Religious Places, North Western Province, Sri Lanka: Travel/Tourist Information Guide

Kele Dambulla

After climbing the stairs, there is the ancient rock cave temple of Kele Dambulla. According to a legend, the rock temple was named after King Walagamba and is locally known as Kele DAmbulla. It is also believed that this site has served as a security frontier during ancient times. There is also a dagoba standing next to the table and after the dagoba, there is a rock carving or Siri Pathula.


Arankele is located 24 km north of Kurunegala. Its main tourist attraction is a 6th century cave hermitage up a forested hillside which was used for meditation. It provided an austere abode for a group of monks. These monks made Arankele their home seeking isolation and seclusion from the rest of the world. The ruins of Arankele are honored as an ancient forest monastery. What is special about these buildings is the surrounding water troughs which are said to have kept the interior of the building cool.

Ridi Viharaya

It is located about 20 km away from the ancient kingdom of Kurungala. The temple of Ridi Vihawaya is located in a small village called Ridi Gama. It is believed that the temple was built by King Dutugemunu in the memory of the treasure that it held within it, a silver ore mine. This Buddhist temple site contains rock cave hermitages and an image house with Kandyan paintings of the 18th century. There have been multiple discoveries in the area including some Buddha statues and an ivory laid door frame. There is also an artificial lake at the foothills of Ridi Vihariya that also attracts travellers.

Paramakanda Cave Temple

Paramakanda Cave Temple is located in the Puttalam District. The ruins show that the temple was once covered with a whole rock formation. The cave temple is believed to be the work of King Walagamba (89-77 BC). There is an inscription at Thonigala stating that this temple was built by a priest called Mahatissa during the King Walagamba’s era. The temple complex consists of number of caves. The rock of the temple complex is interesting because of its peculiar formations in different parts of the rock.