Explore the fascinating caverns of Sri Lanka and learn about its rich history, culture, and geology. Discover ancient rock formations, complex cave systems, and stunning cave temples in these unique caverns. Here are some must-visit caves in Sri Lanka:
1. Dambulla Cave Temple
Dambulla Cave Temple, often called the Golden Temple of Dambulla, is a world-renowned cave temple in Sri Lanka that no tourist should miss. The five caverns that make up this UNESCO World Heritage Site are famous for the beautiful sculptures and elaborate paintings that decorate them. These caves date back to the 1st century BC. Perched atop a towering rock formation, the cave complex provides breathtaking vistas of the landscape below, adding to the historical and cultural significance of the location.
The most famous cave complex in the world is located here. It has colorful rock art and breathtaking depictions of Buddha. Until the Kandyan period of the 18th century, these magnificent works from the Anuradhapura era remained undamaged. The Great New Cave, the main cave, is home to more than 150 life-size sculptures of Buddha and other notable personalities. The cave also has colorful paintings that depict many mythical scenes from Buddhism.
2. Ravana Cave
Just outside Ella, about 2 kilometers away, lies the Ravana Cave. With dimensions of around 50 feet in width, 150 feet in length, and 60 feet in height, this cave is on the smaller side. The Chronicle states that King Rawana uses the cave to protect Princess Sita. Located at the foot of a hill 1,370 meters above sea level, this cave is one of Sri Lanka’s most popular tourist attractions because to its wealth of historical significance.
According to legend, King Rawana used it to protect Princess Sita. Furthermore, it has a connection to the cavern at Bandarawela’s Dowa rock shrine. Archaeological digs have uncovered a human skull that dates back to 20,000 B.C. It is without reasonable doubt that King Ravana is responsible for the incredible exhibition of architectural genius that these tunnels portray. Connecting all the main cities, airports, and dairy farms, these tunnels provided a hidden path and a quick way to get over the Alps. These tunnels do not exist in nature; upon closer inspection, their artificiality becomes apparent. With its unique features, the Ravana Cave is undoubtedly one of the top caves to explore in Sri Lanka.
3. Must-see caves in Sri Lanka: Beli Lena
The ancient cave of Kitulgala Belilena, which dates back 12,000 years, is both interesting and important since it holds the secrets of a long-lost civilization. You may travel around 80 km along the Colombo-Hatton route to reach the cave. Dr. P.E.P. Deraniyagala has strong evidence to back up his claim that human settlements in Sri Lanka could have started in the Pleistocene.
Kithulgala Belilena was a major human community close to the Kelani River. And the discovery of Homo sapiens living there 624 meters above sea level during the Pleistocene era had a profound impact on the local people’s perception of the area. The two anthropoid fossils unearthed in Belilena have a respective age of 3,000 and 22,000 years, placing them squarely in the 12,000 B.C. era.
4. Matale Aluvihara Cave Temple
Famous as both a tourist attraction and a holy site devoted to Lord Buddha, the Aluvihare Rock Cave Temple is located near Matale. At Aluvihare, the ancient Pali language was painstakingly transcribing the spoken teachings of Buddhism (Tripitaka) onto palm leaves. Attractive features of this monastery complex include stupas, religious murals, and caverns. Both Hindus and Buddhists hold the cave temple at Aluvihare in the highest regard. You’ll pass a little museum on your route, which you may check out at your leisure.
According to folklore, the name Aluvihare (Ash Monastery) comes from the ashes of a great figure’s cooking fire, which he built upon three enormous rocks. Marvel at the magnificent Buddha murals and frescoes that decorate the temple’s vast caverns. In order to get to the caverns, you’ll have to climb quite a bit.
5. Waulpane Cave
Many consider this to be one of the must-visit caves in Sri Lanka. Near Udawalawe, in the Bulutota Rakwana range, is the limestone cave known as Waulpane, an important Sri Lankan archeological site. The Waulpane limestone cave, situated in the Bulutota Rakwana range close to Udawalawe, is an important Sri Lankan archeological site. Bats, lizards, frogs, insects, and fish of all kinds have adapted to life in the dark in this 400-meter-long cave.
You will be able to take a close look at the cave’s distinctive features once you get there. In this fascinating cavern, a peaceful stream winds its way through the center, while the walls reveal the secrets of long-lost fossils. Plus, it’s ideal for taking in the sights because of the beautiful waterfall that sits right in the middle. The one and only internal waterfall in Sri Lanka is on display in the cave’s core, making for a spectacular natural attraction.
6. Hunugalagala Limestone Cave
In the picturesque Haldummulla area, in Sri Lanka’s Badulla District, you’ll find the Hunugalagala limestone cave. The rock sculpture dates back millions of years, and at least four thousand years ago, foraging communities made use of the caverns in the area. The ground around the cave is littered with exquisitely carved microlithic stone tools (quartz) and grindstones used for grain preparation.
For Sri Lankan archaeologists, the Hunugalagala cave is an important site.
7. Cave of the Hanging Lake
In the heart of Sri Lanka’s central highlands is the breathtaking Cave of the Hanging Lake. An absolutely extraordinary natural phenomenon calls this cavern home. The inside is a marvel to see, with a limestone cave housing a suspended lake that gives the place an ethereal feel. The cave is accessible to those who are up for the challenge of navigating a path through verdant vegetation. The views of the lake and the stunning scenery make the journey worthwhile.
8. Bogoda Cave
King Walagambahu erected the temple in Bogoda Cave, close to Badulla, in the first century CE, according to a brahmin scripture discovered there. During the Kandyan period, the temple was renovated and decorated with beautiful paintings that displayed the creative abilities of the people who lived there in the image house.
Down a flight of stairs, there was a platform on the temple’s right side. The stories say that once upon a time, there was a monarch who hid in an ancient tunnel. For those seeking the must-visit caves in Sri Lanka, Bogoda Cave is a must-have on your list.
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