The Ritigala Buddhist Monastery, hidden deep inside the Ritigala Strict Nature Reserve, can be easily accessed from Anuradhapura, found just off the Anuradhapura-Habarana road. Dating back to the time of the ancient Sinhalese Kingdom of Anuradhapura, Ritigala was once a sprawling monastic complex, abandoned in the 10th and 11th centuries following a series of invasions from India. Today, some ruins of the monastery still stand – wander through the forest along old paths, painstakingly made using large stone slabs, and lose yourself in the tranquil atmosphere of this beautiful environment as you explore the various relics which remain. Nature-enthusiasts will be fascinated by the diverse range of flora and fauna here, some of which is completely unique to this area.
Whilst you can explore Ritigala on your own, we recommend going with a guide so that get the most out of this entrancing historical site. Our host is highly-knowledgeable about Buddhism and Sri Lanka’s ancient history, and will bring Ritigala to life with his stories, giving you a glimpse of the thriving monastery it once was – a place for teaching, meditation and a home for a large monastic community who chose to give up worldly pleasures and devote themselves to a simple way of life.