While Kalutara in Sri Lanka is known for its sun-kissed shores, it also has a key natural site that has great archaeological value too; here’s what awaits at Pahiyangala Cave!
This huge cave is in the village of Yatagampitiya in the Kalutara District; it lies around five km from Bulathsinhala and can be reached on excursions from hotels like Turyaa Kalutara. To access this site, you can opt to make the ascent up stone steps, though there’s also a road which you can drive to it as well.
The Two Names
Before visiting this attraction from hotels in Kalutara, it’s good to get some background information on its two names. Pahiyangala refers to the cave dweller known as “Pahiyangala Man” unearthed on excavations here; skulls found were carbon-dated to being around 37,000 years old! This site is also called Fa-Hien Cave because it’s believed that a Chinese Buddhist monk named Fa-Hien stayed here for some time during his 5th century travels on the island.
What to Expect
Located approximately 400 feet above sea level, the cave reaches heights of 175 feet in certain places and is one of Asia’s largest natural rocks. There are four sections including one with a pit where findings were made of one of the oldest pre-historic human settlements in Asia which included human skulls, animal bones and stone weapons.
Other Things to Do
On your visit to Pahiyangala Cave, you will find a Buddhist temple here too along with a remarkable reclining Buddha statue that’s around 40 feet in length. The area around the cave is a popular place for picnics too, though to avoid the crowds, visit on a weekday and avoid poya (full moon) holidays and weekends.