A forest monastery complex now protected within the Ritigala Strict Nature Reserve, Ritigala is an enigmatic archaeological site. In the 9th century, the jungle-covered, monastic caves were inhabited by monks of the Pansakulika Order, who were sworn to a life of extreme austerity and were attracted to the area’s remote location.
It may be possible to hire a guide at the reserve’s visitor centre, which also has some information panels about the area. Beyond the entrance of the ruins is path running around the periphery of the Banda Pokuna bathing tank, which has been partially restored. In the far corner are steps leading up to a walkway that links all of the complex’s major buildings. Up ahead in the first clearing is one of the double platform structures were used by the monks for meditation purposes and that the area underneath was flooded with water to keep the place cool. To the right of the platforms is another clearing, which is popularly described as the monastery hospital.
Further along the paved walkway, towards the left, lies what is believed to be the library. The next clearing has another, larger, raised platform and a smaller structure raised platform, which is not as well preserved. more