Sculpted by hands of nature with the aid of the relentless South West Monsoon winds over centuries, this largest, natural rock cave in all Asia has given shelter to the prehistoric man who must have found comfort in its abundance of space, mysterious winding tunnels that led out to the exterior and its surrounding greenery and naturally occurring waterways. Having received a famous foreign monk under its shelter some centuries back, the cave has obtained the name of the monk and is known as Pahiyangala after the monk ‘Fa –hsien, who was a traveling monk from China.
Pahiyangala today is a prominent tourist attraction in Sri Lanka, just 2 hours drive from the country’s commercial capital Colombo and is found in Bulathsinghala, in Kalutara along the Horana Piliyandala road. Lying 400 feet above sea level the cave can be reached by a flight of stairs or through the road and is 175 metres high and 200 feet long at the entrance and is said to be able to accommodate over 3000 people inside. Immersed in greenery, the rock can be seen at the end of the road like a hood of a cobra while at the foot of the rock, one finds the temple.
The cave is famous for its archeological excavations which earned it the reputation of being the oldest prehistoric human habitation in Asia. This was mainly though the discovery of five human skulls which were dated to be 37,000 years old by carbon dating done in USA. In addition, there were also findings of metal and stone weapons which are understood to have been used to hunt animals. The cave has also been the dwelling place of the Fa-seien monk for some time while the monk was traveling to Sripada (Adam’s peak) on a pilgrimage. Under the guidance of a Buddhist monk named Porogama, the cave was converted into a temple with two colossal gate ways at the entrance. The interiors of the cave includes some faded murals depicting soldiers, kings, devas etc that are supposed to belong to the Kandyan era.
Not far from this same district of Kalutara, a traveler can discover a throng of Sri lanka Beach Hotels that heighten the natural splendor of the country’s gorgeous beaches. The Palm Beruwala reclines by the ocean with fantastic views of its blue and green hues while its interiors are cool, soft and soothing offering a reliving contrast to the brightness of sunshine outside. The Palm Beruwala holds its place as a private oasis by the sea from among a great many famous Beruwala Hotels.