Few hundred meters away from the Karandahela reservoir in the corner of Hulannuge is HabuthalaViharaya or Tharulengala Forest Hermitage.Built before the second century BC by King Kawanthissa on a 633 feet tall hillock and developed constantly throughout theEastern history the monastery is home to some of thelargest drip ledged caves in the country.This 512ft long drip ledged cave is 30ft broad and 82ft high at the highest point with eight levels in its interior. The signs of brick layered interiors and polished and cemented inner walls still remain within the cave indicating that the cave was utilised as worship or a gathering hall for the monks of the monastery. The time and origin of its construction is unknown as there are no inscriptions within discovered so far.
Nearby this mammoth cave is another one of 200 feet length, drip ledged and constructed with the same interior finish, believed to have been used as a community quarter than an individual abode.The next largest cave in the complex is a cave styled as a shrine room. Situated near the entrance to the monastery the cave is s 175ft long, 31ft broad and 35ft high & houses a 41foot reclining Buddha statue, now considerably damaged by treasure hunters. Once the plastered and mural adorned inner walls and ceilings of the cave had given away to the perils of time revealing earlier drawings of Vedda community, who had called the caves their home prior to the construction of the monastery. The drawings include scenes of hunting, war and animal flocks, suggesting a pre historic life style that was long lost. The entrance to the cave is adorned with a simple rock carved stairway and a sandakadapahana or a moonstone, that lie in ruins today.At the water's edge of this Karandewewa tank is the remains of an ancient Stupa belonging to the earliest constructions of the monastery. Two more ruined stupas are found further uphill and believed to have enshrined the remaining of the arhants, who had once meditated at the grounds of Habuthala.Scattered among the grounds of Habuthala Viharaya is rock ponds of various size. Created to store water for the use of hundreds of monks who lived and meditated in Habuthala viharaya, these ponds are the play grounds and abodes of the wild leopards and bears, who inhabit most of the monastery’s caves today.
Things to Do: Photography, sightseeing, pilgrimage, hiking, wildlife
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Palm Groove Holiday Inn
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The Blue Wave Hotel
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Star Dust Beach Hotel
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