Samangala Senasanaya Road, Weranketagoda.
A27 Ampara-Uhana-Maha Oya Highway, at Goonagolla turn right on Gonagolla-Bandaraduwa Road, left on single lane gravel road Bandaraduwa-Samangala-Waranketagoda Rd. Turn right on service road Samangala Road which ends at the hill, signposted.
|Classification:||Cave Church Tectonic Cave Erosional Cave Painted Cave|
|Guided tours:||self guided|
|Address:||Samangala Ancient Cave Temple, Samangala Senasanaya Road, Weranketagoda, Tel: +94-.|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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සමන්ගල පුරාණ ලෙන් විහාරය (Samangala Purāṇa Len Vihāraya, Samangala Ancient Cave Temple), or also Samangala Aranya Senasanaya, is a series of natural caves in the forest. Samangala is a hill composed of granite, mostly bare of plants, which is about 150 m asl high, while the surrounding plain is mostly around 80 m asl. Huge granite blocks have both erosional ledges and overhangs, and cracks which were widened by erosion, but also some tectonic caves cause by the subsequent movement of the boulders, which came to rest enclosing a crack. The numerous caves, some 50 of them, were used by King Saddhatissa (137-119 BC) of Anuradhapura to build a monastery. Today only a few walls and buddha statues remain, nevertheless the site is quite interesting with the numerous caves, some of them are quite huge. About ten of the caves are easily accessible, the rest are hidden in thick jungle. Due to its remote location its quite off the beaten track, we recommend to hire a guide.
The first Cave Temple Complex was built by King Saddhatissa (137-119 BC) of Anuradhapura. Some caves show Brahmin inscriptions, drawings of the vaddha community which can be seen on another cave suggest that these caves had been used by the Veddhas in a later period when the hermitage was abandoned. During 30 years there was a bloody separatist war, all Sinhalese Buddhists in the region were either killed or chased away by Tamil Terrorists. Now after the end of this conflict, a few priests are trying to re-establish the hermitage.