Buddangala Rajamaha Viharaya

The East

Rising above the forest north of Ampara, this 150m-high hill offers panoramic views from its rocky summit (including, occasionally, of wild elephants at dusk). Buddangala is said to be 1800 years old, and when the old temple, the remains of which are to the left of the main shrine, was excavated in 1964, a gold casket containing a tooth of the Buddha was discovered. It’s now housed inside the dagoba and is on view every June for three days around poya (full moon) day.

Within an ancient cave overhang, interesting museum-style treasures include a human skeleton, used in meditation. The site is beautiful, but without a guide or English signage, its spiritual relevance is somewhat lost; English-speaking monks may be around to chat. From Ampara, it's 6km northeast; three-wheelers cost Rs 1000 return, including waiting time.

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