Temple and Cave Walk
Pillikuttuwa Rajamaha Viharaya is a monastic meditation complex with some 99 caves spread over 200 acres. The temple is steeped in Sri Lankan Buddhist tradition and was built 2400 years ago during the regime of King Devanampiyatissa. The temple has been repeatedly renovated over the years, most notably by King Walagamba who adjoined more facilities to the complex 1100 years back. The caves were constructed with a unique drip ledge to protect the meditating monks from any rain, the ceiling of the rock caves are decorated with typical Kandyan art decorations and elaborate lotus flowers, and the reclining and sitting statues date back to the Polonnaruwa period.
An ancient wooden bridge across a small stream between two caves has its origins in the Dutch period, and was constructed with a wooden arch, pillars, trellis, and plank flooring. Providing a backdrop to the temple is the Pilikuttuwa Rainforest Reserve with its lush layers of tropical jungle and a large number of bird species adding to the serenity of the temple. Take a walk up the hill behind the temple and explore some of the many caves where monks would meditate. You will be treated to stunning panoramic views across the countryside at the top. The walk takes about an hour and is an interesting climb through the jungle up through the caves. Optional add on: If you have an extra hour or two, you could combine this trip with a visit to the Henerathgoda Botanical Gardens, a 30-minute drive away, which was established by the British in the 1800s by way of introducing rubber trees to Sri Lanka.