13 Stunning Places to Visit in Kurunegala

Kurunegala’s name comes from the massive “Elephant Rock”, which reaches 325 meters and is elephant-shaped, making it one of the prominent tourist places in Sri Lanka. There are diverse places to visit in the Kurunegala with various histories.  Kurunegala is the capital city of the North Western Province, Sri Lanka and was also an old monarchical capital for 50 years, from the end of the 13th century to the start of the 14th century. Further, the area is famous for its coconut plantations. As you plan to learn about the spectacular surroundings of Kurunegala and visit, prepare to be engaged with this list of attractions and adventure.

1. Athugala Rock Temple

Athugala Rock Temple
Athugala Rock Temple obtained its name as the stone is elephant appearance and is 325 meters high. The locals in the vicinity myth that the rock has formed due to animals turning into rocks inadequate to withstand the harsh dryness.
There is a temple on the summit of the rock and a giant Samadhi Buddha statue overlooking the city of Kurunegala. However, there is a temple on the top of the cliff, and people from many faiths visit the temple to relish the hike and the adventurous expedition towards the top of the peak.
You could use the stairs to reach the top of the mountain or use the vehicle to climb up. Hiking your route to the top of the hill is more pleasant than using a car to reach the top. Walking towards the top of the mountain is favoured by many people.
The most suitable time to start hiking up the rock is during or after sunset, giving a panoramic view of Kurunegala city. More Details

2. Arankele


Arankele is the ancient monastery acclaimed to be the premier Forest Hermitage of Sri Lanka was built in the past for the use of Bhikkhus involved in meditation. It was placed in the Ganewatta Divisional Secretariat Division of the Kurunegala District.
This Bhikkhu monastery is in a natural environment. It has mountain ranges and plateaus dotted with hundreds of structures such as padhanagharas and Jantagharas (hot water bathing houses), ponds, promenades, caves etc. More Details

3. Rambodagalla Buddha Statue

Rambodagalla Buddha statue

Rambodagalla Buddha statue is the most significant and highest rock-carved Samadhi Buddha statue in the world. This statue is 67.5 feet tall and is made from one large granite in the Rambodagalla Monaragala temple in Kurunagala district. More Details

4. Ridi Viharaya Temple

Ridi Viharaya Temple
Ridi Viharaya Temple was built where Silver ore was found and used to create Ruwanweli Dagoba at Anuradhapura by King Dutugemunu during his reign.
Ridi Vihara is an important Raja Maha Vihara referring to the Cultural Triangle. Historical Data on this Monastery complex is observed in amazing Caves written in Brahmin Inscriptions. They date posterior to the 2nd and 3rd Centuries BC. Throughout the time of Arahat Mahinda, many Arahaths are assumed to have resided in these caves, which number around twenty-five in the neighbouring area of Ridi Vihara and Rambadagalla area. The caves had been made by carving into the rock and donated by chieftains of the place to the Sangha. More Details

5. Yapahuwa

Yapahuwa is placed a short way from the Kurunegala-Anuradhapura road in the Wayamba region of Sri Lanka. Of all the old ruins in the country, the Rock Fortress Complex of Yapahuwa is extraordinary even though it isn’t famous to most visitors. But, it is distinguished as one of the most important archaeological places in the country. It is even rumoured to be more prominent than The Rock Fortress in Sigiriya.
In the early 13th centenary, Yapahuwa was the country’s capital, and it sheltered the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha for 11 Years. King Bhuvanekabhu I, the son of King Parakramabahu, who at that time ruled Dambadeniya, was placed at Yapahuwa to guard the Country against Attackers; made the castle and the temple. After the Fortress was left, monks turned it into a monastery, and monks still reside among the ancient ruins. Even now, early defence mechanisms can still be observed among the ruins. More Details

6. Panduwasnuwara

Panduwasnuwara is an old city in the Kurunegala region that performed as the capital of Sri Lanka for a short time. King Parakramabahu set up his provisional capital in this city during the 12th century.
During this time, Panduwasnuwara was the city home of the sacred tooth relic, which was brought back to Sri Lanka from India by King Parakramabahu.
Although Panduwasnuwara is not as dramatic as the capital cities Anuradhapura or Polonnaruwa, it is still worth investigating if one gets the possibility.
The place, which contains the ruins of ancient structures, is spread over an area of 20 hectares, of which some parts still need to be unearthed. More Details

7. Dambadeniya

Dambadeniya was the third capital in old Sri Lanka. (1233 – 1283 A.D.) Four kings established it. King Wijayabahu-III (1233 – 1236 A.D) raised his magnificent palace on the rock at Dambadeniya & turned it into the country’s capital in 1233 A.D.
There was a trodden path from the base to the top of the rock. The first segment of the course was recently built. Holding climbed about 100feet; the stepped way followed the ancient route constructed with decked stones. A sizeable rocky trap made ready to fall on the enemy’s battle, attempting to enter the Kingdom on the rock. Moreover, a narrow point of the stepped path enabled the Royal soldiers to cut the opponents one by one, which entered through.
The area of the top of the rock was not less than 6 acres. In addition, the Royal Palace complex, a temple for the Sacred Tooth Relic, three central ponds & defence objects were placed. More Details

8. Cathedral Church of Christ the King

Cathedral Church of Christ the King
The plan of the Cathedral of ‘Christ the King’ Kurunegala is cruciform. Most of the architectural details of the building have been inspired by the traditional architecture of the Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Kandyan periods. The main feature of the superstructure of the building is the Buddhist Octagon. Another essential detail is the arches in the building, as in the Lankathilaka temple. Following the Hindu concept of 9 Vimana, the altar of the Cathedral is placed within the highest part of the building. The roof of this sacred area has been constructed as an octagon structure to resemble the form of “Paththirippuwa” of the Temple of Tooth Relic in Kandy.

9. Athkanda Raja Maha Vihara Temple

Athkanda Raja Maha Vihara Temple
The temple was constructed in the Dambadeniya period during the 14 to 15 centuries; Temple recreated a vital role in rephrasing the Pali Jataka stories book to Sinhalese under the rule of the Dambadeniya king Parakramabahu IV. The image house has unique paintings and Buddha statues, and the Bodhi tree is believed to be from the Anuradhapura Era.
Parakramabahu IV of Dambadeniya was known as a great scholar and was called Pandit Parakramabahu. He made some significant contributions to Sinhalese literature and was responsible for writing the Dhalada Siritha. One of the leading publications was the translation of the Pali Jataka tales to Sinhala.

10. Deduru Oya Dam

Deduru Oya Dam
According to chronology, it’s believed that during the reign of King Parakramabahu I (1153-1186 AD), an irrigation system evolved focusing on the Deduru Oya. Deduru Oya Dam measures about 2,400 m wide and creates the Deduru Oya Reservoir, approximately 75,000,000 m3. Water from the reservoir is used to irrigate about 11,000 hectares (27,000 acres) of farmland and power a 1.5-megawatt hydroelectric electricity station managed by the Ministry of Power and Energy.

11. Maraluwawa Rajamaha Vihara Temple

Maraluwawa Rajamaha Vihara Temple
Maraluwawa Rajamaha Vihara temple is an ancient temple complex fibbing on the top of Andagala Rock. The history of this temple goes to King Dutugemunu (161-131 BC). The history of this temple is pleasingly written in the Andagala Copper Plates, which are held by the temple. These copper plates were presented by ruler Kirthi Sri Rajasinghe (1747 – 1781). Then, according to the written, this temple was refurbished by prince Pussadeva, the son of the sister of king Dutugenunu.

12. Yakdessa gala Mountain

Yakdessa gala Mountain
Yakdessa gala Mountain is where Princess Kuweni cursed her husband for leaving her. The meaning of Yakdessa gala is “Yaka-des, gala”, meaning “The stone where the devil(Yaka) cursed”, A princess named Kuweni left the palace weeping and lamenting, casting an evil hex on her husband Vijaya because he was bringing down a wife from India to fulfil the requirements to ascend the throne. So the princess moved to the Kurunegala region, to a rock overlooking the lake and in distress and with a broken heart, jumped from the rock hill, which is to date named Yakdessagala.

13. Siri Gautama Sambuddharaja Maligawa

Siri Gautama Sambuddharaja Maligawa

A shining example of both Sri Lankan cultural magnificence and Buddhist spirituality is the Siri Gautama Sambuddharaja Maligawa. In addition to commemorating the 2600th anniversary of Gautama Buddha’s enlightenment, this magnificent temple, finished in 2012, features lovely artwork created by Sri Lankan artists. With its in-depth examination of the temple’s spiritual significance, design, and history, this tour provides a unique viewpoint on this fantastic building.

Siri Gautama Sambuddharaja Maligawa is more than just a temple; it is a vibrant work of art that captures the artistic brilliance and deeply ingrained Buddhist traditions of Sri Lanka. It is clear that this temple is more than just a monument—instead, it is a living tribute to a rich cultural and religious heritage—when we consider its grandeur and spiritual resonance. More Details 

Ravindu Dilshan Illangakoon is a distinguished co-founder and Head of Content at Sri Lanka Travel Pages, specializing in web development and article writing.
Article by
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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