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A visit to Ritigala Monastery

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As legend has it, Lord Hanuman traveled over Ritigala, and is said to have accidentally dropped a chunk of a Himalayan mountain he was carrying back from India for his mortally wounded brother Lord Rama, thus accounting for the pocket of vegetation of healing herbs and plants at the strange mini-plateau at the summit of Ritigala, distinct from the dry-zone flora of the lower slopes and surrounding plains. At 766 m (2513 feet) above sea level, and 600 m above the surrounding plains, Ritigala is the highest mountain in northern Sri Lanka.

Experience Overview

The ruins of Ritigala monastery are located on the eastern side of the mountain at the foot of the gorge which separates the main peak from the northern ridge of the range, covering an area of 24 hectares (59 acres). The 3776-acre Ritigala mountain range consists of four peaks, the main (and highest peak) is located at the south of the range, and named Ritigala Kanda. Ruins that can be seen include an ancient 366 meter man-made reservoir from 437 -367 BC. The edge of the reservoir is followed in a clockwise direction to arrive at the other bank, and cross the bed of the stream feeding the reservoir. The steep steps here onwards lead up to a beautifully constructed pavement, a stone path 1.5 meters wide that meander upwards through the forest, linking the major buildings of the monastery. The stone cut path is laid with interlocking four-sided slabs of hewn stone. Three large circular platforms at intervals along the pavement allow for rest. There are stone structures named double-platforms, which are characteristic of Ritigala and other forest monasteries. Raised platforms formed by retaining walls of massive stones are found in pairs, linked together by a stone bridge. The main axis of the combined platforms is set exactly east west. The structures were then most possibly roofed and divided into rooms. These are believed to be used for solitary practices such as meditation, as well as congregational functions such as teaching and ceremony.

Includes:  - Experience - Sri Lanka In Style
Includes:

Entrance Fees and water is always provided

Duration:  - Experience - Sri Lanka In Style
Duration:

Approx. 2 hours + the driving there and back or to your next activity.

Difficulty:  - Experience - Sri Lanka In Style
Difficulty:

Moderate, it’s not very high but there are some steep steps and it can be a hot walk through the jungle area.

Suitable for children:  - Experience - Sri Lanka In Style
Suitable for children:

Little children may not follow the explanations of the guide but they will love the natural environment.

What to wear or bring along:  - Experience - Sri Lanka In Style
What to wear or bring along:

Light clothing, sun cream, a hat, some mosquito repellent/ You might want to bring a change of shirt or t-shirt.

Private or not?  - Experience - Sri Lanka In Style
Private or not?

The visit is private, guided by your chauffeur guide, national guide or site guide. That said, there may be other people around at the site.

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Managing Expectations

It is important to remember that, whilst they are experts in their field, the people who run or host our experiences are not necessarily used to working in the tourism industry and may not offer the level of service you would find at a five-star hotel. For example, instead of a formal lecture, you may get a relaxed conversation where open discussion is encouraged. All of our hosts are, however, extremely engaging, knowledgeable and passionate about educating visitors about their chosen subject and we have worked with them to ensure that they deliver worthwhile, fulfilling experiences. We welcome feedback, so please let us know what you thought and if you think any improvements could be made to the experiences we offer.

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