The fascinating activity of Caving is relatively new to Sri Lanka. The potential for this experience is all the more with the impressive range of caves in diverse terrains located throughout the country! Known to the experts as 'speleology', caving involves the exploration, surveying, mapping and photographing of caves. With some of the country's caves dating back approximately 500 million years; this is an adventure into the prehistoric! We provide local experienced guides and all the necessary gear (such as raincoat, head torches, helmets, ropes etc.) in making the activity accessible to amateurs and experts alike.
Andirilena Caves, Udagama
Situated about 4km from Udagama (25km from Belihuloya towards Colombo on the Balangoda - Colombo road), the entrance to the Andirilena Caves is a mere 4ft high. Once inside however, it is huge. The main cave divides into two, giving rise to several smaller caves on the way and joining together after about 500 meters.
Batadombalena Cave, Kuruwita
Batadombalena Cave is roughly the same size as the nearby Batatotalena Cave (50x60x80ft). Like Batatotalena, it is of great historic importance due to some fascinating archaeological findings such as the skeletal remains of the prehistoric 'Balangoda Man' and various land and freshwater shells that have been excavated, dating back to over 28,000 years.
To reach the cave one has to come to 'Eknelingoda Walauwa', situated 3km from Eratna along the Kuruwita - Eratna road. From this point you travel a further 2km to the end of the road and hike another 1km up the hill.
Batatotalena Cave, Sudagala
The Batatotalena Cave is situated at Sudagala, about 5 km away from Kuruwita (85km from Colombo on the Colombo - Badulla road). In order to reach it, one has to walk about 400m from Sudagala to the base and then climb a further 50m to enter. It measures about 50ft in height, 60ft in width and 80ft in length. As an extra point of interest, about 30m from Batatotalena is an underground cave, partly submerged in a stream. To reach this, one has to swim about 20m!
Although not proved, Buddhist literature suggests the cave is the sacred 'Diva Guhawa' where the Lord Buddha rested on his way back from Sri Pada. However, concrete archaeological findings have proved that Batatotalena dates back over 25,000 years and has been used as a dwelling place during many historical eras. For example, various skeletal remains, ancient paintings, a Buddhist shrine room and a 'Devalaya' belonging to the Kandyan era have been excavated, whilst findings of ceramic tile and glass particles prove that it was also used as a dwelling during the Dutch era. The cave is now occupied by a Buddhist priest.
Belilena Cave, Kitugala
Belilena is a very large cave, in which the 12,000 year old skeletal remains of the prehistoric 'Balangoda man' (Homo Sapiens Balangodensis) was found. In order to reach the cave you have to walk through the jungle, close to Inoya estate (approx. 8 km from Kitulgala itself). Accommodation is available in Kitulgala in a variety of hotels and guest-houses providing a range of standards and budgets.
Bogoda Cave, Jangulla
The Bogoda Cave is thought to have been used by the Sri Lankan King Walagamba as one of his many hide-outs from the invading South Indians. It is considered to be part of a complex 'tunnel network' of other hide-outs such as the Narangala mountain cave, Dowa rock temple at Bandarawela and Rawana Ella cave in Ella. However this story is unsubstantiated as the narrow passage connected to the cave is just about 15m long and no excavations have been carried out.
The famous Bogoda temple is the location for both the cave and the 16th century Bogoda Bridge (the only wooden roofed bridge in the country, belonging to the Kandyan period). In order to get there, one has to travel 70km from Belihuloya to Haliela, a further 4½ km to Jangulla and the cave is located 2½ km away from this point.
Pannila Calcarious Cave, Rakwana
The Pannila Calcarious Cave consists of two main caves situated about 400m from a 15m high waterfall. A stream flows through the first cave, and about 300m in, one is able to see a series of smaller caves leading to the second main cave (about 500m in length). In these caves are many stalactites and stalagmites estimated to be about a100 million years old. Visitors can also see a wide variety of amphibians, reptiles, fish, butterflies, birds and bats.
Rawana Ella Cave, Ella
The Rawana Ella Cave is located about 2 km from the picturesque town of Ella. It is a comparatively small cave, measuring about 50ft wide, 150ft long and 60ft high. However, once inside one finds several others that run 20 to 40 ft deep into its walls. Like the Sthripura Cave in Welimada, legend has it that it was used by King Rawana to hide the Princess Sita. It is also thought to be connected to the cave at the Dowa rock temple in Bandarawela (part of King Walagamba's famous 'tunnel network'). Archaeological findings include a human skull dating back to 20,000 BC.
Sthripura Cave, Welimada
The Sthripura Cave consists of a series of three caves, located at Kiriwanagama about 16 km from Welimada (55 Km from Belihuloya). According to legend, King Rawana of Sri Lanka used the caves to hide the beautiful princess Sita, whom he abducted after defeating her husband, Prince Rama of India.
Waulpane Cave, Pallebeda
The Waulpane Cave (aka 'Cave of Bats') is renowned for its many beautiful stalactites and stalagmites (approx. 500 million years old) as well as the hundreds of thousands of bats that live there! It is an isolated cavern set against the eastern slopes of the Rakwana mountain range, located about a 1 ½ hr drive from Pallebedda. Upon entering the cave, you descend approx. 300 meters underground to discover this prehistoric world of ancient fossils in the cavern walls, a stream that runs through the cave and a beautiful waterfall located in the centre. Aside from the many bats, watch out for the water monitors, various amphibians and fascinating luminous fish!