Kaludiya Pokuna Forest near Kandalama – not to be confused with the ‘Kaludiya Pokuna’ close to Mihintale – is a beautiful place for a nature trek in itself, quite apart from the ancient ruins which hide beneath the forest canopy. Those seeking some peace and quiet after exploring the popular Cultural Triangle sites will love this little-known adventure into the wilderness and the utter sense of tranquillity it brings, and keen birdwatchers will delight in the wide variety of birds that can be seen flitting through the trees.
Accompanied by a naturalist, take a jeep to the edge of the forest and then continue your journey on foot, following a footpath lined by wild grass. As you move deeper into the forest, watch out for interesting tropical flora and the endemic and migrant birds that live in the forest, which your naturalist will help you identify. This trek culminates in your arrival at the ancient ruins, a 1,200-year-old Buddhist monastery. The dagoba is still standing, along with a collection of strange, striking rocks jutting out of the earth, and there is a cave nearby which carries an inscription of medieval text, thought to have been written to mark the presence of treasure.