Ritigala Sanctuary

When you proceed to the east from Ulgalla, a distant saddle-backed mountain rising above a range of smaller hills will greet your eyes. This is Ritigala– an ancient retreat of Buddhist hermits – where the ruins of a first-century BC monastery are veiled behind trees and the thick undergrowth of the jungles of Ritigala. Its height and the local weather patterns create a microclimate difference from that of the surrounding plains. Ritigala is home to a variety of rare species of plant and animal. Its biodiversity is now strictly protected.

The half-day Ritigala hike excursion is quite unique; you wade through a forest decorated with orchids to sip a cup of tea, seated on the remains of ancient stone bathing-pools, bridges, and courtyards, while colourful birds and mischievous monkeys look at you with envy from the treetops. Furthermore, you will return to Ulagalla after the sunset for cocktails and dinner.

  • Time of departure: Best time to go 3p.m.
  • Duration: 3 Hours includes 30 minutes by vehicle to and from Ritigala and 2 hours hiking time
  • Distance: 30km from Ulagalla and most of the paths at Ritigala are uphill but gently sloping

What is included: Vehicle transport to Ritigala if you do not have your own transport, water bottles, entrance fees to Ritigala, a picnic drink and snack at The Library, fresh juice, and cool towel on your return

What to bring/wear:Comfortable, cool clothes which are suitable for hiking and a temple visit, a sunhat, gym shoes, your camera

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