Must-Visit Caves of Sri Lanka

by | Jan 13, 2020

Dambulla Cave Temples

Undoubtedly the most popular of all caves in Sri Lanka is the Dambulla Cave Temple, also known as the Golden Temple of Dambulla. Almost every round tour in Sri Lanka will cover this world
heritage site, which is the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. At the top of a 160m rock is a major attraction of five caves containing statues and paintings related to Buddha and his life. Along with other statues and sculptures, those of Buddha total to a whopping 153!

How to get there: Matale District, Dambulla Town. Along the Kandy-Jaffna Highway.

Batatotalena (Batadombalena) Cave

Holding significant archaeological importance is this fairly large cave of Batatotalena. This cave shows human habitation since 32,000 BC and it is also believed that 10 skeletal remnants of old human remains of Sri Lanka have been excavated from here. One of whom was known as the “Homo sapiens Balangodensis”, or the Balangoda man, who was also said to have been responsible for creating the Horton Plains agriculture.

Cave measures: 49 feet high, 59 feet wide, 82 feet in length.

How to get there: Sabaragamuwa Province, reach Kuruwita Town and 8km from there is Sudagala Township. A 400m hike from Sudagala and a 50m climb will bring you to the entrance of Batatotalena Cave.

Pahiyangala Cave

Also known as the Fa Hien Cave, Pahiyangala Cave gets its name after the Chinese Buddhist monk Faxian. He was also a translator who traveled to other sacred Buddhist sites such as Nepal, India and Sri Lanka during the 5th century AD. The Fa Hien Cave is considered an archeological and paleontological gold mine because of the human occupation evidence from 33,000 years ago and skeletal human remnants from the late Pleistocene era.

How to get there: Western Province, Kalutara District. Reach Bulathsinhala Town and 5kms away is the remote village of Yatagampitiya, which is where Pahiyangala Cave is located.

Belilena Cave

If you’ve got Kitulgala on your Sri Lanka tour itinerary, Belilena Cave is easily accessible from there. This cave proves evidence of Sri Lankan civilization from about 12,000 years ago, most likely occupied by a Balangoda man. Getting into the cave requires climbing on a rope ladder. Inside the cave mouth is a lake that is largely unexplored so be ready to come across fauna that is probably yet undiscovered!

How to get there: Sabaragamuwa Province. 8kms away from the town of Kitulgala.

Wavulpone Cave

Inhabited by about 250,000 bats is the famous Wavulpone Cave in Sri Lanka. This cave holds the largest known congregation of Bats on the island, and this is where it gets its name from – Wavulpone – meaning a dwelling of Bats.

How to get there: Ratnapura District, northwest of Embilipitiya is the Kolonne Korale in the Rakwana range. Bulutota is the exact location where the cave lies 278m above sea level.

Mahalenama Cave

Also an ancient Buddhist Monastery, Mahalenama Cave is believed to be the place where a preserved Vedda legend race known as Nittevo existed. The Nittevo tribe is said to be a dwarfish race of men living in the Mahalenama region and is believed to have been exterminated by the Veddas about 250 years ago. The identity of this folk has been very controversial because some believe that they were a lost Negritoes tribe, some think they were ape-men, while others believe they were an extinct bear species known as Rahu Valaha.

How to get there: Ampara District, Southeast of Sri Lanka – Mahalenama is close to the Kumana National Park, or Yala East National Park.

Aluvihare Rock Cave Temple

Aluvihara Cave Temple is where the Buddhist monks initially wrote the Tripitakas, previously preached exclusively by word of mouth. As a result, this Cave Temple holds a historical and cultural significance to Buddhism. The Temple’s original existence dates back to the 3rd century BC, during the reign of King Devanampiyatissa. It is now a gallery of antiques, preserving Buddha statues
and other artifacts gifted by nearby Buddhist countries like Japan, Siam. China, Myanmar, and Cambodia.

How to get there: MataleDistrict, Aluvihara is 30kms North of Kandy, along the Matale-Dambulla road.

Sthripura Cave

The length of Sthripura Cave runs from Mathurata to Seetha Eliya, and the journey to the entrance of the cave is what makes it one of the most interesting caves of all. There are a series of three caves that are high enough to stand and walk in most areas. Legendary tales say that King Rawana used these caves to hide his beautiful Princess Seetha, whom he captured after defeating her husband, Prince Rama from India.

How to get there: Uva Province, Badulla District. Kiriwanagama is where the cave is situated, which is about 16kms from Welimada and 55 km from Belihuloya.

Pannila Calcareous Cave

This uniquely named cave includes two caves, both located near a beautiful waterfall. There is a stream flowing through the first cave, which leads to a series of smaller caves and then comes the second main cave. Pannila Calcareous Caves are home to a large variety of birds, butterflies, fish, reptiles, and bats.

How to get there: Sabaragamuwa Province, Ratnapura District – Rakwana Town.

Andirilena Cave

Although the Andirilena Cave is huge, the entrance is only about 4 feet high. Once you enter, several small caves join together.

How to get there: Southern Province, Cave is located 4kms from Udagama town.

Bogoda Cave

King Walagamba used Bogoda Cave as one of many hideouts when the south Indian forces invaded Sri Lanka. A unique feature of this cave is that it is believed to be part of a network of tunnels leading to other caves such as Rawana Ella Cave.

How to get there: Uva Province, Badulla District, Hali Ella is the closest town.

If you wish to visit any or all of these caves in Sri Lanka, simply click here and give us your travel details, our friendly team at Blue Lanka Tours will be more than glad to prepare an itinerary that includes some or all of these caves in addition to other popular tourist attractions in Sri Lanka.