The ancient cities of Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura and Kandy form the famous Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka. Sigiriya is a epitome of evidence that Sri Lanka was once much ahead in the construction industry of strong and sturdy buildings with an artistic finish. However, a factor that draws tourist is the Ritigala Strict Natural Reserve.
Ritigala Strict Natural Reserve is not very prominent among tourists, but this is a place that one should visit considering that it is a haven for the survival of threatened species. There is no human disturbance here and requires special permission from the Department of Wildlife.
The ecosystem of Ritigal is a haven for mixed forests which dot the slopes of a mountain range. There is also a peak which stands at 766 meters and is said to be the highest mountain in Northern Sri Lanka. This mountain has lush vegetation. Ritigala is hot and dry, but its mountain range is just the opposite – cold and wet.
There is an ancient monastery in Ritigala which is similar to Arankale. This monastery had been constructed by King Sena I somewhere in the 9th century A.D. However, this was discovered only in 1893, when H.C.P. Bell, then Ceylon’s initial Archeological Commissioner did an inventory of the area. Ritigala was an untouched area since the 11th century. This came about with the invasions from the Chola Kingdom.
During this time Ceylon’s capital shifted from Anuradhapura to Polonnaruwa. This caused the Pansukulikas (known as Resident Monks) to abandon Ritigala. Pansukulikas means “rag robes,” and they were austere priests who isolated themselves from the priests in Anuradhapura. They practiced the doctrine of extreme asceticism by adorning robes turned out from forsaken rags which were found mostly in cemeteries.
Sri Lanka is no doubt a haven for ancient artifacts and is a must visit place on your bucket list.