One of the most notable of places in this ancient city is the Ritigala monastery, which was built sometime during the middle of the 1st century BC. It is situated a short drive from the legendary city and is situated in a beautiful mountain range that is the highest in Sri Lanka. Legend has it that the vegetation in Ritigala is protected by deities due the presence of a herb that can prolong life and prevent the user from feeling any pain.
The ruins of the monastery are located on the eastern side of the mountains close to the Banda Pokuna reservoir which was supposedly built sometime in either 400 or 300 BC. The massive path that leads to the monastery is indication that it was once an incredibly significant place of worship with a large number of followers.
The monks who resided in this monastery are indicated as being highly stern in their pursuit of enlightenment. Unlike traditional monks who had their distinct robes, the monks at Ritigala were known to have complete disregard for material possessions, choosing to craft their robes out of discarded cloth collected from places such as cemeteries. Interestingly, the temple contains urinals that feature various decorative images, depicting what the monks deemed as attachments and architectural excesses of the civilisation from that time.
The ancient monastery of Ritigala is one of the most unique and fascinating attractions that Sri Lanka has to offer, so be sure to check out if you find yourself on this enigmatic island.
Fritzjames Stephen is a travel writer, who writes content based on the myriad of experiences and indulgences that the world has to offer travellers across all walks of life. Google+