Ritigala Forest Reserve

One such site is in the monastic complex on the lower slope of Ritigala Mountain range and its elevation of 2513 feet, higher than the other main tourist attraction of the North central plains namely Sigiriya, Dambulla and Mihintale. This Strict Nature Reserve with Ruins of a Forest Monastery lies in to the Dry Zone of Sri Lanka, Ritigala has a rich documented history and is referred to as "Arittha-Pabbata" in the Mahavansa, the great historical chronicle which records that Pandukabhaya, the third king of Sri Lanka (377-307 BC) sojourned in the mountain for seven years preparing for the wars to capture the kingdom.

The ruins of Ritigala Monastery located on the eastern part of the mountain. The ruins covered area of 24 hectares. Terrace ways, circular terraces, a stone bridge, and remains of a giant stone banked pond built across a water stream. There are stone structures named double-platforms, which are characteristic of Ritigala and other forest monasteries such as Arankele, Veherabendigala and the western monasteries at Anuradhapura.

This mountain range comprises three types of forests. The bottom part of the mountain range is Dry Mixed Evergreen Forest type, the middle part of the range is a Tropical Montane forest type and the highest terrain of Upper Montana Forest type. Ritigala is the watershed of the Malwatu Oya (river) which feeds the Nachchaduwa Reservoir and Kalueba Ela (canal) which in turn feeds Huruluweva Reservoir.

Ritigala is an eco-tourist destination. Wildlife includes elephants, sloth bear, it is also rich in endangered bird species, including black eagle, grey Hornbill, Sri Lanka spur fowl, and Malabar pied Hornbill and spot-winged thrush. Rise medicinal plants and orchid.

Things to do ...