Kalutara district is quite significant as it offers sandy beaches, tranquil waterfalls, wilderness and most importantly archaeologically significant attractions such as Pahiyangala Caves. One could reach the cave in just under 2 hours from Colombo, making it one of the easily reachable tourist destinations.
How to get there?
The fastest way to reach the caves from Colombo is to take the southern highway (E1) off Kottawa interchange and exit at Bandaragama. Then take the Bandaragama – Horana route and proceed to Bulathsinhala thence. [ Google Maps Directions]
How to get there using public transport?
From Colombo – You need to get to Horana by 120 (Colombo-Horana) first. From there, take 285 (Horana – Mathugama) bus and get-off at Bulathsinhala. You can take a tuk-tuk from there. It will only take about 1/2 hour to get to the cave entrance. There is a bus traveling this way as well but this service is not very reliable. Make sure to arrange a tuk-tuk for the return trip as well since there are no taxis available at the premises.
As you get to the location of the caves, to reach the caves you will have to climb narrow and steep set of stairs through the jungle. It would take 20 – 30 minutes for you to reach to the top of the caves. On your way to the caves, you will be able to see monkeys jumping from trees to trees accompanying you to the cave base. As you reach the base of the cave, there is a small footpath leading its way to the top of the mountain peak. You will be able to request the information from a monk.
About the caves
Pahiyangala Cave, which is locally known as Pahiyangala cave, is a significant landmark to Sri Lanka due to its prehistoric archaeological value. As per the Archaeologists, the pre-historic men are said to have inhabited this cave 37,000 years ago. This cave is significant, as it is considered to be the oldest pre-historic settlement in Asia.
The significance of the cave is not only limited to its heritance and evolution of humanity. It is believed that the cave provided shelter for ancient Chinese Buddhists monks, According to legend the cave was home for Fa-Hien thero (Faxian) year 411 A.D and Thaishu Sangaraju thero during the 1940s. It is an iconic place when it comes to Han Buddhism in the world.
Ven. Poranagama Thero upon clearing the entrance of the Cave and leveling the grounds of the cave premises have converted the base of the cave to a temple. Today you will be able to see a 40 ft long reclining Buddha Statue.