Ritigala Nature Reserve; A natural wonderland in Sri Lanka

Enjoy the aesthetic beauties of the diverse greens, and the various archeological monuments, found nowhere else of the island at Ritigala. 🍃🌱

By Jan deno (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Situated in the North Central Province, 45km away from Anuradhapura; Ritigala nature reserve is a strict nature reserve, managed by the Department of wildlife and the Forest Department of Sri Lanka.

Thus it is a must visit destination while enjoying the natural attractions of Sri Lanka.

It is a nature reserve of approximately five sq. km with picturesque mountain ranges, ancient ruins and over 70 caves making it a tourist hotspot worth mentioning as a magnificent monument amid the island charms of the country in Well Known Places.

Ritigala was historically known as Arittha Pabbatha, named after the chief minister of King Devanampiyatissa who was later ordained as the first monk of Sri Lanka.

‘Pabbatha’ meant rock, therefore the mountain range got other names like ‘Dreadful rock’ and ‘Safety rock’ over the years.

The premises also have a mythological significance as it is claimed to be the place from which Hanumantha (the monkey god) leapt to his country India to tell his master (Rama) that he had discovered where Sita (Rama’s Wife) was held captive by the ‘King Ravana’ of Lanka according to the Ramayana.

Ritigala is the highest mountain in Northern Sri Lanka which is also known as Kodigala or the Flag Rock , located in the height of 2,514 feet.

Ritigala mountain range By Anuradha Dullewe Wijeyeratne [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This mountain range surrounds three forms of forests. Dry mixed evergreen forest at the very bottom, tropical montane forest in the middle and upper montane forest type on the highest terrain.

The mountain peaks get extra rainfall than the surrounding areas and maintains a misty atmosphere at all times, while the lower plains contain consistent dry weather.

A surrounding area of about 60 acres, where the archaeological remains are dispersed are available for sightseeing in Ritigala, however prior permission should be obtained by the forest department to enter the strict nature reserve.

Do keep in mind when visiting, not to pollute the environment as this is a place where significant ecosystems are being preserved.