Trek the Forest Monastery of Ritigala

On the forested mountainside sits the ancient monastery of Ritigala, whose mysterious ruins date back to the 1st century and are steeped in legend.

Ritigala is just over forty kilometres away from the ancient city of Anuradhapura, making it a great place to explore while in the area. The ruins of the monastery spread out over an area of 60 acres and are situated on the eastern side of the Ritigala Mountain - a Strict Nature Reserve and homes to many species of animal.

The Ritigala ruins

Set deep within the forest, the ruins of Ritigala are enchanting and mysterious. Don’t expect the site to be busy with tourists and developed like other spots; while many sections of the complex have been restored much of it remains in ruin, adding to the sites allure.

Once you pass the entrance to the complex you’ll follow a path that runs along the edge of the Banda Pokuna tank which was believed to be a place in which those visiting the monastery would first bathe before entering. The buildings of the monastery are linked by stone paths which mender through the dense forest and is occasionally joins one of the three roundabouts – circular stone structures which may have provided rest areas for the monastery goers in the past.

The double-platform structures you’ll come across while trekking along the paths are characteristic of Ritigala and other monasteries found in forested areas on the island. The platforms are found in pairs and are linked together by stone bridges. It is believed that the structures may have had roofs and been split into separate rooms, providing peaceful places for meditation and reflection.

The biggest stone structure belongs to one of the sunken courtyards, which again, are double-platform structures. This particular courtyard retains one of its original pillars which once supported the building.

Visiting Ritigala during your holiday

Being relative close to Anuradhapura, Ritigala is a trip you can make while visiting the other cultural gems found in Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle. Being specialists in tailor-made holidays to Sri Lanka we have lots of experience and can fully plan your perfect trip to the island, including fascinating tours of the best cultural sites Sri Lanka has to offer. Remember, Sri Lanka has more World Heritage site than even Egypt! If you’d like to discuss a trip with us, please do get in touch.


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Photos taken at the Forest Monastery of Ritigala

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