Built at 600mtr above the surrounding plains the Buddhist monastery and mountain of Ritigala is an “off the beaten track” destination for culture and eco travel in Sri Lanka. Ritigala is named from a variety of evergreen trees (Riti – Antiaris Toxicaria) that grow in this forest.
The site covers an area of 24 hectares (59 acres). The monastery site is adjacent and close to the Banda Pokuna reservoir. The reservoir was possibly used as a ritual bathing site as the visitors were asked to bath before entering the monastery that was built under the reign of King Pandukabhaya (437 -367 BC)
The ritual bathing reservoir, the complex of the ruins and the pedestrian pathways indicate that the monastery was visited by large numbers of devotees.
There are steps which lead up to a beautifully laid stone path, 1.5 meters wide, that meanders through the forest, linking major buildings of the monastery.
Ritigala does not contains the traditional icons of stupas, Bo trees, only a few granite Buddha statues in some caves.