Welcome to Ritigala
Ritigala was probably a place of refuge (as long ago as the 4th century BC) and also has mythological status. It’s claimed to be the spot from which Hanuman (the monkey god) leapt to India to tell Rama that he had discovered where Sita was being held by the king of Lanka.
Monks found Ritigala’s caves ideal for an ascetic existence, and more than 70 have been discovered. Royals proved generous patrons, especially King Sena I, who in the 9th century made an endowment of a monastery to the pamsukulika (rag robes) monks.
Ritigala was abandoned following the Chola invasions in the 10th and 11th centuries, after which it lay deserted and largely forgotten until it was rediscovered and excavated by British surveyors in the late 19th century.