanda route. There is only a 500 m walk from Wavulpane Vidyalaya to Wavulpana cavern. Instead, this cave can also be confronted by proceeding more than 10 km turning from Miriswelpatha junction in Kolambageara village beside RatnapuraAmbilipitiya main route. The environment in the vicinity of this cavern which is located nearly 912 ft. high from sea level, belongs to a government reserve. It is said that a surveyor named S. Frank, who came for regional survey adjustments in 1942, has estimated an area of about 29 acres and 20 roods from the vicinity of the cavern for a reserve. Even, Dr Arthur C. Clark who was a worldwide popular scientist has asserted that Wavulpane cave is 500 million years old. The annual rainfall of this area that belongs to an intermediary climatic zone is 4500 mm and the annual temperature is 29.5º degrees Celcius. South-east and south-west monsoon procure the rainfall bounteously. The vicinity of this cave is replete with solid that belongs to the Cambrian age. Streamlet called “Halvini Ela” that originated from the right ravage of the tributary of Walave River named “Adolu River” streams through the major limestone cave at Wavulpana. This limestone cavern, which has two parallel gateways, is 7.5 m tall and 5.6 m wide though the interior of the crypt would measure different heights in each location. Stalagmites and stalactites in these grottos elate the observers with wonder and pulchritude. The burgeon stalagmites and hanging stalactites have different girths. The interior of the cavern looks like a felicitous mansion engraved by nature. The hanging large stalactites from apical and dome-roof from qua chandelier alias candelabrum. Halvini rivulet streams through the dense darkness of the cavern creating small pools among riffles. Signature of Sri Lanka 201 Besides the main limestone cave, there are 12 more grottos in this limestone rock, some of them must be climbed using a ladder to reach. A cave that can be considered as a maternity home of bats is located above the right side of the exit. This limestone cave famed as a bats’ colony consists of a small cave named “Malwathu” chamber, which is used to whelp by bats. It is believed that this name referred to a large number of little bats in the grotto. Sometimes snakes, which loiter in the cave to prey on these night babies, can be confronted. Besides, this cave is infested with thousands of cockroaches and pests. It is discovered that more than one million bats abide here. This bat population consists of 7 species and nearly 7 lacs of them belong to a carnivorous species that depends only on insects like mosquitoes. The yellowish spring that emanates at the summit of the limestone rock is a significance confronted in the journey. Ancestors have believed that by bathing the amber water of this fount all the skin diseases can be healed. This fount flows with a capacitance of 261 per second and minerals like calcium, carbonate, iron, hydro side, and magnesium consist in water make it amber. It streams 75 m afar from the spring-head and pours down into the cavern at the defile creating an intra-fall in the limestone cave. This particular subterranean waterfall is about 15 m. tall. Wavulpana reserve which is located in an intermediary climatic zone is significantly home to the flora of both wet and dry zones. Through the estimations done by botanists, about 160 species of flora have been exposed in this reserve. This virgin reserve, which is still an intact ecosystem, is also home to two of the most world’s foremost paddy species namely Oraisa Gravlata and Oraisa Igniggiriya. The field of Madu trees (false saga palm or Cycas cricinalis) locally called “Madu Henyaya”, which spreads within 2 km distance from the limestone cave, must especially be mentioned here as it homes to much more than 4,000 palm trees. At a glance, this significant attraction reminds the Jurassic age lived about 18 billion years back from today. Wavulpana is one of our national heritages. A step beyond, it is also a world heritage. Thus, it is our responsibility to protect this legacy on behalf of prospective succession.


19 Sankapala Rajamahaviharaya and phussadeva Tomb

This historical cave temple is located a close distance from Ratnapura-Ambilipitiya main road. The chronicle of this sanctuary which is situated in Pallebedda village in Thambagamupaththuwa belonging to Atakalan Korale traces back to Anuradhapura reign. As the chunk of victory locally referred to as “Jayasankhaya” of the giant, great Phussadeva has been treasured on top of a colossal rock in here, this temple has been popularized as “Sankhapala”. Phussadeva giant has an inimitable place among ten great giants of unconquered King Dutugamunu who fought self-sacrificingly to rescue Sri Lanka from South Indian antagonistic calamity. Sankhapala is a nom de plume that has a historical weight that originated in the period before Christ. King Dutugamunu who cherished motherland and Buddhist 100 SABARAGAMUWA dispensation from inimical incursions has bestowed presents and village-grants to ten giants who have bolstered in uniting the country. Phussadeva has received Pallebedda village grant which spans roughly 12000 acres. The number of caverns discovered from Sankhapala mount by now is 14. Three stone inscriptions lithographed in Brahmi letters can be sighted in three caverns amended cutting drip-ledges. Historical information on giant Phussadeva who lived in the 2nd century B.C., is well matched with folklores. The conch vestige of giant Phussadeva has been inscribed on the left side of the inscription mentioned above. It is cited that this sanctuary which is invaded by the wild after Anuradhapura reign has been granted to Ven. Dharmarama thero by King Rajadhi Rajasinha in Mahanuwara epoch. Ven. Karathota Dharmarama thero has composed the difficult epic called by the name “Baarasa Kavya” and has offered it to King Rajadhi Rajasinha. It is mentioned that Ven. Bambarande Sri Siddhartha thero has done reconstructions here in the regal year 1860. In present this vihara is referred as “Maha vihara”. It is not sure that by whom and when the image-house in the centre of Sankhapala vihara has been erected. However, Buddha images and epigraphs in the sanctuary are rather parallel with Kandian arts in Mahanuwara ear. These murals have been lithographed in bested rock. The number of remains of lost history is still preserved in the mountain above the caverns of Sankhapala vihara. Among them, ancient inscriptions and dripledged caves are significantly large in number. Sankhapala sanctuary and its vicinity would be a precious knowledge hub for academicians in the thirst for exploring the blurred history with limits of time. Sankhapala has become a touristic sanctuary of both local and foreign travellers.


20. Maduwanwela Monor House

This building complex entitled “Maduwanwela Walavuwa” is located in Maduwanwela village that belongs to Kolonna Korale. One can reach the place by proceeding 22.5 km on Sooriyakanda road that starts at Ambilipitiya-Udagama junction in Ratnapura-Katharagama route or by proceeding about the same amount of distance to Ambilipitiya direction on Rakwana-Deniyaya route from Sooriyakanda junction. The entrance of the premises is located just beside Sooriyakanda-Ambilipitiya main route. This gateway is locally called “Gal Uluwassa” (stone door-frame). The stone doorframe is splendidly blazoned with decorative works. The arch fixed above to conjugate two doorframes is implemented in engraved stones. Signature of Sri Lanka 231 The image of the peacock mentioned in the poem cannot be seen today as it was stolen some time ago. The parapet which stretches from each side of the entrance is constructed parallel to the main route by using smoothed stones. It is clearly visible that the parapet is done using pillars that stood in equal gaps to strengthen the prakara. A décor of blooming lotus is created in the two pillars at each extremity. The mansion is positioned afield about 400 m from the stone doorframe. In the past, there was a line of beacons on each side of this approach. The glass covers fixed on these beacons were lit up at night. Before entering the mansion yard another gateway must also be passed through. Two images of lions and two images of doorkeepers are created in each side of the door. The Bodhi tree that was worshipped every day by the inmates of this manor-house in days of yore can also be sighted nearby. The ruins of the fountain which was once beautified the yard can be seen in the centre of the compound. Maduwanwela manor house is not a building complex that has been done in the lifetime of a single man. It owns some sections that have been constructed within the life span of at least four people. The mudalier named Vijayasundara Abhayakon Ekanayaka has resided in this terrain for the first time in 1700. Secondly, a person in the same generation who held the position of “Mohottala” has renovated the edifice. The third one is also a mudalier having the same name of the first. The octagonal bungalow locally called “Mahabangalawa” was erected in his time. The manor house complex was reconstructed at last in the period of a royal official named J.W. Maduwanwela. The edifice with two stairs in the west, the courthouse in the east and the new image-house called “Aluthviharaya” were erected in his time. The mansion with two stairs has been named “Burutha Maligawa”, due to the entire usage of satinwood in all the deeds that must be done in timber. This chateau was internationally shined out in the era of Maduwanwela royal official called “Ratemahaththaya”, particularly because he was a powerful and august demagogue like a King. Almost half of this demesne has been destructed in the pace of time. Few of the dyed edifices are residences that have been used by thousands of servants in the chateau including tinsmiths, carpenters, mahouts and herdsmen, stables and the shades where elephants were trained and looked after. Although it is said that there were 21 amid courts in this building complex, only 7 out of them remain today. Hence the number of bereaved edifices is considerable.


21. Morning Side

A traveller who proceeds from Rakwana to Morning Side can confront lots of attractions that cannot be seen anywhere else in the Island. The track that leads from Rakwana to Sooriyakanda is fascinating mountaineering. Ten bends that would draw parallel to 18 elbow bends, which can be confronted on the way to Mahiyangana, can be faced in the journey from Rakwana to Sooriyakanda. The forested Sinharaja wilderness sanctuary can be eyed at Sooriyakanda. Morning Side estate is located in a short distance from Sooriyakanda Bazaar in the Rakwana-Deniyaya route. There is only about 7 km from the junction that turns to Buluthota pass to Morning Side.

Not even a sign of the dawning sun that splits aurora in the eastern sky. The cataract of mist is thickly spread. Clouds of airy dew creep in. Vicinity is damp. Though a meagre light is scattered with sunrise, the act is incomprehensible. This charming world which is to be uncovered along with gorge proceeds through slops and forests veiled with a damp haze of mist is established away from human settlements not to make the place polluted by human touch. It is said that this valley was a tea estate of white masters in the colonial era through seemingly it is encircled by the peeks of Rakwana range of mountains namely Iththekanda, Buthkanda, Ilumbakanda, and Sooriyakanda entirely blocking the human contact.

This place has been accordingly entitled “Morning Side” considering the eco-conditions of the milieu. At present, this estate is abundant in both tea and cardamom plantations. Also, there is a bangle that seems to be owned by white masters. This access road which proceeds through abundant vegetation across the steep precipice from Sooriyakanda town is likely to appal strangers who enter the estate along this path. The gloomy, cloudy and rainy weather and thick unclear haze enhances the consternation.


22. Kiridi Falls

This beauty is located in a 6 km distance from Pelmadulla town. To taste the alluring beauty of this attractive which would measure 100 m high and 18 m wide, one has to complete an odyssey and the beauty would compensate the great effort at last.The causative factor for this is that one has to travel 6 km along Kuttapitiya road from Pelmadulla town and walk about 250 m along a steeply gorge which is really difficult to cross over to approach Kirindi Falls. And the danger of climbing down the same route back in return would add more to arduousness.

This place has been selected as a logistic tourist circuit under the assistance of Pelmadulla Divisional Secretariat and Ministry of Tourism in Sabaragamuwa Province with the intention of facilitating tourists. A observation platform and 425 concrete stairs have already been constructed. Climbing these stairs is also a tiresome deed though not as dangerous as before.

Kirindi Falls origins at “Kaluwara Mookalana” (Kaluwara virgin forest) which is located in higher region 8 miles away from the slope of the fall. Then it runs through two Gramasewa Divisions namely Kuttapitiya and Kirindi Falls. From the place that the steep ends onwards the stream is denominated as “Denawaka” River. Throughout its odyssey the stream has been denoted in several names. The fusion with Kalu River happens at Malwala not far from Ratnapura in Sri Pada route.

Distracting the elegant beauty of Kirindi Falls as an endemic latent desolation has overwhelmed its vicinity. If one turns his eyes from waterfall to its vicinity a sense of uncertain fear and doubt eventually appears deep within his or her heart. This sudden shock is an abstruse feeling which is enough to intimate the dreadful affliction upon transmigration. That itself is an excessively pleasing psychical condition. It is surprising to experience that a waterfall overflows in the season of heavy rain entirely dries up in droughts. On the other hand, though she is beautifully visible in heavy rainy days the sustained terrific and ferocious grimness is unavoidable. Her exceeding beauty would subdue you and strive to prey you. Thus one must thoroughly keep in mind not to be a prey of her current by being hasten to feel her infatuating beauty.

The vegetation spread over the higher region and vicinity of Kirindi Falls is distinguished as a reserve densely populated with valuable and rare trees and innumerable species of fauna. The forest is home to very precious herbal trees like Goraka (Garciana cambogia), Muguna (Mimusops elengi alias Sapot), Aralu (Oroxylum indicum), Weniwalgata (Coscinium fenestratum), Girithilla (Argyreria populifolia) and inestimable colossal trees like Hora (Dipterocarpuszeylanicus), Kekuna (Candlenut tree alias Canarium zeylanicum), Nathavu (Xylopia parvifolia), Oorukanu or Ooruhonda (Lasienthera apicalis), Welan (Pterospermum suberifolium) and Dum tree. Also quadrupeds like wild boar, Olu Muwa or Veli Muwa (barking deer), jackals, rabbits, Indian moose deer (Moschus miminna), porcupine and both venomous and anti venomous serpents like snake, viper, rock snake (Python molurus), Kunakatuwa (Hypnale nepa) and whipsnake (Passerita mycterixans) have made this reserve of their abode. It is said that earlier Kuttapitiya, vicinity of Kirindi Falls, was referred as “Kushtapitiya”, as the folk story goes, a King who suffered from a rare leprosy has kept himself in dark in this place.

Villagers’ opinion about the reason why this waterfall was named Kirindi Falls is due to the high density of Kirindi creepers that covered the whole area at that time. Elders still believed that they get rain in drought seasons by evacuating the natural pool locally called “Diyagathwala”, which is right at the feet of Kirindi Falls.


23. Sandagiriya village

Sandagiriya village which resembles an arboraceous of dense ranges of mountains, situated 42 km away from Balangoda town comprised of Meda Korale Helapalla area adjacent to Veligepola, is today introduced as “Katupath Oya” village. In pursue of the age-old ruins that dispersed in a large area around 36 sq km, it is clear that sandagiriya might have been a megalopolis and a kingdom in the bygone era. The ancient village, area names, reservoirs and dams, sanctuaries, stupa, Bodhi-ghara, palaces and parapets are the precise evidence that mirror the concealed metropolis in laps of time. In Mahawanshaya there is a mention of a prince called “Vikrama Pandya” who has kinged ancient “Kalathiththapura” alias Kalthota kingdom in sandagiriya area.

When inquiring information on remains in that area like ruins and inscriptions of Budugala, Piyangiri caves, piyangiri brook, and residual tiles and bricks, edifices, moonstones, balustrades, lithographed walls, monoliths, stairs, parapets, a stretch of fields, places of worship, and reservoirs it is obvious that this region has been a kingdom in far history.

Sandagiriya which was a fertile and luxuriant capital of dense population existed in the name “Sandagana Nuwara” in around 200 B.C. Ruins of the palace complex where the sacred tooth relic was once enshrined are considered as the most significant part of Sandagiriya.

In the days of yore, this area might have been abundant in red sandalwood (Pterocarpus santalinus) and sandalwood (Santalum album) that are remained over even today. Flora like sandalwood, Madara (Cluytia Collina) and kalunika ( a species of vitex) in Mahawalathenna adjacent to sandagiriya remain even by this time.

When considering the fact that Balangoda Bellan Bandi Pelessa were anthropoids of fossil age (Stone Age) who belong to a type of Homo sapiens in Sri Lanka lived thousands of years ago is located about 16km away to the right direction of Sandagiriya area which is also called as “Chandra Girl”. This area can be regarded as a significant quarter where the former colonies in Sri Lanka have been originated. It seems that arboraceous, uninhabited Sandagiriya that had been devastated in the lapse of time has been repopulated in the middle of the 19th century.


24. Budugala Vihara Complex

Kalthota junction can be approached by wending 30 km from Balangoda town. Thereafter, by travelling about 45 km along Diyavinna road that traces to the southern direction Budugala Rajamaha Vihara which has a significant historical value and the archaeological main–house land can be sighted in a short distance.This sacred land is located in Budugala archaic village alias Budugale Katuwa that lies adjacent to Mahawalathenna plateau. This ancient Buddhist sanctuary which is considered to be erected during Anuradhapura era has been under the regional governance of kalathiththa (Kalthota Kingdom) which was situated at the terminal border of Rohana domain in the days of year.

There is an archaeology complex on the right side of the sanctuary. It is mentioned in recorded history that a prince called by the name Vikum Pandi alias Vikrama Pandya arrived Sri Lanka in 1042 – 1043 A.D. and kinged kalathiththa (Kalthota) for one year.

The terrain is rich with a mass of ruins of his court. Ven. Kirielle Gnanavimala thero has explained in his book “Sabaragamu Darshana” that Budugala archaeology complex adjacent to Budugala vihara itself reflects features of remains of the mansion of prince Vikum Pandya. Thus it is obvious that the historical value of this sanctuary with ruins to inherits a long chronicle. A bruit that says that there was an old tunnel system which proceeds from kuragala to Budugala monastery complex, which is located at the feet of kuragala rolling hills exists in folklore. Remains that are considered of this tunnel system can be confronted even today. It is suspected that instead Kuragala there is another access opening at where the present Budugala – Katharagama devale . The prehistoric Lanka Pabbatha Vihara replete with rock caves chronically significant is situated in about a 15 km distance from Budugala monastery complex. Drip – ledges and inscriptions can also be sighted in these caverns. Though Budugala vihara and Pabbatha vihara are individually developed in present as two separate monasteries, there is evidence to prove that in days bygone these two terrains were conjugated into a single monastery complex. Formally, there had been lots of caves that have been transformed into sanctuaries by now. Budugala ancient vihara is also located in one cavern with drip – ledges and cave – abodes for arahants have been erected calling residual mounts and rocks into play. Thus it is conceivable that this place was a single monastery site.

Archaeologists who have weighed the letters and language pattern of the inscriptions in caves remaining mention that these inscriptions belong to 2nd centaury B.C. It seems that afterwards in an era of inimical calamity ( might be in the reign of King Walagamba) sacred tooth relic was hidden in Budugala and was safeguarded. Evidence that is usually visible in places where sacred tooth relic was enshrined every now and then is also reflected here.

Budugala vihara complex can be count as a part of “Maha Aranya Senasanaya” that has a direct connection with Kuragala temple. Budugala hermitage with few stone caverns spreads in a large area of over 15 acres. Main – houses, drip – ledged caves, promenades and stone urinals and toilets evidence the fact that formally meditative arahants have lived in this monastery complex. When cogitate about ruins preserved unto now in the place which is considered to be the Dharmasala, it is obvious that the technology of this is not second to Anuradhapura architecture. Six reciting rooms have been dispersed around and can easily be found among the ruins. The huge dilapidated edifice which would measure 65 ft. long and 38.8 ft. wide near the extant main route and bund of the brook can be recognized as the first reciting hall.

Budugala is the main terrain that is included in the nomenclature of places with prehistoric paintings in Sri Lanka. The honour of being the first to mention the lithographed tableaux in this cave temple have been acceded by Dr P.E.P . Daraniyagala. Another significant factor is that Budugala has been the only place in Sri Lanka where a tableau of a lion can be found out of all the places having lithographed tableaux. Chronicles of history show that many archaeologists have researched on this sacred terrain concluding various opinions. By the time unto now, a stupa and an Avukana Buddha image that would count 18 cubits high have been erected on top of the rock. A vihara house, dhammasala and a hermitage are constructed at the feet of the rock.


25. Pethangoda Park

Pethangoda Park is situated in a short distance of 200 m in the Warakapola- Anguruwella road that deviates from Kegalle- AwissawFalls highway from Anguruwella Junction. Also this historical resort can be reached by crossing over the Gurugoda Lake that streams by Kanaththota town. Pethangoda Park which lays the foundation to lots of legends about Seethawaka reign that came alive after Kotte reign is located in the valley of Gurugoda Oya, a tributary of Kelani River. The terrain is affiliated with history due to the King Rajasinha I who kinged Seethawaka kingdom.

The historical sanctuary that continues to be significance since 16th centuary is situated in an attractive landscape adjacent to the main road. The rapport between Kotte kingdom and hill country was negotiated through this road. It had also become the track of association between Seethawaka kingdom and hill country. Considering the beauty of nature Pethangoda Park is utilized as a place worthy to linger and have a rest. The locality that is abundant with mountain passes was one of the favorite attractions of King Rajasinha.

The park was chosen as a recess of the King who was advancing to hill country with the intention of invading the reign after uniting the low country by defeating Portuguese. The natural sanctuary might have been used as a harbour too. The park extends in a plain land over 42 acres is prosperous with various species of flora. It is said that when King Rajasinha journeys back to Seethawaka reign from Balana area adjacent to Kadugannawa in hill-country, he has lingered at the park for a change and faced the tragedy.

In relation to one folk story, a poisonous thorn of a spiny bamboo bush (Bambusa arundinacea) in the park was pricked in King’s foot and wounded. The King became bed-ridden by being poisoned. All the redressed done to cure him were unable to save him from death.

There is another folktale about the demise of King Rajasinha. The King who has entered the park to rest has passed around admiring the environment. A serpent has stung his leg at the spiny bamboo bush. Poison made him bedridden. Most of the followers suggested bringing a royal physician to doctor the King instead of practicing a quicker medication. Accordingly they send a massage to hill-country to inquire a cleaver physician. Though a specialist arrived by that time the condition of the King has reached an irremediable level. Meantime, the antagonists of the King wished the bane and charmed the worst for the King with help of a famous sorcerer named “Dodampe Ganithaya”. Villagers believe that by so doing King’s condition turned even worse, incurable by any medicine. The unconscious King has been taken to his kingdom by a catamaran. A folktale unfolds that King’s poisoned leg turned into chark black due to venom. Then onwards that particular area has been referred as “Anguruwella”. It is said that on the way back the King had a desire to foot on earth and then the ferry was stopped beside the river bank and at the very second he foot set on earth his leg crippled.


26. Berendi Kovil

The historical terrain is located adjacent to Thalduwa area in Avissawella- Kegalle route. The temple which was erected by “Aritta Kee Wendu Perumal” in the reign of Seethawaka Rajasinha, is dedicated to Shiva deity. Today it is known as Berendi Kovila and exquisitely done stone engravings and ruins can be seen in this holy place.

Seethawaka River compasses the fane from three directions. The stone bridge which would measure 4.6 m wide and 4.6 m long evidence the moat that was there only in the west direction. It can be guessed that there might have been a staircase that gradually ascends from the stone bridge to the fane. Ruins of smoothened stone spall and balustrades split around to prove the fact. The Hindu temple which is entirely made of boulders is rich with elegant engravings. The floor of the square chamber is outspread with stone titles. Monoliths, guard-stones, stone walls, pillars, lotus designs, capitals and petal designs can be sighted even today. One stone of the foundation contains with an engraving of a parrot. Folklore reveals that this fane was erected by King Rajasinha to do inflorescences for the goddess named “Mother Khali”.


27. Delagamu Raja maha Viharaya

This vihara is located in a highland close to Kuruvita town in Ratnapura- Colombo main route. As the sacred tooth-relic was hidden in this vihara for security purposes in Seethawaka reign, the documentary evidences of the history of this sacred place were descended from Seethawaka era though the history goes further back even from Kotte epoch. In both works locally called ‘Rajavaliya’ and ‘Sulu Rajavaliya’, which are considered to be written in the same era, Degalgamuwa Vihara is mentioned as “Sabaragamuwa vihara”. This sacred complex is also referred as “Labujagama Vihara” in the great epic ‘Mahawanshaya’ and as “Degalgamuwa Vihara” in another epic named ‘Sawul Sandeshaya’. Only little historical information has been uncovered by examining literal and historical books, ancient written records and Olas and through fading folklores with the limits of time, as unfortunately no excavations done yet in this sacred place. The ancient vihara complex, stone gateway, two chronic staircases, a creeper designed stone altar, the sacred antique ragi mortar, which supplied security to sacred tooth relic once, and the Bodhitree and iron-wood tree that have been silent observers throughout the history of vihara exist today as immemorial remains of Delgamu vihara complex. Ruins of the foundation of ancient Dalada Maligawa and the outer prakara can also be seen here. The reconstructions were done later on after Portuguese have destroyed this sanctum sanctorum, where the sacred tooth relic was safe and secured for 43 years. The ragi mortar, which provided security to the sacred tooth relic, is now exhibited in vihara complex.

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