15 Caves You must Visit in Sri Lanka

While Sri Lanka has plenty of gorgeous panoramas to take in above ground, some of the most amazing natural wonders our sunburned Island country has to offer to exist deep below its surface; filled with stalagmites and crystallized stalactites, these are some of the best caves in Sri Lanka for some low key spelunking.

Note: Obtain a local professional guide and check the local weather conditions before you embark on your adventure. And be sure to bring the necessary types of equipment. 

1. Dambulla Cave Temple

Dambulla Cave Temple

Dambulla Cave Temple is located at an altitude of 1118 feet from sea level; rises an extensive rock from the around fields of Dambulla of 600 feet high and over 2000 feet in length. It is the place of the Worlds most acclaimed Cave complex of majestic Buddha Images and Rock Paintings of bright colours and shapes constructed and painted in the Anuradhapura era (2nd Century BC )and stayed up until the Kandyan era of the 18th Century. Sinhalese people describe it as ‘Dambulu Gala’ ( Dambulla Rock), and the Temple is called the ‘Rangiri Dambulu Viharaya‘ (Golden Rock Dambulla Temple).

2. Matale Aluvihara Cave Temple

Matale Aluvihara Cave Temple

Aluvihare Rock Cave Temple is located in Matale, a significant tourist attraction and a shrine devoted to Lord Buddha. Aluvihare is where the verbal education of Buddhism (Tripitaka) was drafted into Pali on palm leaves.

This monastery complex is a fascinating place with caves, religious paintings, and stupas. The Aluvihare Rock cave temple is adored by both Buddhists and Hindus. There is a little museum on the path, which you can view within a short term.

According to myths, a giant used three rocks as a base for his dish pot, and the name Aluvihare (Ash Monastery) refers to the ashes from the cooking fire. You can see the Buddha paintings and frescoes used to decorate the large caves of the temple. There are lots of steep stairs to the caves. More Details

3. Batadomba lena cave Temple – Kuruvita

Batadomba Lena Cave – Ratnapura

The Batadomba Lena Cave Temple, also known as Diva Guhava archaeological site, holds testimony of occupancy from as early as 8,000 years BCE. It is one of the sites whose discoveries support the “Out of Africa” hypothesis, according to Professor Paul Mellars, a Cambridge University paleontologist. Among the evidence of Balangoda Man he unearthed at the site were stone accessories defined as an arrow – or spearheads and nicely shaped and perforated pebbles made from ostrich eggshell fragments. One piece of an ostrich eggshell, carved with a distinctive criss-cross motif, has also been discovered. Batadombalena Cave has an area of approximately 15 m × 18 m × 24 m. More Details 

4. Ravana Cave – Ella

Ravana Cave - Ella The Ravana Cave has found about 2 km from the city of Ella. It is quite a little cave, covering about 50ft wide, 150ft long and 60ft high. Chronicle says that King Rawana uses the Cave to protect Princess Sita.

The Cave lies 1,370 m above sea level on the bottom of a hill and is one of the most attractive tourist attractions in Sri Lanka with historical significance.

The story has it that King Rawana used it to protect Princess Sita. It is also attached to the Cave at the Dowa rock temple in Bandarawela. Archaeological findings hold a human skull dating back to 20,000 BC.

These tunnels show exceeding uncertainty through the architectural brilliance of King Ravana. The tunnels served as a quick midpoint of transportation through the mountains and a hidden path—people networked all the important towns, airports, and dairy farms. Close observation of these tunnels symbolizes that they are artificial and not natural formations. More Details

5. Nil Diya Pokuna Cave – Ella

Nil Diya Pokuna and caves is an underground cave acquisition assumed to be a part of the King Ravana legend. 100m underneath the surface.

The highlight of the place is the underground pond containing bright blue colour water that goes deep into the rock. The climb downhill is a challenging trail, passing narrow passageways and wet cliff edges, so get a convincing guide with you. More Details

6. Beli Lena cave – Kitulgala

Kithulgala Belilena, one of the country’s most exciting and vital ancient caves, holds the secret of a lost age some 12,000 years ago. One can reach the Cave by driving approximately 80 km through the Colombo-Hatton highway. There are significant pieces of proof to determine the view of Dr P.E.P Deraniyagala that the human settlements in Sri Lanka might have started as old as the Pleistocene Age. The knowledge about Homo Sapiens who live 624 m above sea level relating to Pleistocene Age found from Kithulgala Belilena, a principal human settlement adjacent to Kelani River, was a great help to enhance the knowledge about aborigines.

Two fossilized bones of anthropoids that lived 3,000 years back and 22,000 years ago directly have relationships with the 12,000 B.C. period and have been identified through excavations in Belilena. More Details

7. Fa Hien cave Temple

Fa Hien cave Temple

Fa Hien’s prehistoric Cave at Pahiyangala Rock is one of the offbeat and important prehistoric places in Sri Lanka. Archeologists have found that these caves had been inhabited by prehistoric cavemen who called this cave home 37,000 years ago. Thus, making this Cave the earliest prehistoric settlement in Asia and the largest naturally composed rock in the entire Asian continent.

If you consider yourself courageous, you can hike to the top of the rock without much trouble. More Details

8. Waulapane cave- Udawalawa

Waulpane limestone cave

Waulpane limestone cave is found in the Bulutota Rakwana range near Udawalawa and is an imperative archaeological site in Sri Lanka. Waulpane limestone cave is placed in the Bulutota Rakwana range near Udawalawa and is an important archaeological site in Sri Lanka. This Cave is over 400m long-drawn and could witness hundreds of thousands of bats, lizards, frogs and various insects and fish that have adjusted to the dark.

You access the Cave and get the opportunity to analyse this unusual nature. About 300m underground, you will expose to the ancient world of ancient fossils in the cavern walls and a stream within the Cave. Furthermore, an impressive waterfall is placed in the centre hence it is ideal for views.

The Cave’s epicentre cascades a brilliant creation of nature, the only internal waterfall in Sri Lanka. It is 60 ft tall and is estimated to be the tallest interior waterfall on the island and the 2nd highest in the world. The critical point about this waterfall is that the volume of water that cascades down the rocks predominate during the year. The environment, water in the stream, or other environmental factors do not affect the waterfall volume. More Details

9. Bogoda Cave

Bogoda Cave

Bogoda Cave temple, located near Badulla, was constructed during the 1st Century by king Walagambahu as documented by a brahmin scripture at the temple. The temple had been refurbished during the Kandyan period and painted with beautiful paintings with dwellers’ art in the image house.

A few steps led down to a platform on the temple’s right side. Here there is an old tunnel that had been utilized by a king as an escape route from the opponents, according to the legends. More Details

10. Andirilena Cave

Andirilena Cave is located near Udagama, about 30 km from GalleCave has a medium-high entry that is only about 4 feet high. A few tunnels joint inside the Cave; you should go through each connected tunnel. 

11. Pannila Calcareous Cave

Pannila Calcareous Cave

Pannila Calcareous is located near Rakwana and consists of two caves near a stunning cascade. A stream flows via the foremost Cave that guides to following smaller caves directing to the second main Cave. The area also has natural habitats like diverse fishes, reptiles, bats, butterflies, and birds.

12. Stheeripura Cave

Stheeripura Cave

Stheeripura Cave is found at Kiriwanagama, about 16 km from Welimada in Badulla District. The Cave consists of a sequel of three caves. It is considered from the myth; that King Ravana of Sri Lanka had utilized the Cave to hide princess Sita. According to the Ramayana trail, princess Sita was abducted from her husband, Prince Rama of India, during the battle between King Rama & King Ravana.

13. Mahalenama Cave

Mahalenama Cave’s ancient Buddhist monastery is found close to Kumana and Lahugala National parks. According to Vedda’s (indigenous Community in Sri lanka ) myth, a short animal but the shape of a human lives in this area and is known as the Nittevo. However, others determine them with an extinct species known as Rahu valaha.

14. Hunugalagala Limestone Cave

Hunugalagala Limestone Cave

Hunugalagala limestone cave is Located in Haldummulla, Badulla District Sri Lanka. The rock figure was composed million years ago, and evidence found that the foraging societies utilized caves in the surrounding area at least 4000 years ago. Grindstones used for cereal processing and elegantly manufactured microlithic stone tools (quartz) are visible on the ground at several locations not far from the Cave. Hunugalagala is the foremost Cave designated for in-depth archaeological research in the history of archaeology in Sri Lanka. 

15. Kuragala Cave Temple

Kuragala Cave Temple

Kuragala monastery complex can be found following a 2.25 km range of the 14th milepost in the Balangoda-Uggal Kalthota road. Classical Buddhist inheritance has seen the light and received synchronous to ancient monasteries like Vessagiriya, Ritigala, Dimbulagala, Sithulpavuwa and Mihinthalaya.

With the few caverns notable for their religious, national, cultural and historical value, this cavern exists as a unique site second to none. According to legend, the old name of this giant rock is “Kuharagala”, not “Kuragala”. Though Kuragala, in general, defines this site, there are a couple of rock-apical, namely Kuragala and Hituwangala, which are designated by dint of its natural area with a natural concavity in the east slope of the rock. This rock hole is 5-6.5 m deep and wide enough for two personalities to go in at once. More Details

Suggested read: 32 Best  Places to Visit in Nuwara Eliya

Picture of Ravindu Dilshan Illangakoon

Ravindu Dilshan Illangakoon

As co-founder and Head of Content at Sri Lanka Travel Pages, I ensure that every blog post we publish is AMAZING.

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