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Tags : Buddhist Temple

Timings : 6:00 AM

Time Required : 2 hours

Entry Fee : Foreigners: LKR 511; Locals: INR 51

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Ritigala Forestry Monastery , Anuradhapura Overview

Ritigala situated between Polonnaruwa and the old town of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka is a hilly forest and a place of Buddhist worship. The monastery is named after the 40m tall Ritigala trees in the mid slopes of the hill; this Buddhist monastery has inscriptions that date back to 1st century BC.

The highest of the peaks in the Ritigala mountain range is the Ritigala Kanda that makes for an excellent trekking adventure. A journey through the stonework bordering the streams, dense forests consisting of medicinal herbs and trees, gardens and courtyards with beautiful landscaping leads its way to the temple. Legend has it that herb called “Sansevi” found near the crest, on consumption gives eternal life. It is also an ancient legend that these mountains once hosted Hanuman and Sita on their expedition from Sri Lanka to India.  Like this, there is so much of history and archaeological study associated with Ritigala.

The common characteristics of a Buddhist temple are Bodhi trees and stupas. Ritigala however, is a class apart. Monks in Ritigala don’t practise traditional Buddhism, their clothing (repaired rags and shrouds), detachment from the world and their sincere yearning for enlightenment is what makes this place all the more austere. The fact that the concept of worship in an off-beaten track existed in the 2nd-century minds speaks volumes of the calming effect that Ritigala has.

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Climate and Atmosphere around Ritigala Forestry Monastery

The environment is continuously wet thanks to the misty clouds and dewy skies. At an elevation of 766m, the weather is chilly with a slight breeze throughout the evening. The monastery submerged jungle leaves a soothing feeling on its visitors and is one of the best ways to take time off and relax.

How To Reach Ritigala Forestry Monastery

Located 49 km from Polonnaruwa and 43 km from Anuradhapura, Ritigala is a rocky trail off Habarana-  Maradankadawela - Anuradhapura road. The closest place for accommodation is Habarana, which is 21 km away. Wild elephants, leopards and bears inhabit the thick forests. It has been conferred as a Strict Natural Reserve to preserve the authenticity of the place

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