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Caving in Sri Lanka
Tuesday, 23 October 2007 - 7:48 PM SL Time



The fascinating activity of Caving is relatively new to Sri Lanka , but with an impressive range of caves located throughout the country it`s an unusual experience not to be missed! Known to the experts as `speleology`, caving involves the exploration, surveying, mapping and photographing of caves situated around Sri Lanka . With some of Sri Lanka`s caves dating back approximately 500 million years, this is an adventure into the prehistoric! Srilankan Expedition provides local experienced guides and all the necessary gear for caving (such as raincoat, head torches, helmets, ropes etc.) making the activity accessible to amateurs and experts alike.

Pahiyangala (Fa-Hiengala) - largest natural cave in South Asia
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The cave derives its name from a famous Chinese Mahayana Buddhist traveller monk Fa-Hsien who chanced upon the cave and made it a temporary resting place while on his way to Sri Pada (Adam`s Peak) during a visit to the island in 600 A.D. At over 150 feet in height and 282 feet long, Pahiyanagala is said to be the largest natural cave in South Asia and believed to be the site of the oldest human habitation in Sri Lanka. Human remains dating back over 30,000 years have been discovered by archeological excavations at Pahiyangala ? proof that pre-historic man lived in the cave which is said to be big enough to shelter over 3,000 people.

Andirilena Caves, Udagama
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Situated about 4km from Udagama (25km from Belihuloya towards Colombo on the Balangoda ? Colombo road), the entrance to the Andirilena Caves is only about 4ft high, but once inside, it is huge.  The main cave divides into two, giving rise to several smaller caves on the way and joining together after about 500 metres.

Batatotalena Cave, Sudagala
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Batatotalena Cave is situated at Sudagala, about 5 km away from Kuruwita (85km from Colombo on the Colombo ? Badulla road).  In order to reach it, one has to walk about 400m from Sudagala to the base and then climb a further 50m to enter. It measures about 50ft in height, 60ft in width and 80ft in length. As an extra point of interest, about 30m from Batatotalena itself is an underground cave, partly submerged in a stream. To reach this, one has to swim about 20m!
Although it has not been proved, Buddhist literature suggests that the cave is the sacred `Diva Guhawa` where the Lord Buddha rested on his way back from Sri Pada.  However, concrete archaeological findings have proved that Batatotalena dates back over 25,000 years and has been used as a dwelling place during many historical eras.  For example, various skeletal remains, ancient paintings, a Buddhist shrine room and a `Devalaya` belonging to the Kandyan era have been excavated, whilst findings of ceramic tile and glass particles prove that it was also used as a dwelling during the Dutch era.  Even at present, a Buddhist priest ?resides there!

Batadombalena Cave, Kuruwita
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Batadombalena Cave is roughly the same size as the nearby Batatotalena Cave (50x60x80ft).  Like Batatotalena, it is of great historic importance due to some fascinating archaeological findings such as the skeletal remains of the prehistoric `Balangoda Man` and various land and freshwater shells that have been excavated, dating back to over 28,000 BC.
To reach the cave one has to come to `Eknelingoda Walauwa`, situated 3km from Eratna along the Kuruwita ? Eratna road.  From here you travel a further 2km to the end of the road and walk about about 1km up the hill.

Belilena Cave, Kitugala
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Belilena is a very large cave, in which the 12,000 year old skeletal remains of the prehistoric `Balangoda man` (Homesepiens Balangodensis) have been found.  In order to reach the cave you have to walk through the jungle, close to the Inoya estate (approx. 8 km from Kitulgala itself).

Pannila Calcarious Cave, Rakwana
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The Pannila Calcarious Cave consists of two main caves situated about 400m from a 15m high waterfall.  A stream flows through the first cave, and about 300m in, one can see a series of smaller caves leading to the second main cave (about 500m in length).  In these caves are many stalactites and stalagmites estimated about 100 million years old, and visitors can also see a wide variety of amphibians, reptiles, fishes, butterflies, birds and bats.

Waulpane Cave, Pallebeda
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The Waulpane Cave (aka `Cave of Bats`) is renowned for its many beautiful stalactites and stalagmites (approx. 500 million years old) as well as the hundreds of thousands of bats that live there! It is an isolated cavern set against the eastern slopes of the Rakwana mountain range, located about a 1 hr drive from Pallebedda. Once entering the cave, you descend approx. 300 metres underground to discover this prehistoric world of ancient fossils in the cavern walls, a stream that runs through the cave and a beautiful waterfall located in the centre. As well as the many bats, watch out for the water monitors, various amphibians and fascinating luminous fish!

Sthripura Cave, Welimada
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The Sthripura Cave consists of a series of three caves, located at Kiriwanagama about 16 km from Welimada (55 Km from Belihuloya).  According to the legend, King Rawana of Sri Lanka use the caves to hide the beautiful princess Sita,
whom he abducted after defeating her husband, Prince Rama of India.

Bogoda Cave, Jangulla
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The Bogoda Cave is thought to have been used by the Sri Lankan King Walagamba as one of his many hide-outs from the invading South Indians.  It is considered to be part of a complex `tunnel network` of other hide-outs such as the Narangala mountain cave, Dowa rock temple at Bandarawela and Rawana Ella cave in Ella.  However this story cannot be proved because at present, the cave only leads about 15m into the tunnel through a narrow passage.

Rawana Ella Cave, Ella
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The Rawana Ella Cave is located about 2 km from the picturesque town of Ella. It is quite a small cave, measuring about 50ft wide, 150ft long and 60ft high. However, once inside one can find several others that run 20 to 40 ft deep into its walls. Like the Sthripura Cave in Welimada, legend has it that it was used by King Rawana to hide the Princess Sita. It is also thought to be connected to the cave at the Dowa rock temple in Bandarawela (part of King Walagamba`s famous `tunnel network`). Archaeological findings include a human skull dating back to 20,000 BC

Source(s)
PamelaAnderson

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MarkLevinson
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23 Oct 2007 12:51:13 GMT  Report for Abuse   
Pamela,
Nice article it seems.....will read later and thanks for sending Pera and his dead bodies out of the main page!!
Saint
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23 Oct 2007 12:52:43 GMT  Report for Abuse   
Hi Gg,

Wow, Caves
So you are into this business now.
:-D
Berty
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23 Oct 2007 12:59:42 GMT  Report for Abuse   
Wow GG
where on earth your getting these pictures from ah..lolz

wonderful pictures..why don't you be our tour leader and we will make a trip to SL..
groovygirl
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23 Oct 2007 13:05:39 GMT  Report for Abuse   
Nice article it seems

Thanks Marky, i found them while I was doing research for my trip to SL, thought of sharing if anyone else interested.
groovygirl
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23 Oct 2007 13:08:55 GMT  Report for Abuse   
Doco,

Wow, Caves
So you are into this business now.


I was always interested in caves, been to ones in Spain - Nerya and some in Aussie can't recall names, In SL other than the temple, never knew about the caves. so I am excited.:)

Need to haev my coffee soon!
gg


Edited By - groovygirl - 23 Oct 2007 13:34:36 GMT
groovygirl
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23 Oct 2007 13:13:15 GMT  Report for Abuse   
why don't you be our tour leader and we will make a trip to SL..

You are more than welcome, thanks
MarkLevinson
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23 Oct 2007 13:29:28 GMT  Report for Abuse   
Hey GG,
thought of sharing if anyone else interested.


You can take Kankie with you....hope his wife wont mind!!

:):):):):)
groovygirl
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23 Oct 2007 13:37:00 GMT  Report for Abuse   
You can take Kankie with you

Where the hec is Kankie?, haven't seen him around !
gg
ThinKing
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23 Oct 2007 13:57:17 GMT  Report for Abuse   
Very nice! :)
Shakti
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23 Oct 2007 14:02:07 GMT  Report for Abuse   
GG,

Thanks for this information.

Tanthirimale, where I have visited two weeks back perhaps is the only place where you find pre-historical drawings in Sri Lanka. These are no more there, but fortunately they were copied before being decayed.

I will paste a image in my personal space soon.

.
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