Caving, known by experts and ‘Speleology’, is a fairly new activity in Sri Lanka. With an impressive range of caves located throughout the central and southern region of the country, it is a once in a life time experience that will leave tourists amazed. It involves the exploration, surveying, mapping and photographing of caves situated around Sri Lanka. When the ancient kings were ruling the country, they used caves to escape from invaders. Most of the caves were decorated with paintings called frescos and they offered the caves to the monks when they returned to their palaces. Nowadays most of those caves are converted into Buddhist Temples or hermitages. Sri Lanka is so unique and diverse in its flora and fauna that there are an astounding number of features to see within its mysterious caves. Some even date back to approximately 500 million years, allowing amateurs and explorers alike to experience prehistoric features on a Sri Lanka Vacation.
Belilena Cave – Belilena is an enormous cave, in which the 12 thousand year old skeletal remains of the prehistoric man have been found. Recent archaeological excavations conducted at the cave have also unearthed several fossils believed to be more than 32 thousand years old! In order to reach the cave, visitors have to walk through the jungle which lies amidst the picturesque town of Kithulgala, where there are plenty of wonders to see.
Batatotalena Cave – Buddhist literature suggests that Batatotalena cave is the sacred place where Lord Buddha rested on his way back from Sri Pada (Adam’s Peak). Archaeological findings have proved that the cave dates back over 25 thousand years and has been used as a dwelling place during many historical eras. Various skeletal remains, ancient cave drawings and painting and a Buddhist shrine room have been excavated. Even today, a Buddhist priests calls it home! The cave is situated at Sudagala and in order to reach it, visitors have to walk a distance of 400 meters to the base and then another 50 metres to the entrance. There is a beautiful underground cave nearby which is partially submerged in a stream. Requiring a swim to get to it, this smaller cave has caused much enthusiasm among visitors.
Pannila Calcarious Cave – Pannila caves offers the chance to see an underground zoo. It consists of two caves which are situated near an enchanting waterfall. A stream flows through the first cave which leads to the next over a series of smaller caves containing ancient stalagmites and stalactites. The caves are estimated to be around 500 million years old and are home to a wide variety of animals. Visitors may encounter water monitors, butterflies, amphibians, fish and bats.
Waulpane Cave – Waulapane cave is also known as the Cave of Bats! It is renowned for its stalagmites and stalactites which are approximately 500 million years old as well as the hundreds of thousands of bats which call it home. The isolated cavern is set withing the eastern slopes of the Rakwana mountain range. Once visitors are inside the cave, they have to descend 300 metres underground where a prehistoric world of ancient fossils, trickling a stream and a beautiful waterfall awaits. Being deep within the cavern gives a thrilling and mysterious experience. Various species of fresh water fish and amphibians can be spotted in the depths of the stream.
Ravana Ella Cave – Ravana cave is rather small and fits snugly on the slopes of a hill which lies in a forest about 2 kilometres away from the picturesque town of Ella. Once inside the cave, there are several smaller caves which run deep into the main cave wall. Legend has it that this cave was used by Ravana the king of devils, to hide the beautiful Sita whom he kidnapped from Rama. It is also said to be part of a network of tunnels which leads to the Dowa rock temple at Bandarawela.
Bogoda Cave – Bogoda cave is thought to have been used by King Walagamba as one of his hide-outs from the South Indian Forces which invaded Sri Lanka during the ancient times. It is believed to be part of an extensive network of tunnels which leads to other caves nearby. However this cannot be proven at the moment as the cave only retreats 15 metres into the rock wall and gaps are no longer existent as they have been covered by dense vegetation and earth over the years.