Information about Meditation Centers, Forest Monasteries, and other important places in
Sri Lanka for Western bhikkhus and serious lay practitioners.
In Sri Lanka there are many forest hermitages and meditation centres which can be suitable
for western practitioners of Buddhism whether they are monastics or laymen. The following
information is particularly for Westernern bhikkhus, or those who aspire to become bhikkhus,
or those who are very serious lay-practioners. For less serious laypractioners another paper
has been written called: “Information about Meditation Centers and other important places in
Sri Lanka for Western Buddhist lay practitioners.’’
Factors such as climate, food, noise, standards of Discipline (Vinaya), and accessibility have
been taken into consideration with regards the places listed.
The place where the monastery is gives a good indication about its climate. In the SW
low-country the climate is tropical, i.e., hot and humid. The eastern low country has a dry
season between May and October. The South West (roughly between Mātara, Colombo, and
Ratnapura) is the so-called “wet-zone” where two monsoons a year take place (May-June,
November-January). The so-called “dry-zone” (this is an exaggeration as it can rain heavily
here too at times) is in the East, North, and South. Only one main monsoon (Nov-Dec) takes
place there. The deep South (the coastal area between Ambalantota and Pānama) and the far
North (Northern coast & Jaffna peninsula) are the driest areas in S.L. The upcountry is the hill-
and mountain-area in the center of Sri Lanka (roughly between Mātale, Badulla, Haputale,
and Ratnapura). Here the climate is temperate and it can get cool at night. It is generally a
more agreeable climate than the low-country for westerners. In the SW up-country areas such
as the Singharāja rainforest and the Sri Pada Wilderness areas it rains the most, so much so
that it can be impossible to dry one’s robes etc. for days after washing.
The food is generally everywhere the same all the time in Singhalese areas, fairly plain and
simple. It can be quite spicy compared to Western food. In the cities the food can be more
nutritious while in poor rural areas the food can be quite unnutritious. Many people in Sri
Lanka don’t eat meat or fish. As a monk one might receive a bit of fish, but hardly ever meat
The medical care in government hospitals is free for monks in Sri Lanka and for those who are
seriously ill there are bhikkhu-wards in the bigger hospitals. Medical care and hygiene are not
of the same standards as they generally is in the west, but the doctors usually do their best to
help sick bhikkhus. There are quite a few doctors and dentists who have trained and worked
in the West. The monastery one is connected to will help if one needs medicines or medical
care. The best hospitals are the Apollo and Navaloka hospitals in Colombo, but they are
private hospitals and expensive. The same doctors who work in the private hospitals also
work in government hospitals, but the equipment and facilities in government hospitals are of
a lesser standard. Dentists often help monks for free. There are some good dentists, some
trained in the West, in Sri Lanka who can do the same work as dentists in the West. 2
Sri Lanka is a great place for practising patience, simplicity, renunciation, and humility. The
Singhalese people support monks with the basic requisites but in general monks don’t get
more than that because the people believe that monks should live simply. Conditions in
monasteries can be very simple and uncomfortable for those used to the luxuries and comforts
of the west. Monasteries are not rich in Sri Lanka and only few monasteries have a monastery
car. One will have to get used to taking public transport or walking when one wants to go
somewhere. Bhikkhus who don’t use money can use special coupons with which one can
travel on government busses.
Bhikkhus do not get showered with requisites in Sri Lanka and are not so highly respected
and honoured as in Thailand or Burma. Bhikkhus from Thailand have to get used to things
which are never done in Thailand. The body language and ways of talking of Singhalese
people or monks can appear disrespectful to monks used to being in Thailand.
Loudspeakers can possibly be quite a disturbance in Sri Lanka, as in Asia in general. There are
only a few places which completely escape the sound of the Paritta-chanting blasted from
village-temples on Poya-days.
Sri Lanka used to be a British colony and there are many Singhalese people who can speak
English well, especially in Colombo and other big towns, however, in remote country-side
areas it can be more difficult to find English speakers. Nevertheless, in almost every village
there will be (or is supposed to be) an English teacher in the village school who will be keen to
practise his English and can help with translating if necessary. In the bigger monasteries there
usually are a few monks who can speak English, but in the more remote and smaller
monasteries there might not be English speakers. It is not difficult to learn colloquial Sinhala
and people are usually helpful and understanding.
It is generally easier for Buddhist monks to get a visa in Sri Lanka than in other Buddhist
countries. In Sri Lanka Buddhist monks get a free one year residence visa which can be
extended every year. One needs to get a letter of recommendation for a visa from the
incumbent of the monastery one stays in or is connected to, then one needs to go with this
letter and the so-called “application form to obtain a letter of recommendation to extend the
residence visa” (available at major monasteries and/or the Ministery of Buddhist Affairs in
Colombo) to the secretary monk of the district (lekhakādhikāri handuruwo) and get the
application form signed and stamped by him, then this form needs to be signed and stamped
by the secretary of the Provincial Council (kacceri). When this is done one can go to Colombo
to the Ministery of Buddhist Affairs (opposite the Mahadevi park, behind the old Townhall in
Colombo 7) and get a recommendation letter from the secretary there for the Immigration.
(Also get an application form for next year.) For the first time application for a residence visa
one needs to bring along two or three passport pictures. (They can be made in a shop at the
immigration itself [downstairs near the main entrance].) The immigration is next to the
Bambalapitiya train-station, off Galle Face Rd. It is best to telephone the district secretary
monk before one goes to him and make an appointment as it is possible that he is often away
from his monastery. At the Ministery of Buddhist Affairs one generally waits less than one
hour and at the immigration usually one and a half hours, maybe more. One can go to the
Ministery of Buddhist Affairs in the morning, have lunch there (they will provide you a lunch
if you ask them) and then go by bus to the Immigration after lunch. 3
The standards of discipline vary from tradition to tradition, and from monastery to monastery.
In Sri Lanka there is not such a strong tradition of refined teacher- and monastery-duties as
there is in the Thai Forest traditions. The Galdūwa Forest Tradition is the strictest vinaya
tradition in Sri Lanka and the bhikkhus strictly follow the commentarial traditions. In the
forest monasteries and meditation centres which are not affiliated to Galdūwa generally the
vinaya standards are a bit less strict, but still reasonable. [In many city and village temples
and pirivenas (not listed in this work) the vinaya-standards can be bad, like everywhere in
Usually the tradition a monastery or meditation centre belongs to is given as it gives an
indication what the practice is like in a place. There are many traditions in Sri Lanka. The
main ones are:
The KaByāna Yogāshramaya SaDsthāva or Galdūwa tradition is an independent part of the
Rāmañña Nikāya. The headquarter is in Galdūwa, near Ambalangoda. This tradition is
keeping a strict standard of Vinaya, the strictest in Sri Lanka. It is the largest forest-sect in Sri
Lanka. There probably are close to a hundred centres affiliated to this tradition. The monks
are easily recognised by the palm-leaf umbrella they carry and by the habit of wearing the
double robe whenever they go outside the monastery boundaries. Members of all castes are
accepted. Bhikkhus from other traditions who wish to become resident at one of their
monasteries, are usually expected to undergo the so-called da hikamma (confirmation) at
Galdūwa, a short ceremony intended to reconfirm the original uasampadā in accordance with
the Galdūwa standards. After this legal action newcomers are accepted according to their
The Deldūwa group is a small group of forest monasteries. It is an older forest division of the
Rāmañña Nikāya, but not affiliated to Galdūwa.
The Mahāvihāra VaDshika Shyāmopāli Vanavāsa Nikāya or Waturawila group has over 80
branch monasteries throughout the country. The Vinaya standards are not so strict as in the
Galdūwa group, but are generally reasonable. Only members of the high caste are accepted
for upasampadā. The headquarter of this group is in Waturawila in Gālla district.
The Kanduboda group or Swejin Nikāya chapter of the Amarapura nikāya is a group of
monasteries connected to the Kanduboda International Meditation Centre. It originates in the
Burmese Swejin Nikāya and follows the Mahāsi meditation technique tradition of Burma. It
has reasonable standards of Vinaya. There are about twenty small meditation centers
connected to this tradition in and near towns. Most are of no significance for westerners.
The Tapovana group or KaByānavaDsa chapter of the Amarapura Nikāya is a small group of
semi forest monasteries usually situated near major towns. The headquarter is near Colombo.
Usually the Mahāsi meditation method is practised. Reasonable standards of Vinaya.
Information on the formation and history of the forest traditions in Sri Lanka can be found in
Michael Carrither’s book called “The Forest Monks of Sri Lanka”, Oxford 1983.
The greatest concentrations of forest-monasteries are in the Western side of the country, esp.
in Kurunegala , Colombo, Gālla, and Mātara districts. Due to the war there are very few active
forest-monasteries in the northern and eastern districts although there are ruins of ancient
ones in many places. In the higher mountain areas there are also few monasteries because the
Singhalese generally find it too cold up there.
Western monks are usually regarded highly by Singhalese as they have not gone forth out of
cultural or economic reasons, but out of a sincere desire to practice the Dhamma. Generally,
western monks are welcome anywhere and travelling western monks are normally welcome
to stay in any monastery for the night. Even if there is no monastery in a village one can stay
in the school, etc. For longer stays in a monastery one needs to ask permission to the abbot
and it is normally readily granted if there is place.
In non Singhalese areas in the North and East one might sometimes be less warmly received
as some Singhalese bhikkhus are involved in politics and the the army. However, if Tamil
people see that one is a genuine practioner of Dhamma and is not there on a political mission
then they will be helpful, even if one is a Singhalese bhikkhu. One Singhalese bhikkhu
walking barefoot from the South to Jaffna had no major problems and received generous
piKLapāta even in LTTE controlled areas. He attracted some local journalists and his motives
were questioned several times.
In general one can, and needs to be, more independent in Sri Lanka. If one wishes to practice
independently and is not looking for a big guru then Sri Lanka can be a great place. The
Singhalese, like Indians, are more individualistic than the Thais, and leave more space to
others. There is not such a strong teacher-tradition in Sri Lanka as in Thailand and Burma, but
there are monks, nuns, and laypractitioners who can give useful instructions and help one
along the way.
The transliteration of Sinhala characters has been added when it was known and considered
useful. This makes it easier to pronounce the place name and make oneself understood to the
The character æ is pronounced as the Enlgish e in end or a in cat, ǣ is pronounced long drawn
like the a in taxi spoken by a New Yorker, a as the a in another, ā as the a in art, i as the i in ink, ī
as the ee in eel, the u as the u in put, the ū as the u in prudent, e as the a in age (but before a
conjunct consonant as in end and thus the same as æ), and o as the o in own (but before a
conjunct consonant as in orange). The v/w is pronounced mid-way between the English v and
w. The w has been used in this work. For more information on the correct pronunciation of
Sinhala, see W.S. Karunatillake’s “An Introduction to Spoken Sinhala” p. ix ff and the Guide
to Pronunciation in “The Forest Monks of Sri Lanka” by Michael Carrithers.
This paper is as comprehensive and exact as possible but a lot of the information is based on
old memories and lists. There are probably quite a few small places and new places which are
not listed in this paper. Frequently new monasteries are built and old ones abandoned.
Sometimes abbots or teachers in a place are listed, but, as is the case in saDsāra, things can
change quickly. The monasteries and meditation centres have been arranged according to
districts. However, sometimesit was not clear exactly in which district a place is located,
because no map with district-boundaries was available, and then place has been put in the 5
most likely district. Given the lack of availabiltity of useful information in Sri Lanka,
outdated and slightly incorrect information can sometimes be better than none at all.
This paper is based on a much more basic list made five years ago by Ven. Dhammasīha and
made available on the Metta Lanka website. Ven. Ānandajoti and Ven. ÑāKaramita helped
with proofreading this new paper and gave many valuable suggestions.
Please send any suggestions with regards this list to:
PO Box 61
AS.: Aranya Senāsanaya.
BM.: Bhāvanā Madhyasthānaya/Meditation Centre.
FM: The Forest Monks of Sri Lanka, Michael Carrithers , Oxfor, 1983.
IVMC: International Vipassana Meditation Centre.
MC: Meditation Centre/ Bhāvanā Madhyasthānaya
VPM: Vipassana Meditation Centre.
Major places for Westerners who are new to Sri Lanka.
Nissarana Vanaya or Meetirigala A. Mithirigala 11742 (Tel: 071-749-134).
Large, 100 hectare, forest monastery 30 kms E of Colombo. The most reknown meditation
centre in Sri Lanka. Belongs to the Galdūwa tradition. About 20 resident monks.
The present meditation teacher, Ven.Dhammajīva, speaks excellent English and has meditated
for a long time under Sayadaw U Pandita. He mostly teaches Mahāsi method. Ven.
DhammaraDsi also speaks good English and teaches Samatha meditation. It has a good
English section in the library. Strict standards of Discipline and little talking. Dense
low-country jungle on a hill. Humid and hot climate. Good support and food for Sri Lankan 6
standards. Sometimes some noise from the nearby village. The Dharmāyatana (see the
Galdūwa list below) is on the hill next to Nissarana Vanaya, a 25 minute walk away.
From Colombo take a Kirindivela Bus at Central Bus stand in Pættah, the bus leaves close to
the Bodhi tree outside the station. In Kirindiwælla, ask for a bus to Ranwalla or Wedagama,
get off at Meetirigala (25 min. walk from bus-stop to monastery.) (Don’t take the bus to
Ameetirigala which is further away. If coming from the Ratanapura side one can take a bus to
Ameetirigala from Awissawella and ask the driver to stop at the Meetirigala junction. It is
about 40 mins. walk from there. If coming from Kandy, take Colombo bus and get off at
Nitambuwa, then go to Kirindiwela, etc.)
Nā Uyana AS. Pansiyagama 60554. Get down at Melsiripura on the Kurunegala - Dambulla
Rd, from there take bus to Pansiyagama. The road to the monastery is in very bad condition
and full of potholes, although the distance from Melsiripura is only 14 km it will take more
than 45 min to get to the monatery by car.
The senior monk is Ven. Nā Uyana Ariyadhamma (often in Galdūwa). The meditation teacher
is Ven. Ariyananda Thera, who speaks good English and has an excellent knowledge of the Pa
Auk Samatha and Vipassana methods. An ancient monastery with a few caves and a beautiful
forest with many big Ironwood trees. In the forest it is not too hot. There are 50-60 monks at
present and there is a strong meditative atmosphere. Well organised, clean and tidy. A new
meditation hall and some kuTis are being built on top of one of the hills. The most prominent
meditation place in the Galdūwa Sansthāva. Many foreign bhikkhus, Western as well as Asian,
have stayed here, but none have taken the Pabbajā and Upasampadā so far here. Nissarana
Vanaya is probably a better place to start the monastic life.
Island Hermitage. Polgasdūwa, Dodandūwa, 80250. Tel: 075-452453.
On 2 small forested islands in a tropical lagoon, 10 km south of the beach resort of Hikkadūwa.
One needs to write the abbot before one comes so that he can arrange to have you picked up
with the boat. Bhikkhus known to the place can try their luck at the Dodanduwa postoffice in
the afternoon as the monastery mail will be picked up from there.
This famous place was founded by Ven. Nyanatiloka in the early 20th century. There an
excellent PāBi, English, and German library. It generally is quite humid and hot and there is
some noise the flying foxes and egrets roosting in the trees and also from temples, houses, and
fishermen around the lake. A nice place for studies. Normally there are only few duties and a
lot of independent practice possible. Generally good Vinaya standards. Ven. Muditamana, a
junior Singhalese bhikkhu, has been the abbot for about three years. The last years few
westerners have stayed here. Amarapura Nikāya.
Ven. ÑāKavimala, the most senior Western (German) monk in the world, stays on
Parapadūwa, a neighbouring island (near Katudampe pansala), with 2 of his (Singhalese)
disciples. He is 93 now and it can be difficult to get permission to visit him.
University Forest Solitude or Bowalawatta A. Bowalawatta, Hantāna, nr. Kandy.
In a large forest (old tea-estate) on the mountain above Perādeniya University (1½ hours
walking). About 8 km from Kandy town. Quiet. Cool climate, approx. 15 kuTis, very neat,
clean, and orderly. Ven. Sanāthavihari thera is here occasionally. He speaks excellent English
and has experience with the Pa Auk method. He normally stays at Katupotha Kanda Aranya
near Anuradhapura. Many western monks have stayed here. Affiliated to the VajirañāKa
Dharmāyatana chapter of the Amapura Nikāya. Reasonable Vinaya. 7
At Kandy Clocktower Station take a Bowalawatta Bus. The conductors will know the place.
From there follow the small signs or ask the way.
Nilambe Meditation Centre, Galaha, Kandy. (Mr. Upul Gamage: 0777-804555.)
The major lay-meditation centre in Sri Lanka for western travellers. Many westerners, both
male and female, come here, but there are also some Sinhalese. Often a monk or two are
visiting or staying there as well, but it is mainly a place for lay-people. There is a 400/- a day
charge for lodgings and food (not for monks). There is a strong daily schedule and little
talking. In tea-estate-country on a mountain-top above Peradeniya. Quiet area. Cool, wet
climate, beautiful views. Relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Godwin Samararatne, the
respected and internationally known meditation teacher, was long connected to this place and
passed away in early 2000. The resident teacher for Singhalese meditators is Mr. Upul Gamage.
Other teachers also come occasionally. There is no resident teacher for westerners at the
About 20 kms south of Kandy. From Kandy take a bus to Galaha get off 17 km after
Peradeniya at the Nilambe Bungalow junction (conductors know the place). From there it is a
steep 40 min. climb through tea plantations. Follow the white arrows.
Siyane VMC or Kanduboda VMC. Kanduboda, DelgoLa. Tel. 011-2445518; 011-2570306. E-mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
A meditation centre and monastery with a long tradition of offering meditation-instruction to
Westerners. Besides monks and nuns also lay meditators are welcome and some get
ordination here. The main teacher and head monk is Ven. Upāli, who is very experienced in
the Mahāsi tradition. Women have a separate, enclosed area, and ordination has sometimes
been given for western women (which may interest potential dasa-sīl-maenayos). A few large
buildings with rooms and some kuTis. It It is close to a small road and surrounded by coconut
plantations and a few village houses. The teaching is in the Mahāsi tradition. The vinaya is
reasonable. The daily schedule and discipline is more relaxed than in the Mahāsi centres in
Burma. More individual meditation than group meditation.
Approximately 20 kms E of Colombo. From the CTB Bus Station at Olcott Mawatha, Pettah,
take the 224 bus which stops outside the monastery; also the 207 bus from Gampaha goes
there. Some of the buses to Kirindivella are passing near Kanduboda (but this is not a good
option, as they are infrequent). Kanduboda has more than 25 branches throughout the
country. Most are of no significance for westerners.
Sumantiphāla BM. Hibatgala Rd, Kanduboda, DelgoLa. Tel: 011-2402805.
A new meditation centre has been opened in 2003 on the land right next to Kanduboda. Lay
people can build kuTis and have access to them for life. This might interest to those who may
want to meditate but not become a monk. Thirty kuTis have been built already.
The head of the new centre is Ven. Pemasiri, a popular and experienced teacher in the Mahāsi
tradition who is helpful and friendly to foreigners. He used to stay in Kanduboda VMC and
then in Lanka Vipassana Centre. (See next entry.) Besides the Mahāsi method he also teaches
other traditional methods of meditation. The place is mainly for laypeople, but monks do visit
and stay here for limited periods. The female yogis and nuns have their own separate area.
The facilities are nice and spacious.
Lanka Vipassana IVMC. 108 Wijerāma Mawatha, Colombo 7. Tel. 011-2694-100. 8
This is a branch of Kanduboda. Ven. Pemasiri used to stay here, but moved to a new place
next to Kanduboda in 2003 (see previous entry) and his place was taken over by Ven.
AriyavaDsalaZkara. The place has had many Western long-term monastic- and lay-residents
and was also often visited by Western monks staying some days in Colombo for extending
visas etc. Good support, tidy, clean, quiet. In Colombo’s diplomatic quarter. Suitable place for
lay-people who like to meditate. Fairly quiet for Colombo standards. Women stay in a
Dhammakū,a VMC. Mowbray, Galaha Road, Hindagala, Perādeniya. (Nr. Kandy)
081-2234649/081-2385774-5/070-800057. email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.lanka.com/
Meditation centre where Vipassana Meditation courses are given in the tradition of Sayagi U
Ba Khin, as taught by S.N. Goenka. On a mountain, beautiful views, cool. Only courses, no
permanent residents. Once a year, in November or December, there is a course which is for
The capital of Sri Lanka. A hot, humid, noisy, polluted, and sensual place.
Pagoda Meditation Centre. 49/2, 1st Cross Street, Pagoda Road, Nugegoda. Tel: 011-2812397.
A new centre started by Ven. Olanda Ānanda, a well-known senior Dutch monk who speaks
fluently Sinhala and has been teaching meditation for a long time in Sri Lanka and abroad. There is
no accomodation to stay yet, but visitors are welcome. Retreats are planned. Situated in a fairly
area in a suburb of Colombo.
Kanduboda VMC. DelgoLa. See above.
Lanka Vipassana IVMC. 108 Wijerāma Mawatha, Colombo. See above.
Shri Kalyā/ī DA (Formerly known as ‘German Dharmadūta’), 418/31 Bauddhaloka Mawatha,
Colombo 07, 00700. (Tel: 01-696 494) Abbot: Ven. Nanda thera. Main Galdūwa place in
Colombo, thus sometimes crowded with visiting and sick monks from all over Sri Lanka.
Guest monks normally stay in a dormitory. Strict Vinaya standards, clean and tidy. Between a
major road and school, so it can be fairly noisy.
International Buddhist Research and Information Center (IBRIC) / Nārada Center, 380/9,
Sarana Road, Colombo 00700 Tel 689388. e-mail email@example.com Prof. Bhikkhu
Dhammavihari’s and Ven. Mettavihari’s place. On the ground floor there is a Buddhist book
shop with a wide selection of books. Small place, outsiders can’t stay here. The Danish
Bhikkhu Mettavihari is helpful and can provide useful information to westerners new to the
Bhikkhu Training Center - Maharagama. Lake Road, Maharagama, Tel. 011-2850-305 or
011-2850-207. Major training-centre for young Singhalese monks. The late Mahānayaka of the 9
Amarapura Nikaya used to stay here. There is a “meditation section” in the back where
foreign monks sometimes stay. The new Mahānayaka is in Ratmalāna. There are over 25
branches throughout the country, with Bowalawatte A. as its major forest hermitage.
Sambodhi Vihāra. 106 Wijerāma Mawatha, Colombo 00700. Tel. 011-689307. Next door to
Lanka Meditation Centre; see above. The abbot is Ven. Kusaladhamma thera. Small place,
with only a few monks and good support. Joining in for outside functions, such as dānas and
funerals of important people, is expected. Reasonable vinaya. It is next to road and somewhat
noisy. At the moment there is a very large building project going on on the premises.
Vajirārāmaya, Vajira Road, Bambalapitiya. Colombo 4 . Tel. 011-2584-202. Close to Gālla
Road. An old and reknown place with a famous tradition of scholars like Ven. Nārada,
Kheminda, and Ven. Piyadassi. The standards have gone down the last decades. Visitors
might have to go on piKLapāta and in this way they can normally stay without duties or
involvement. Good library, but it might be difficult to get access to. Amarapura Nikāya.
Buddhist Cultural Center, (= B.C.C), 125 Anderson Road, Nedimala, Dehiwala, Tel. 726234,
734256 Fax. 736737. Director: Ven. Vimalajothi thera. Comprehensive selection of Buddhist
Books. PTS books in stock. A deposit can be made on behalf of a monk so he can get books. It
is maybe possible to stay here. There is a branch-bookshop at the junction of Baudhaloka
Mawatha and Sarana-road in the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress compound, and 2 smaller
centres, one in Kelaniya, and another near Lake House alongside the cetiya opposite the
Hilton. Affiliated to this place is a meditation centre in Horana outside Colombo:
Dekandūwala Meditation Centre; see the next entry.
Dekandūwala M.C. Kananwila, Kahatapitiya, Horana. Inquiries and bookings should be
made through Ven. Vimalajothi at the Buddhist Cultural Center, see Colombo. It is situated on
a hill-top. KuTis and rooms. Good facilities, nice meditation hall, quiet, nice views. Westeners
are welcome to stay here. A place mainly for lay-meditators, but monks are also welcome.
Central Hospital Vajirārāmaya, Central Hospital, Colombo, 01 692018. Temple in General
Hospital. The resident bhikkhu is very helpful for sick monks.
Police Mortuary. St. Francis St. (Off Kinsey Rd.) It is situated in the small St Francis Street
behind the Medical College (which is opposite the SE corner of the General Hospital complex.)
This police morgue is suitable for practising the asubha-kamma!!hāna. Bhikkhus normally do
not need to get official permission to enter here and they can walk in and have a look.
(Otherwise, ask permission from the director, Dr. Alwis, or from one of the anatomists. The
monk at the nearby Central Hospital Vajirāmāya - see above - can help too.) There is very
poor hygiene and one needs to be careful. Don’t go bare-footed into the cutting theaters as
there are scalpels, blood stains, etc., on the floor. Open on all days, but on Saturdays and
Sundays only in the morning. Old corpses in various stages of decay are in the cool-cells next
to the main autopsy room and can be viewed too. Nearby, off Kinsey Road on the backside of
the Hospital, is the Hospital Mortuary where autopsies are also done.
Gilan-āvāsaya, 525/3 Elvitigala Mawatha, NārāhænpiTa, Colombo 5, 00500. Tel: 075-350-976.
Small place where sick Galdūwa monks can stay in Colombo. Affiliated to Galdūwa. 10
Vishva Niketan International Peace Centre. 72/30 Rawatawatte Road, Moratuwa. Tel/Fax:
(94-1)655653 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Affiliated to the Sarvodaya movement,
they have programs for males and females of all religions.
Divalpitiya Dhammāyatanaya. Divulapitiya. (Managed by The Leela Jayatilaka Trust)
Gothama T. Kalapaluwawa, Mulleriyawa-New Town.
Sri Kavidhaja Vachissara MC. High Level Road, Meegoda.
Vipassana Bhāvanāyatanaya. Sri Jayawardenapura, Rajamalwatte, Kumbukgahadūwa,
VMC. Talagala, Millewa.
The area around Colombo, Avissawella, and Gampaha.
Due to its proximity to the capital there are many monasteries here. Mostly flatland with some
small hills, rubber estates and paddyfields. Hot and humid climate. The monasteries and
centres in the area about 40 km around Colombo have been listed here, although they might
rather be in Kægalla district or another district.
Nissarana Vanaya, Mithirigala. See above Major Places list.
Sri Ñā/arāma Dharmāyatana, Mithirigala 11742. Nr. Kirindiwela. On the hill next to
Nissarana Vanaya. This place was set up to be the largest Study and Vinaya training centre of
the Galdūwa group but it was a flop. In the mid-nineties it became a Pa Auk meditation centre
for a while, since then it has been a quiet place with about six monks and no teacher. Large
medititation hall. Compound rooms. Regrowing forest.
Dikhena BM. Dikhena, Polgasowita 10320. (Tel: 780140) Meditation Centre. Facilities for
laymen and laywomen. Set in coconut estate near Piliyandala, Kesbewa, south of Colombo.
Facilities for about 12 monks. Two-week meditation courses for laymen and laywomen.
Excellent meditation hall. Fairly quiet. Abbot: Ven. Vinīta thera teaches Mahāsi Method. Ven.
Sumanasīla thera teaches Pa Auk method when visiting. At times a bit hot and humid.
Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Shanti Y. Arukpitiya, Talangama South 10120. (Tel: 864973) 10 km E of Colombo. Abbot- Ven.
Dhammasiddhi. Friendly and supportive. Monastery in small area with many buildings. A bit
cramped. A few kuTis. Some noise. Foreign monks have stayed here.
Ñā/acetiya Y. Raiyadoluwa, Uggalboda, Udugampola 11030. Head Monk: Ven.
Dhammananda who speaks good English and is very knowledgeable with regards the suttas
and vinaya. One can go on piKLapata. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Polwatta BM / Sri Dharmodaya BC. Industries Estate / Polwatta, Minuwangoda, Ekala 11380.
Near Ja Ela between Colombo and Negombo. About 1-2 acres with buildings on industrial
palm estate.. Not so suitable for meditation. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Haddagala AS or Indomulla AS. Indolamulla, Dompe 11680. About 20 kms E of Colombo.
Rocks, 20 minute climb, good views, secluded. 3-4 monks. Affiliated to Galdūwa. Maybe this
is the same place as Māligātenna described in FM p. 178.
Gothama T. Kalapaluwewa, Mulleriyawa-New Town. Buddhist centre established in a humid
and hot twelve acre forest grove three kilometres from the Colombo city limits. A monastery
with a Mahāsi tradition meditation centre and a boy’s orphanage. The abbot is D. Chandrasiri
thera, the nāyaka thera of the KaByāKavaDsa of the Amarapura nikāya to which the Tapovana
group and Ven. Kiribathgoda NāKānanda’s Mahanewna group are connected.
Mahamevnawa Bhāvanā Asapuwa. Dompe, Palugama. Monastery connected to Ven.
ÑāKānanda; see Mahamevnawa Asapuwa near Kǣgalla. KuTis in an regrowing jungle in an
abandoned rubber-estate on a hill in the Dompe area. About 16 monks. Well supported.
Amawathura Asapuwa. Pittugala, Malabe. Ven. Kiribathgoda ÑāKānanda’s teaching centre
for Colombo laypeople. Along road from Awissawella, near Colombo. Meditation centre in
suburban area. Large meditation and Dhamma hall. 4 monks.
Sri Piyananda VMC, Naiwala Road, Udugampola, Doranagoda, Gampaha. Quite a large
centre - probably has kuTis. Ven. Visuddhi is the headmonk. Westerners have stayed there.
Affiliated to Kanduboda.
IsigilikandaVMC. On a rock-hill with caves about 5 km away from Kanduboda towards the
north, near Naranwala, via Udupila. Hot. At the moment, 2004, somewhat run down and not
Upāsikārāmaya and Ma9galārāmaya, Mithirigala. A handful of Austrian monks are living
here. Simple kuTis, piKLapāta, few possessions, ardent practise of meditation. Disciples of Ven.
K. ÑāKananda. See Potgulgala Aranya under Kægalla District.
Sirima9gala Y. Danawikanda, Wæliveriya. On Colombo - Mitirigala bus route. Coconut estate.
Nice kuTis. One big house. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Aturugiriya BM, Aturugiriya 10150. Ask your way from Colombo. Abbot - Ven. ÑāKānanda
thera. Formerly a study place, but now a a meditation centre. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Ratnagiri Vivekāshrāmaya, Napawala, Awissavella. New place of Ven. Sanghasubhadra. Old
bungalow in rubber estate. Intends to build kuTis. 3 km from Awissavella.
Shri Kalyāna DA. No. 272, Dompe 11680. 35 kms E of Colombo. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Warana A. Warana. (= 5 km E from Yakkala on Colombo-Kandy road.) Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Devagiri AS. Puwakmal Ella, Udamalibada 71411. Avissawella area. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Shailagiri Y. Dæraniyagala 71430. Tel: 036-49455. 15 kms E of Awissawella, Kægalla District.
Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Shaila-pabbata Y. Vidiyawatta, (MiyanawiTa), Dæraniyagala 71432. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Nugasevana Senasuna. Waharaka, Gonagaldeniya 71304. (Midway between Nittanbuwa and
Ruwanwella. 12 km east of Kirindiwella.) Affiliated to Galdūwa. 12
Sama Uyana T. Galboda, Waturugama 11742. E ? of Kirindiwela. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Sri Shānta Tapovana AS. Katuwawa, KaBagedihena 11875. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Siri Mangala Y. Danawkanda, Kirikitta, Weliweriya 11710. 25 km NE of Colombo. Affiliated
Maligātenna AS. Gampaha. Affiliated to Waturawila.
Mahakanda Purāna AS. Alawala, Weyangoda. Affiliated to Waturawila.
Millatākanda AS. Millate, Kirindiwælla. Affiliated to Waturawila.
Bopætta Viveka S. Ūrāpola. (Between Nittanbuwa and Kirindiwælla.) Affiliated to
Kolankanda AS. Diddeniya, Hanwælla. Affiliated to Waturawila.
Katana VMC, Sri Wimaldhamma Tissa Mawatha, Katana (North). Affiliated to Kanduboda.
Indigolla MC, Indigolla, Gampaha. Affiliated to Kanduboda.
Katuwalamulle MC, Katuwalamulla, Ganemulla. Affiliated to Kanduboda.
Meegahawatta MC, Meegahawatta. Affiliated to Kanduboda.
The ancient capital of the hill country. A fairly large town with the temple of the tooth-relic
and the two headquarters of the Siam Nikaya. There are some forests left on the hills and
mountains. Temperate climate, cool at night.
Lewella MC, 160 Dharmashoka Mawatha, Kandy 20000, Tel. 08-2225471. Fax 08-2225471. A
Meditation Centre connected with Nilambe, mainly for lay-people, both Westerners and
Singhalese. There is a house near a road and 4 kuTis in the shrubby forest on the slope above
the house near the Eastern edge of the Udawattekele. Group-meditation in evening.
Yoga-classes. Monks are also welcome here. This place is in a town-area and can therefore be a
Sri Daladā Tapovanaya, Udawattakæle, Kandy. Headmonk: Ven Satimanta thera.
Forest-monastery/temple, 5 - 15 monks, at the entrance of the Udawattakele Sanctuary.
Western monks often stay here. Good support, kuTis and rooms. Clean and tidy. Affiliated to
the Tapovana group.
Forest Hermitage, Udawattakele, c/o Buddhist Publication Society, PO Box 61,
Kandy. Tel: 07777-65944. The hermitage of Ven. ÑāKatiloka, Ven. ÑāKaponika, and Ven. Bodhi.
The monastery is supported by the B.P.S. Good library. Monks and laypeople visiting the
Forest Hermitage need not pay the fee for the Udawattakele sanctuary. Small place. Visitors
usually need to go on piKLapāta. If one wishes to stay overnight it might be better to write
beforehand to the resident bhikkhu, Ven. ÑāKatusita. If there is no place one can stay at
Senanayakārāma (see below) or Tapovana.
Senanāyake Ārāmaya, Udawattakele, Kandy. Next door to Forest Hermitage. Quiet place
where both Western and Singhalese bhikkhus stay. Bhikkhus go on piKLapāta.
Potgul Vihāra. Anagarika Dharmapala Mawatha, Kandy. Amarapura Nikaya. A few kuTis.
Near the Kandy lake and the Temple of the Tooth (Sri Dalida Maligawa). On slope of 13
Udawattakele Sanctuary. Quite noisy due to being located above major road. Western
bhikkhus have stayed here.
Burmese Resthouse. D.S. Senanayaka Maw/Trincomalee Street. Near Trinity College.
Burmese vihāra on a major street in the center of Kandy. One or two Burmese monks are
residing here. Laypeople can get a room against a small payment and the place is popular
with western backpackers.
Primrose Vajirārāma Primrose Gardens, Kandy, Tel 08 225353. On hill above Kandy.
Westerners have stayed here. About 15 monks. There might be kuTis. Amarapura Nikāya.
Ulpatkanda A. S. Springhill Watta, Hantana, Kandy. Phone: 081-2233471. New place. KuTis
are under construction. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Buddhist Publication Society (B.P.S.), PO Box 61, 54 Sangharaja Mawatha, Kandy. Tel:
081-2237283. The B.P.S., founded by Ven. ÑāKaponika, has a big bookshop with large
assortment of Buddhist books. There is also a reasonable reference library upstairs.
Pāramitā International Buddhist Centre. No. 07 Balumgala, Kadugannāwa,
Tel/Fax.08-570732 (office). A recently built meditation centre on the hill above the point
where the Kandy-Colombo road starts going down the mountains (where the old road goes
through the rock); 20 km west of Kandy. There is a good library. A comfortable place geared
for westerners who like good facilities and food. Various teachers come for visits. Ven.
Sīlananda is the resident teacher and main organizer. Some noise from Kandy-Colombo road.
University Vihāra, Perādeniya University, Peradeniya. Vihāra in quiet area on the border of
the forest behind the University. Near the university library. Western monks sometimes stay
here, but it is a crowded and busy place.
Nilambe MC, Galaha Rd, Kandy. See Major Places above.
Dhammakuta VMC. Mowbray, Galaha Road. Hindagala, Peradeniya. See Major Places above.
University Forest Solitude or Bowalawatta A. Bowalawatta, Hantana, nr. Kandy. See Major
Subodhārāma, Peradeniya. Amarapura Nikaya. Pirivena/Study Centre. Rooms & kuTis. A few
western bhikkhus have stayed here. Possibly a good place for learning the Singhalese
language and monk’s chanting and customs etc.
Devanapathis International Samatha-vipassana Meditation Center, Pallakæle, Kandy. The
centre of the late Ven. Amatagavesi thera. Several Singhalese nuns and one monk are resident.
Meditation instruction and courses (on cassette-tapes) in English are available.
Bo Uyana AS. Pallegama, Nawalapitiya. Ven. Sumanasiri, also good young monk Ven.
AriyañāKa. New place. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Rock Hill Hermitage, Wegirikanda, Gampola. The place made a new start in 2003 after a long
period of absence of Ven. Kassapa, the abbot. It used to be a fairly popular place for Western
travellers in the nineteen-eighties. A rocky hill with caves in a quiet area. Ven. Kassapa, a
junior bhikkhu, has been much involved with helping dying people and in giving lectures to
doctors, etc, since being a layman in Australia.
Dumbara Y. c/o Amila Services. Digana, Rājawella, 20180. On Māhiyangana road from Kandy.
In the Victoria reservoir valley. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Sri Veluvana Y / Devagolla Y. Devagolla Alupathakada, Uduwela, Mahanuwara 20164. 4
miles along the Kandy-Uduwela Rd. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Sangharāja Gallena. Udawela, Upper Division, Hantana Estate, Kandy 20000.
Sri Dātu Gal-lena A. / Dri Daladalena As / Galiha A. Mahāweli Raja Mawatha,
Adhikārigama, Gonagantenna, Hanguranketa. 25 kms SE of Kandy on the road to
Randenigala Reservoir, less than 1 km from Adhikārigama. On steep, forested mountain-slope.
Nice views, from the vihāra the Randenigala reservoir can be seen. Small place, not so well
kept. Facilities for about 6 monks. A few ancient caves and kuTis. Moderately cool climate.
Maybe some noise from houses and the road in the valley. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Diyamakanda A. Liyamagahakotuwa, Handessa. Between Perādeniya and Gampola, near the
Embekke devale. Small place, 2 monks, caves. Probably connected to Waturawila.
Dhammika Puññavaradhanāshramaya. Makehelwela, Wattegama, 71411. Affiliated to
Bambaragala. Digana. An ancient cave monastery on a rocky hill near the Victoria dam.
Connected to Asgiriya Siyam Nikāya. Now a village temple but on the hill there are old caves.
Nuwara Eliya District
The centre and highest part of the hill country. Coolest climate in Sri Lanka. Mostly tea estates,
but there is some remnant forests on the mountains.
Rahatungoda Y. Hewahæta 20440. 30 kms SE of Kandy. Tea-estate country. Very cool. 3
resident monks. Friendly and helpful abbot: Ven. Nyanavimala. 6 nice kuTis. Several foreign
monks have spent Vassa here and many visited. Not far from village and there might be some
village-noise. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Asokārāmaya, Hawa Eliya, Nuwara Eliya. Tel 052 280994. Probably the coldest monastery in
Sri Lanka. Western monks sometimes stay here. Rooms. VajirañāKā Amarapura Nikāya.
Udakirinda BM. Bogakumbara, Welimada. Meditation-centre with compound and also a few
kuTis. Siyam-nikāya. Mahāsi Method. A few westerners have stayed here. Mountain area 5
miles north of Keppetipola. 15
Haputale District / Uva province.
The southern edge of the hill and mountain country. Cool climate and spectacular views over
the southern lowland. Mostly tea and vegetable estates.
Kolatenna Hermitage, Bandārawela. Another place where western bhikkhus have stayed for a
long time, but at present the only residents are Sinhalese bhikkhus from nearby Kahagolla,
Diyatalāwa. Rooms for approx. 4 persons, good library. PiKLapāta. Over 1000m altitude, cool
climate. Surrounded by village and tea-estates on a mountain-slope above village-areas. Noise
from temples, an army-camp, and the surrounding villages. From Bandarawela walk approx.
2 kms on the Haputale Road, then at the railway crossing turn down to the right. Founded by
a Tsech monk in the 1960’s.
Shri Ñā/ārāma Vivekāshramaya / Kahagolla A. Kahagolla, Diyatalāwa 90150. 5 kms SW of
Bandārawela, Badulla District. Above 1000m, cool, nice climate. Rooms in a communal
building. In village area, near army-camp. Can be noisy. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Piyangala A. Welihællagama, Diyatālawa 90150. Small aranya with a few kuTis on a slope
with pineforest in a quiet river-valley 4 km south of Diyatalāwa. Cool climate. Probably a few
monks from Kahagolla are residing here, ask your way from Kahagolla A.
Kalyā/ī Yogāshrama. Nikapitiya, Gampaha, near Koslanda. Between Haputale/Beragala and
Wellawaya, Uva Province. 200 acres of forested land. Still undeveloped due to lack of funds.
Only one hut. Affiliated to Galdūwa. Not as high as Haputale, but still has a pleasant climate
with cool nights.
Coastal district. Hot and humid. On the inland hills, where it rains a lot, there are some small
wilderness areas. Flatland along coast. Rubber and palm estates.
Kalugala AS. Pahalahewessa, Badureliya, Mātugama.
One of the nicest places in Sri Lanka in terms of seclusion and nature. Remotely situated
inside a valley surrounded by hills. Western bhikkhus have stayed here for long periods.
Meditative atmosphere. Friendly monks. Good vinaya. KuTis and caves. Wet, dense forest
with many leeches. Moderate temperature. The most senior monk, who was formerly the
abbot and meditation teacher, is very old now, but the second and third monks are
experienced meditators are helpful. Not a place which is suitable for beginners. Founded in
1942; see FM p. 178. The place is unaffiliated to any tradition and monks from both
Waturawila Vanavāsin group and the Amarapura nikāya stay here.
From Kalutara take a bus to Mātugama, from there a bus to Badureliya, and then about an
hour of walking. Or, when coming from the South along the Gālla-Colombo road, take a bus
from Aluthgama to Pelawatta and walk for more than an hour.
Madakada AS. (Ingiriya A.) Ingiriya Approx. half way on the Pānadura-Ratnapura road.
Forest in river-gulley. Wet. Friendly abbot. Good vinaya. About 15 monks. This seems to be
the headquarters now of a section of the Waturawila group who are keeping strict vinaya 16
standards (not touching money etc.) and follow the example of the Galdūwa group.
Alligned with this group is Salgala, and a number of other aranyas.
Bodhināgala A. on Pānadura-Ratnapura Road, one mile before Ingiriya, sign along Road.
Forest monastery. Amarapura Nikaya.
Dharmadvīpa Y. Kalawilawatta, Aluthgama. Place near beach in a mangrove forest at the
mouth of the Bentota Ganga. Hot and humid. The head monk, Ven. Sārananda, is very kind
and helpful. He is teaching meditation at local ayurveda clinics, etc. A farily large place, with
about 15 monks. There are kuTis among the mangroves, but the main attraction of this place is
the little rock-island about 50 m. off the beach with a few kuTis. It is accessible only by boat. A
few western monks have stayed here. On the beach, visible from one side of the island,
western girls in and out of bikinis might attract unrestrained eyes... (At the 59 km. stone on
Colombo-Gālla road. Step out at the Blue Lagoon Hotel or at the big bridge over the Bentota
Shri Kalyāna DA. De Abrew Mawatha, Kalutara North 12000. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Spacious compound on beach. No kuTis but 3 rooms. Helpful English speaking monk.
Tundola A. Egodakanda, Polgampala, Matugama, 12136. Via Mātugama and Agalavatta. Not
far from Kalugala A. Abandoned for long time as the local laypeople lost faith due to the
misbehaviour of a monk. In 2004 bhikkhus connected to Kandubodha/Lanka Vipassana
Centre went there to stay. 10 kuTis on a hill. Rainforest. From Mātugama take Pelwatta bus,
get down at Polgampola.
Pūjālena AS. Kirimætiyāwala, Hædigala 12234. (Nr Horana). Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Migahatenna BM. Migahatenna, Siyambalope. (E of Bentota, not far from Kalugala A.)
Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Weligalpotta AS. Yagirala, Awittawa. (? Kalutara Distr.) Affiliated to Waturawila.
The gem district. Hills and mountains. Some fairly large wilderness areas in the mountains
and hills. Warm and humid climate.
Sinharāja Prānta AS. Kadamuduna, Bulutota, Rakwāna, more than 30 kms SE of Ratnapura.
On the top of a slope on a mountain-range in tea-estate country. Beautiful views. Cool, dense
rain-forest. (Leech-country). Western bhikkhus have stayed here. Affiliated to Waturawila.
Sīlasamāhita YA or Belihul Oya BM. Sīlagama, Belihul Oya, 70140. 15 kms north-west of
Balangoda on the road to Haputale. About 6 monks, some noise from road below, cool climate
and beautiful scenery. Ven. ÑāKaramita, a senior German monk, is living there. Affiliated to
Lellopitiya VBM. Lellopitiya 10 km E of Ratnapura. The head monk is Ven. Piyananda, the
Swegyin Mahānayaka thera and Vinaya ācariya. Quite a large centre, with emphasis on study,
well situated. Affiliated to Kanduboda. 17
Balangoda VMC. Thotupola-tenna, Balangoda. The head monk is Ven. Mahānāma who is
very kind and helpful. Foreign monks have stayed there. A number of kuTis, well situated
atop a hill, good support from local village. Affiliated to Kanduboda.
Śri Nandārāma. Udumulla, Bulatgama, via Balangoda. The late Ven. Balangoda Ānanda’s
place. The Japanese sect leader Aum Shinryo had a very large library built here in which Ven.
Balangoda Ānanda’s large collection of books is kept. A pansala with a few kuTis. On hill-top,
scenic views over the mountains. Amarapura Nikāya.
Samangiri AS. Warnagala, Eratna 70560. (On Avissawella-Ratnapura road turn left at
Kuruwita.) On Sri Pāda mountain.
Sri Pada AS. Siripagama, Palabaddala. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Indolawatta AS or Assagiri YA. Indolawatta, Ayagama 70024. (= 12 km west of Ratnapura.)
Hermitage affiliated to Galdūwa.
Badūwæla Kanda Ku,iya. c/o Mahindakade, Gangodakanda, Ayagama 70024. (= 12 km west
of Ratnapura.) Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Iluktenna AS. Panilkanda, Ulliduwāwa, Deniyāya. Affiliated to Waturawila.
Sri Dhammapāla AS. Kolawenigama, Pallegama, Deniyāya. Affiliated to Waturawila.
Budulena AS. Waturāwa, Kalawāna. Affiliated to Waturawila.
Bambaragala AS. Galpāya, Pallebedda, Godakawela. Affiliated to Waturawila.
Samanala AS. Massænna, Balangoda. Affiliated to Waturawila.
Bulatwatta Gāllena AS. Lellopitiya. Affiliated to Waturawila.
Ætugalakanda AS. Kolandagala, Lellopitiya. Affiliated to Waturawila.
Merekele AS. Paranagama, Ellawala. Affiliated to Waturawila.
Coastal district. Hot and humid. The headquarters of the forest tradions of Sri Lanka are in
this district. Inland there are some fairly large wilderness areas on the hills and mountains
such as the Singharāja NP. The Singharaja area is the largest and wettest rainforest in Sri
Island Hermitage, Dodandūwa, see Major Places above. .
Shri Gunawardhana Y. or Galdūwa A. Galdūwa, Kahawa. Between Ambalangoda and
Ven. Ariyadhamma is the abbot of this monastery, as well as the head of the Galdūwa group.
He is highly proficient in the Pa Auk meditation system as well as in the Mahāsi meditation
system and is a TipiTaka BhāKaka, having mastered the Pāli scriptures. The place is mainly a
training center for junior monks. Three times daily Buddha-Puja/Vandana and a lot of
scriptural study. Ven. Ariyadhamma knows and visits all Galdūwa places regularly and can
give advice about their suitability. Hot and humid climate as it is situated in a palm-estate
area on the edge of a swamp adjoining the coast.
Vanavāsa Sa9gha Mūlasthānaya or Waturawila A. Waturawila, Tibbotuwæwa, Kahadūwa.
About 20 km inland (NE) from Hikkaduwa. The headquarters of the Waturawila group. One
section is a large pirivena with many novices, the other section is a forest-monastery. 18
Deldūwa A. In the Ambalangoda area. The headquarter of the Deldūwa forest division of the
Kottawa Nāga A. Kottawa, Kottagama. 12 km E of Gālla. Take bus to Udagama from Gālla
and get off at Kottawa junction.
About 50 acres of forest on small hills with a stream running through it. Fairly quiet. Warm &
humid. Several kuTis. Western monks have stayed here regularly. At present the Austrian Ven.
ÑāKaasanta, who was formerly at the Island Hermitage, is residing here. Affiliated to
Tripitaka DA. (Koggala A.). Koggala, Habarāduwa 80630. 10 km SW of Gālla.
Originally a meditation monastery, but it is now more study orientated. The monastery
comprises of a number of buildings and kuTis situated on a small raised elevation of land
jutting out into a lagoon and approached by a causeway. Hot and humid. Affiliated to
Diviyāgala AS. Kosgoda 80570. 10 kms south of Bentota.
The headmonk, Ven. Dhammasīla Mahāthera, has been long time resident of Nissarana
Vanaya. Quiet, nice patch of forest, about 6 monks. Good kuTis. At times hot and humid. Good
library, also English books. Good food and vandana in the evening. Forest hermitage affiliated
Opāta A. / Rajavangala A. Opāta, Akuressa, 81442. 30 km SE of Gālla.
Nice monastery in forested hilly area with streams. Ven. SuguKasāra, a meditation teacher in
Pa Auk tradition, helpful and friendly, is staying here. Wet, not too hot climate. Affiliated to
Galdūwa. Take an Akuressa bus from Gālla and then an Udugama or Tawalama bus. Get
down at Opāta. Senanayaka Rd, 3 1/2 kms from Opāta.
Suddællāva AS. Ihalahewessa, Pitigala. (10 kms NE from Elpitiya) This is supposed to be a
nice place, beautifully situated, but a little hard living. Affiliated to Waturawila.
Sinhalena T. Kosmulla, Neluwa 80082. About 50 km NE of Gālla. 30 km E of Ambalangoda.
Abbot -Ven. JinavaDsa. Few monks. On the western edge of the large Singharāja Rain-Forest
National Park. Dense rainforest with streams and waterfalls etc. Wet and humid, moderately
cool climate. Two large (unused) rock-caves inside the monastery boundary. Take bus from
Gālla to Neluwa and then walk for about one hour (or more?) up a mountain through
tea-plantations. Western bhikkhus have stayed here for long periods. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Uluwahugala AS. Mawita, Neluwa, 80082. Nr. Neluwa; see above. Forest Hermitage affiliated
Vihāragoda Viveka Senasenaya, Vihāragoda, Watugedara 80340. Ambalangoda area.
Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Vivekārāmaya. Godakanda, Karapitiya. Just outside Gālla town. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Shri Ñā/abhasara Y. Ihala Dickson Pāra, Gālla 80000. Tel: 075451762. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Sri KaByāKā DA. Lawallena Watta, Baddegama 80200. (= 10 km inland from Hikkadūwa.)
Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Nāgala A. Eppala, Panangala. 80075. Near Sinharaja NP. Affiliated to Galdūwa. 19
Sītaladela AS. Nākiyādeniya Watta, Pilidola KoTasa, Nākiyādeniya. Affiliated to
Nugagala AS. Yālagala, Hiniduma, Udugama. Remote forest monastery. Affiliated to
Digālena AS. Narawæl Kætiya, PiTuwala, Elpitiya. Affiliated to Waturawila.
Diwankaralena AS. Dūwa PiTuwala, Elpitiya. Affiliated to Waturawila.
Viveka S. Agalia, Baddegama. (= 10 km inland from Hikkadūwa.) Maybe connected to
Coastal district. Hot and humid. Some small wilderness areas, but generally developed.
Flatland along coast, inland some hills.
Shri Rohana Y./Puhulwella A. Puhulwella, Hakmana 81390. 15 km E of Mātara. Ask your
way from Mātara. Well-known and well supported place. KuTis in 2 lines up forested hill.
Foreign monks have stayed here. Some sound from village. Warm and humid. Affiliated to
Galdūwa. Founded in the early 1950’s; see FM 218.
Ellakanda AS. Kækanadura 81020. 10 kms E of Mātara.
Abbot: Ven. Sudhamma. A very calm cultured thera with learning and experience in
meditation. Meditation-centre. It is situated in a state forest on a peninsula surrounded by a
reservoir. Several foreign monks have stayed here for extended periods. Warm and humid.
Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Kirinda A. Kirinda. 15 km NE of Mātara. Old forest on a hill. A historical place, as it is the
oldest continually occupied forest monastery in Sri Lanka, founded by Ven. Paññānanda, the
founder of the Rāmañña nikāya, in the early 1850’s; see FM p. 69 f. Affiliated to Deldūwa.
Ba,uvita A. BaTuvita. In the Mātara area. (A few miles from Puhulwella A.) Affiliated to
Deldūwa. The second oldest forest monastery in Sri Lanka; see Kirinda A. above.
Tummodara AS. Kandambigoda, Parapāmulla, Hakmana. (20 km NE of Mātara). Affiliated to
Aharagala AS. Dellawa, Morawaka 81477. Approx 30 kms N of Mātara. Forest hermitage
affiliated to Galdūwa.
Nigrodhārāmaya S. Waturawa, Beliatta, Kumbara Post Office 70456.(= 30 km E of Mātara.)
Hermitage affiliated to Galdūwa.
Rammale AS. Rammala, Warāpitiya, Walasmulla. (= 30 km NE of Mātara.) Affiliated to
Wawulagala AS. Wawulagala Watuyāya, Hawupe, Imadūwa. Affiliated to Waturawila.
Siri Sugata T. Poratota, Akuressa. Affiliated to Waturawila.
Dediyagala AS. Dediyagala, Malidūwa, Akuressa. Affiliated to Waturawila.
The TipiTaka was first written down at the Aluvihāra near Mātale town. The northern part of
the hill and mountain country. Some large wilderness areas. 20
Laggala Forest Area. There are a number of kuTis with excellent seclusion in the large
wilderness area between the eastern slopes of the Knuckles Mountain Range (Dumbara
Kanda), E of Mātale, and the Wasgamuwa National Reserve, SW of Polonnaruwa.
Conditions are simple and sometimes tough. Open 3 wall kuTis and caves, small remote
villages, sometimes long and rough piKLapāta and simple food, (a little) chance of malaria,
elephants, leopards, and bears. A place for those who are lovers of intense solitude and are
experienced in bhāvana. Ven. SaZkicca can help to introduce one to this area; see the next
Watagala BM, Watagala, Moragaha Ulpata, Wilgamuwa 21000. Near Laggala, Hettipola.
Abbot -Ven. Sankicca thera. He speaks good English and likes to help with introducing
foreign monks to the Laggala area; see above. Only facilities for 3 monks. Caves and kuTis.
Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Lunuatuwa A. Udutenna 21006. Mātale - Godapola, Alwatta. About 5-8 kms outside Mātale
by bus. Large cave used as vihāra. Facilities only for a few monks. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Nirodha International Bhāvanā Centre. Knuckles Estate Bungalow, Bambara Ella, Wattegama.
On upper Western slopes of the Knuckles Range, 30 km NE of Kandy. Tea and cardamom
estates. Quite cool, lots of rain, spectacular views. An old British tea-estate house. Manager
living in other side of house. Large rooms. Nice place for walking, but there are many leeches.
The place is connected to Ven. Homagama Kondañña but he is not there most of the time.
A few kms away there is a very large natural cave in a small valley above (NE) the Bambara
Ella village (below the Nirodha estate). It is not used but could be a suitable place. Ask the
estate manager (Mr. Jewanis) in Bambara Ella. Take a bus from Wattegama (on Kandy-Mātale
Rd) to Bambara Ella (by way of Panwila.)
Cetiya Giriya, Maningamuwa, Pallepola, Mātale District. On a rocky hill 20 km NW of Mātale.
Moderately cool climate. The English Bhikkhu Ānandajoti is looking after the place. Small
centre, only 2 or 3 monks. A few kuTis and caves. Two caves connected to this place are
semi-independent. Amarapura Nikāya.
Gallenawatta AS. Ætābendiwæwa Pāra, Pannampitiya. Turn left from the Mātale-Dambulla
Rd. ± 8 km before Dambulla. About 1.5 km. Caves in the base of a hill. KuTis close to each
other, but there are many other caves in this area. A few bhikkhus and several novices.
Further on the road there are ancient ruins. Friendly abbot. Affiliated to Waturawila.
Enderagala S. Palwehera, Dambulla (6 km north of Dambulla, on Habarana Rd.). This is now
the headquarters of a small group of monasteries that broke away from Waturawila. Mihindu
A. in Mahintale, and Ritigala A. are affiliated with this group.
Pidurangala. Pidurangala Rājamahāvihāra, Pidurangala, Sigiriya. 2 km E of Sigiriya rock, near
ancient monastery ruins. Several ancient cave kuTis under a large boulder-hill in the Sigiriya
forest not far from a Pirivena. Some caves have been repaired, but might not have been used
for a number of years as the pirivena is not a meditation centre. The friendly head monk will
probably be supportive if one wishes to stay in one of the caves. 21
Māliyadeva Devala Len Vihāraya. Elkaduwa Pāra, Punchi Mola, Wattegama. Comfortable
kuTis and a cave where the arahant Māliyadeva is supposed to have stayed. Supposed to be a
nice place on a mountain with forest. The place belongs to a Siyam Nikaya scholar monk who
comes for retreats here and is supportive in supporting forest monks who want to maintain
proper vinaya practice.
Konāravatta. Atanvala. S of Kaikawala/Rattota, nr Mātale. Tel: 066-2233450. New, scenic
place on the slopes of the Knuckles Range. Belonging to ex-Nyanasīha bhikkhu (Germany),
now Peter. Monks or laypeople can build their own kuTis here. If Peter is not there the
caretaker is Chandrā.
Sri JinavaCsa Y. Mātale Road. Elkaduwa 21012. Near road and town. Rooms in compound.
Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Gallena AS. Wǣwalawæwa, Dambulla. Affiliated to Waturawila.
Rangirigama AS. Rangirigama, Dambulla. Affiliated to Waturawila.
Nāgolla Nadī S. Nāgala Wæwa, Kimbissa, Dambulla. Affiliated to Waturawila.
Dambulla VMC, Kalundewa Road, Dambulla. Affiliated to Kanduboda.
Samādhi T. Tambarā Waliya Road. Aluvihāra, Mātale. Cave-kuTis.
In the foothills of the central mountains. Humid climate. Less hot than the coast. Hills and
Potgulgala A. Pahankanuwa, Devālagama. 10 km north of Kǣgalla.
Ven. K. ÑāKananda thera is living here. He is the author of "Concept and Reality" and "Magic
of the Mind.’’ He speaks fluent English and is very knowledgeable in PāBi. He is a meditation
teacher with several devoted western disciples, mostly Austrian, who are usually living at the
Upasikārāmaya and Mangalārāmaya in Meetirigala; see below. The meditation instructions
are sometimes received from the late Ven. ÑāKarāDa through a female medium in Meetirigala.
Simple conditions, only piKLapāta food, a few kuTis and a few caves to live in. Daily vandana.
The location is on a hilltop and there can be some noise from the surrounding villages. Cooler
than the low-country. From Kǣgalle get a bus to Devalegama, and from there ask your way.
Unaffiliated to any tradition.
Salgala AS. Galapitade, Warakāpola. 50 kms E of Colombo. From Warakāpola 15 km to the S
towards Ruwanwella. Large quiet forest monastery on a mountain-top. One of the first
modern forest monasteries, founded in 1934; see “Forest Monks of Sri Lanka” p. 175. Well
known. Nice kuTis, including caves. Western bhikkhus have stayed here for periods. Wet,
dense forest with many leeches. Moderately cool climate. Affiliated to Waturawila.
Nāvimana Y. or Warakāpola AS. Warakāpola 71600. Tel 078-641-662. 1½ miles along
Warakāpola - Mirigama Rd, on top of hill. Friendly place. In Mahagony forest. Noise from the
armycamp and villages below the hill. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Mahamevnawa Bhāvanā Asapuwa, Waduwæwa, Polgahāwella. (= 10 km N of Kǣgalla.
Turn off to Waduwæwa from Yangamodara (3,5 km) on the Alawwa - Polgahāwella rd.) The
head monastery of the movement around the very popular teacher Ven. Kiribathgoda
ÑāKānanda, an English speaking, meditative monk who is quite knowledgeable about the
suttas. There are about 60 monks here. KuTis in a forest on a hill. In June 2004 Ven. ÑāKānanda
together with 45 other novice disciples received the Upasampadā. Connected to the
KalyāKavaDsa branch of the Amarapura Nikāya. Strict practice of the Dhamma and Vinaya.
There are 4 branch monasteries connected to this monastery and more are planned. Well
Ānanda Bodhi Āshramaya. Pitiyagama, Kiriwadunna 71014. (or Hiriwadunna?). Nr. Kægalla.
Hermitage affiliated to Galdūwa.
Wellagala Y. Diwela, Pallegama 71022. Nr. Kǣgalla. Forest hermitage affiliated to Galdūwa.
Bodhithenna Y. Talgamuwa, Devanāgala 71527. Between Kægalla and Kandy. Affiliated to
Tummodara Y. Udugama, Hettimula, Kǣgalla. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Ānandabodhi Y. Aranāyaka -20 kms SE of Kǣgalla. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Narangala Ānandabodhi Āshramaya. Ambalakanda, Aranayaka (= 15 km W of Gampola.)
Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Ashokāranya S. Alawwa, Ranawala, Beligalla 71044. On Ranawala - Beligalla Rd, 1 mile from
Alawwa, on Colombo - Kurunegala Rd. Probably a very small place. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Koswatta A. Nawa Colombo Para, Polgahawella 60300. (On Colombo-Kurunegala Rd.)
Probably a small place. Affiliated to Galdūwa. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Kodigala Y. Kehelpannala, Hemmatagama 71530. Between Kǣgalla and Kandy. Affiliated to
Sri Dharmodaya Y. Manikkawa, Hingula 71520. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Diviyāgala Y. Randiwela, Karapane. Between Kǣgalla and Kandy. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Kægalla Abhayabhūmi T. Bandaranāyake Mawatha, Kǣgalla. Affiliated to the Tapovana
Mawanella VMC, Māwanella. Affiliated to Kanduboda.
(FM 157 mentions a hermitage founded by A. Ratanapāla. It has ancient caves and is situated
on a hill top near AsmaKLala, near Māwanella.)
Negombo and Chilaw area.
Ranaketugala AS. Tutiriwela, Bandar, Koswatta 60424. Affiliated to Galdūwa. 20 km N of
Nekkawila VMC, Nekkawila, Chilaw. Affiliated to Kanduboda.
There are many aranyas and monasteries in this district. The better known ones are Na-Uyana
A. and Arankæle A. People in this district are known for their strong faith. Warm climate.
Hills and flatland. Wildnerness areas on and around the hills. there are ancient cave kuTis On
every hill in this area there are likely to be ancient cave kuTis.
Na Uyana AS. Pansiyagama. See Major Places section above. 23
Arahatta Maliyadeva AS. or Arankæle A. Arankæle, Kumbukwæwa, Kurunægala District.
The head monk Ven. Piyadassi, is helpful. Good vinaya. On the site of the medieval
monastery, about 15 or more kuTis and caves. Good library. Westerners have stayed here.
Ancient cave monastery where the Singhalese arahant Maliyadeva lived. His simple cave can
still be visited. About 20 monks, including young novices. Amarapura Nikāya.
Ruwangirikanda A. Karagahagǣdara, Nārammala 60106. 15 km SW of Kurunægala.
Formerly a major monastery. Forested hill with a nice cave-kuTi on top. Also other cave-kuTis
and ordinary kuTis. Foreign monks have stayed here. Quiet and suitable for meditation. Warm
climate. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Nāthagane AS. Mahākeliya, Māspota 60344. 10 kms out of Kurunægala on Puttalam road.
Abbot - Ven. Sirivimala. Forested hill-side. About 10-12 kuTis. Some isolated caves. Friendly
atmosphere. Suitable for meditation. Also a study and training place for young monks. Some
noise from nearby Puttalam Road. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Siri Vidusarana T. / Nabæta A. Henegedera Landa, Nabæta 60540. Nr. Mælsiripura on
Kurunægala - Dambulla Rd. Nice forest. Small monastery. Near main-road but fairly quiet.
Facilities for 4-5 monks. There can be a lack of water during the dry season. Affiliated to
Nāgolla A. also known as: Devahuwa A. or Gomoktāwa A. Nāgolla, Bulanawewa, Devahuwa,
Galēwela 21206. (On Kurunægala-Anuraddhapura Rd.). Turn off at the Mosque and then
walk along the cart road to the aranya. Ancient Cave Monastery on a large hill. About 6
monks, some speak English. Nice forest (Iron-wood-trees). Probably suitable for meditation.
Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Dolukanda A. / Rankotlena AS. Dolukanda, Hunupola, Nikadalupotha 60582. Tel 072-289837.
Not far from Arankæle Aranya in Kurunægala District. Ancient Cave Monastery. On lower
forested slope of the Dolukanda mountain. (The ancient Arankele monastery is on the other
side of the mountain.) Nice big caves, but the place was/is (?) used mostly for popular big
Bodhi-pujas with loudspeakers. On the top of the mountain is a 500 metre long, partly
forested plateau with spectacular views where there used to be a fortress/palace of a king, the
bathing-pond is still there. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
In a cave (connected to Arankele A.) on the side of this mountain-plateau an American monk
strenuously practised Asubha meditation with corpses brought to him by villagers until he
went (temporarily) mad and disrobed. The pictures of his practice might still be at Arankæle
monastery. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Jathika Namal Uyana. Upalathagama, Galkiriyagama, Madatugama. Small aranya/pansala
on a hill in a fairly large forested area. Ancient stupa and ruins. Rose-quartz rock-outcrops.
The abbot, Ven. Vanavasi Rāhula, is trying to protect the quartz and build up a monastery. 10
km north from Devahuwa A.
Rangirigala A. Diddeniya, Melsiripura 60544. Turn off at Melsiripura. Ancient Cave
Monastery on a rocky hill. Facilities for about 4 monks. Meditative atmosphere. Affiliated to
Galdūwa. Abbot: Ven. ÑāKasīla, a supportive English speaking Vinayadhara. 24
Ridivihāra Kaelepansala. There is a newly prepared cave on a nicely forested hill about half
an hour walk from this ancient and rich vihara belonging to the Malwatta Nāyaka thera.
Fairly quiet. PiKLapāta to nearby village. Close to well and stream. There are also several
other caves in the forest. The incumbent of Ridivihāra needs to be consulted if one wishes to
From Kurunægala take the Kæpitigolla bus and get out at the Ridivihāra Devāla and walk to
Bambaragala MC. Moratiya. On the Kurunægala - Kæpitagolla Rd. Less than 10 km from
Kurunægala. A place set up as a meditation center by a Siyam Nikāya monk, but is now a
Pansala as the founder went abroad. Several kuTis and a large unfinished Dhammahall on a
Minnettiya A. Māspota, Mahakæliya. In the area of Wariyapola on Kurunegala -Puttalam Rd.
1 cave kuTi with one monk. Near village. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Pahankanuwa A. Kandegedara, Maharacchimulla. Maybe affiliated to Kandubodha.
Wæwgala A. Wæwgala, Kurunægala. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Ætugala AS. Ætugala, Kurunægala 60000. Forest hermitage affiliated to Galdūwa.
Sudarshana Y. Gantiriyāwa, Bamunākotuwa 60347. 5 kms NW of Māspota, near Wariyapola
on the Kurunægala - Puttalam Rd. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Rambapokuna AS. Kandegædæra, Nikawæratiya 60470. (= Midway on the Kurunægala -
Puttalam Rd. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Dandūwawa AS. Dandūwawa, Nikawæratiya 60470.. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Banakiyangama Y. / Sri KaByāKī Shaka Y. Banakiyanagama, Mūnamaldeniya 60218. 10 kms
along Kuliyapitia -Hettipola Rd, Kurunegala District. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Sri Tampa//i A. Welewewa. Navagattegama 61520. 15 km W of Galgamuwa. Affiliated to
Kappetigala AS. Galnewa, Tuttiripitiyagama 60426. (= 10 km NE of Māho.) Affiliated to
Nāgansole AS. Ratandala Oya, Nikawæratiya 60470. 3 miles along Nikaweratiya -Hidogama
Rd. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Nammuwagama AS. Sindagamdaluwa, Nikawæratiya 60470. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Hidogama AS. Mahagirilla. Along Nikawæratiya -Māho Rd. 2 miles to Mahagirilla then to
Hidogama. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Yahangala AS. Delwahuwa, Galēwela 21206. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Saliya Lena AS. Galkiriyākanda, Moragollāgama. Affiliated to Waturawila.
Kodigala AS. Polpitigama. Approx. 40 kms north of Kurunegala and 10 km E of Māho.
Affiliated to Waturawila.
Sudarshanapura VMC, Sudarshanapura, Mawatagama, Kurunegala Dt. Affiliated to
Telandapitiya, Tarangollagama, Maragolla Bazar. 10 km from Migalawa. Caves and kuTis.
Probably the driest district in Sri Lanka, especially along the coast. Hot. Some large wilderness
areas such as Yala. Generally flatland, but there is the Wedahitakanda near Kataragama. 25
Nimalawa AS. Kirinda, Tissamahārāmaya 82614. 12 kms SE of Tissamahārāmaya. About 3 km
walking from Kirinda on the way to Yala national park. Founded in 1951; see FM p. 212.
Abbot: Ven.Dhammadassī, a very strict Mahāthera. It is rather hot in the dry season. Ancient
cave kuTis under boulders in the jungle. It is bordering Yala national park and therefore there
is contact with elephants and other wildlife. Foreign monks have stayed here.
Chanting/Vandana 2 or 3 times a day, foreign monks are sometimes exempted. About the
driest climate you can get in Sri Lanka. Long hot piKLapāta starting at 9 am (about 40 minutes
each way). Now has a new centre with caves which is about 1,2 km more remote than the
original centre, the piKLapata taking consequently that much longer.
From here it is worthwhile to visit the ancient forest monastery of Situlpawa in Yāla National
Park; see below.
Situlpawa. Large ancient cave-monastery. There are ancient ruins and probably more than a
hundred cave-kuTis on large 70 meter high granite boulders sticking out of the jungle. It is
mentioned in the commentaries as a place where there were so many arahants flying in the
sky that they obscured the sunlight and the farmers could not grow their crops! The
incumbent monk of the place is Ven. Hemaratana thera, a Siyam-nikāya monk, who speaks
English well. Austere western monks are welcome to stay in the caves (after asking
permission from headmonk.) Food can be gotten from the temple and from pilgrims who
come to see the stupas and ruins. There are many animals, some are dangerous. Also has a
few rest-houses where laypeople can stay. The abbot has plans to make a forest monastery.
Accessible from Tissamahārāma, Kirinda, or Kataragama. It is easiest to walk along the
access-road from Tissa and get a lift with the pilgrim-busses or jeeps going there. From
Nimalawa go to main (Kirinda-road) National Park entrance and then take the boundary track
north to the Tissa entrance.
About mid-way between the Tissa entrance and Situlpawa there is a smaller ancient aranya
called Makulvihāra under a large rock. Sil-mǣnayos used to stay here but abandoned the
place in the late 1990’s due to the war.
Madunāgala A. Koggala. 15 km north of Ambalantota. E of Siyambalagoda, north of
Ridiyagama wæwa. Ancient cave monastery on remote forested rock-outcrop surrounded by
shrubby lowland. Hot. Western bhikkhus have stayed here. Founded in 1946 by the founder
of the Waturawila Vanavāsin group, Vaturuvile ÑāKananda; see Forest Monks of Sri Lanka p.
184. The monastery was a bit run-down in 1995. There are hot springs in the area. Affiliated to
There is another (uninhabited?) ancient cave monastery near Ridiyagama called Karambagala.
Bundala Ku,i. One kuTi near the village of Bundala, Hambantota district. For lovers of
solitude. In dune-shrubland in the Bundala National Park near the sea. There are a few
elephants in the forest and also other wildlife and snakes. The kuTi was built for Ven. ÑāKavira
in the late fifties and since then many western bhikkhus have stayed here. PiKLapāta in the
village. Dry hot climate. P.T.S. TipiTaka books are available on request from the Forest
Hermitage, Kandy. Some noise from nearby road.
Tellula A. A kuTi and ruins of kuTis and a dānasala in the dunes about 3 km away from
Bundala near the mouth of the Kirindi Oya river in the village of Tellula near Sūriyawelawa
and Māgama. An aranya abandoned during the last JVP uprise. Nicely situated in the dunes 26
near an ancient cetiya. A French monk stayed there for a long time before passing away in
2003. There might be a few monks from Nimmalawa A. staying here now and rebuilding the
Sīmāpawura AS. Sūriya Āra, Angunukolapelæssa, Tanāmalwila. On top of rock-hill with
good views. One cave-kuTi. Supposed to be a nice place. Affiliated to Waturawila.
Angunukolapæssa is 10 km E of Tanamalwila [which is halfway along the Tissamahārāma-
Swarnagiri AS. Laginagala, Galhiramankada, Kotaweramankada, Tanāmalwila 91312.
Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Wedahitakanda. Kataragama. There is an abandoned cave kuTi on the peak next to the temple
on Wedahitakanda. A swiss monk stayed here for some years.
Walaskanda AS. 31 Kanuwa, KitulkoTe, Tanamalwila. Affiliated to Waturawila.
There are many small aranyas in this undeveloped area. Simple conditions. Hot climate with a
dry season. Mountains, hills, and flatland.
Budu-gal-lena AS. 14 miles post, New Katarama Road, Waguruwela, Buttala 91100. Tel:
Abbot - Ven. GuKananda - a very senior monk. The present Upajjhāya of the Galdūwa
tradition. Good support. Practice of Pa Auk method. Ven. A. VajiravaDsa speaks English.
Jungle on hill-side. Hot climate. Nice caves, big cave for Vandana. Some noise from the nearby
road. There are plans for developing a major aranya meditation-centre here. Affiliated to
Alulena AS. Dambepitiya 91060. Near Maligawila, 10 km SE of Buttala.
Poor area. Monastery and facilities probably undeveloped. Remote. Facilities only for a few
monks. Hermitage affiliated to Galdūwa.
Tarulenagala A. / Habutugala A. Hulannuge, Monarāgala 71000. Between Siyambalandūwa
and Lahugala NP, along Monarāgala - Pottuvil road. Small place with a large rockshelter with
an ancient lying Buddha statue and Veddha drawings. On top of the hill is the Yodalena,
supposedly the longest rockshelter in SL, about 600 feet long. There are also other caves. 2
monks, Ven. Dhammasiri, the abbot of Kudumbigala, and his father. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Lollehela AS. Galgediyawa, Galabedda, Monarāgala 91008. Outside Monarāgala Town.
Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Sitakanda AS. Monarāgala 91000. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
WaEagambā Rajalena AS. Helatungala, Badalkumbura, Monarāgala 91070. Affiliated to
Sandækebelle AS. Kanda-uda-wanguwa, Monarāgala 91032 . Affiliated to Galdūwa. 27
Sambodhi Y. 35 Kumaradola para, Monarāgala 910000. On hill above Monarāgala bus-stand.
Convenient as a stop-over place on a long bus-journey. Tel. 055-76265. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Sakmangala AS. Kumaradola para, Monarāgala 91000. Located on Monarāgala Mountain.
Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Wattārāma AS. Wattārāma, Kotiyagala, Monarāgala, 91024. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Rahatan Kanda AS / Devagiri AS. Dahatune Kanuwa, Mahagodayaya, Buttala. Affiliated to
Theraputtabhaya AS. Kalawela Aragama Para, Wellawaya. Affiliated to Waturawila.
Mayuragiri AS. Weliyaya, Monarāgala. Affiliated to Waturawila.
Bhavanagala AS. Punehipara, Etimole Wewa. Affiliated to Waturawila.
Maha Tissa Lena AS. Netol Kele Ella Para, Wellawaya. Affiliated to Waturawila.
Wewatenna AS. Dahate Kanuwa, Rattanadeniya, Bibile Road, Bakinigahawela. Affiliated to
This area has a lot of ancient monasteries, but due to its proximity to rebel areas they have not
been redeveloped or were abandoned during the war. Now the area is accessible again. There
is a lot of wilderness in this area. It has a hot climate and a dry season.
Kudumbigala A. Selawa Eliya, Pānama. Private mail box, 91000. Near Okanda, 15 km W of
Pānama. Ancient Cave Monastery. Spectacular setting on the eastern border of Yala National
Park, very remote, caves, wild animals. The monastery has been going through a difficult
period due to the violent death of its founder Ānandasiri during the JVP time and then the
war in the East. It was uninhabited for a three years (1999 - 2001) due to LTTE presence, but
now accessible again. Pictures and a history of the place and its founder can be found in FM.
The abbot, Ven. Dhammasiri, intends to develop the place into a large international
meditation center with the help of Czech monks and a development organisation . Five monks
at present, 10 caves are prepared. There are other abandoned ancient monasteries in jungles in
the area, such as Bambaragastalewa, which the adventurous can explore. The abbot is usually
in Tharulenagala Aranya near Hulanuga, Monarāgala Distr, and the junior bhikkhu, Ven.
Santasiri, is the acting abbot. The coast at Okanda, with large beaches, a Kataragama shrine,
and a wildlife department office, is about an hours walk. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Take a bus from Monarāgala to Pottuvil or Pānama. In Pānama go to the Sil Mænaya pansala
(nunnery) where the abbot’s mother lives and they will help. The sil mænayo place is 200 m.
beyond the hospital. When the abbot, Ven. Dhammasiri, is in Tharugalena A., he can also help
one to get there.
Shastrawella A. or Rastrawella A. Between Pānama and Pottuvil. Get out of bus at the
Special Task Force camp. A 2,5 km walk from Ārugam Bay along the beach, but it might be
difficult to find the path to the monastery from the beach. It is a longer walk along the road.
Ancient cave monastery on forested rocky hill ridge which runs about 600 m E from the
Special Task Force camp along the Panama - Pottuvil road right up to the the rivermouth of
the Heen Oya and beach. There has been a pansala here for 30 years but it was abandoned for
some years. In 2003 one young monk stayed here, made a nice kuTi in one of the caves, and
then abandoned the place... One cave is high on a rock overlooking Ārugam Bay, but is not so
suitable. In a wilderness area with elephants and other wildlife, and with little noise, but the
pansala area can be busy with villagers..
Near Pānama are another few ancient abandoned cave monasteries including Wæwawehera
near the wæwa (tank) 3 km W of Pānama.
Buddhangala A. 22 Kanatta Rd. Ampara. Formerly a quiet cave monastery under Ven.
Kalutara Dhammānanda. Today??
Samangala A. Kohombana, via Uhana.
Kokama A. Inginiyagala. (= W of Ampara near Gal Oya NP.)
Anuradhapura was the ancient capital of Sri Lanka and the cradle of Singhalese Buddhist
culture. It has a hot climate with a dry season. Mostly flatland with some lonely hills and
rock-outcrops. Many tanks, wewas. West of Anuradhapura is the large Wilpattu NP known
for its wildlife. Many undeveloped and poor areas.
Kaludiya Pokuna T. Mihintale. Nicely situated near the Kaludiya Pokuna bathing pond,
down below the Mihintale hill. Ancient cave monastery. 10 caves on the small hill above the
monastery have been repaired and are in use. Nice kuTis and facilities. 5-6 bhikkhus, friendly
atmosphere. Sometimes there might be a bit of noise from the road. Affiliated to the Tapovana
group of the Amarapura Nikāya.
Mihintale Kanda. This is where the arahant Mahinda started to teach the Dhamma in Sri
Lanka. Possibly the nicest ancient monasteriy site in Sri Lanka with cetiyas on the top of the
large hill, etc. Many caves around the hill which one can use for meditation.
Katupotha Kanda Sri Vajiragnana VMC. Katupotha Kanda, Palugaswæwa, Mihintale Rd,
Galkulama, Anuradhapura. (By car one has to turn off left [south] a few km from Mihintale on
the Mihintale-Anuradhapura Rd and then turn left [E] after a few km again. Ask locals.)
Small place with ancient caves on southern side of the large hill 2 km south of the Mihintale
hill. Ven. Sanāthavihārī, formerly connected to Bowalawatta, is staying here. A few kuTis.
Ritigala A. Ganewalpola, Kækirāwa. The ancient cave monastery is on the eastern lower slope
of Ritigalakanda mountain, visible from the Kurunægala - Anuradhapura Rd. More than one
mile to the E from Galapitigala on the northern slope of the mountain range. The first
Sinhalese arahant, AriTTha stayed here. Strict Natural reserve, large forest with elephants and
bears. The best, non-logged virgin forest is where the ruins of the large ancient monastery is
managed by the Archeological Dept. 25 minutes walking from this place. An English bhikkhu 29
stayed here a long time and helped to build up the place. A few bhikkhus and some novices.
The best cave is about 15 minutes walking up the slope under a big rock with a great view
from its top. Take a bus from Kækirāwa to Habarana and get down at Galapitagala, walk one
hour through the forest, be careful of elephants. If going by car, go along the unpaved but
reasonable road going east from Galapitigala and turn left at the first junction after about two
kms. There is no sign at the junction. Affiliated to Waturawila.
Subodhārāma A. BM / Labunurukanda A. A few kms NE of Ritigala on the hill facing the
northern slope of Ritigalakanda. A forest monastery connected to Ritigala A. with kuTis and
ancient caves in forest on top of a forested hill. About 7 monks. PiKLapāta. Take bus from
Kækirāwa to Galamudana (± 10 km). Get out at Arugola (= Alagollewa ??) at the monastery
sign. Affiliated to Waturawila.
Atdalagala AS. Giratalana, Migalæwa. Between Kækirāwa (i.e., to the W) and Galgamuwa.
Aranya set up by Ven. AriyañāKa, a friendly English-speaking meditation teacher formerly
connected to Kanduboda. Western monks have stayed here. Forest, caves. Hot climate. 2 miles
from Resvehera-Sasseruwa. From Galgamuwa take a bus to Katugampola and stop at
Bongama, ½ mile walk.
Sambodhi Y. Kuratiyāwa, Migalæwa 60750. 15 km W from Kækirāwa. Take bus from
Kækirāwa. Good new kuTis and facilities, adjacent to large Wæwa (artificial lake). Possibly
good for meditation. Hot, mosquitos, but good support. 3 monks. An English speaking
Nepalese monk is the abbot. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Pancha Stūpa A. Palugolla. Mahananneriya. From Galgamuwa take bus to Anamadūwa and
get off at Ihala Nanneriya junction. Place on hill with ancient stupa. Tradition unknown.
Mahamevnawa Bhāvanā Asapuwa. Vatavandanapara, Lolugasvæva, Anuradhapura.
Monastery connected to Ven. Kiribathgoda ÑāKānanda; see Mahamevnawa Asapuwa near
Kǣgalla. A small, but popular place.
Wedisagiri A. Sanghappālaya, Wannikudawæwa, Galgamuwa 60721. (= Between Māho and
Anuradhapura.) Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Purā/a Gallena AS. Tammennāwa, Tambuttagama 60734.. (= 25 km. S of Anurādhapura.)
Maradankadawala AS. Maradankadawala. On Anuradhapura - Kækirāwa Rd, 30 km SE of
Anuradhapura. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Yodhayākanda AS. Dampitigama, Halmillawæwa. (About 50 km E of Anuradhapura on
Anuradhapura-Trincomalee road.) Affiliated to Waturawila.
Mihindu A. Anuradhapura. Along road from Mihintale to Anuradhapura. Pirivena and
ordination centre connected to Waturawila.
The northernmost edge of Singhalese Buddhist culture. Due to its closeness to rebel infested
areas there are not many new monasteries here, but probably quite a few ancient ones.
Galpiyuma AS. / Galpokuna A. Kahatagollæwa, Padaviya. Approx. 30 kms E of Vavuniya.
On the road between Kebatagollewa and Padawiya, get down at Kahatagallewa. Abbot - Ven. 30
Sumanatissa (Mahāthera), English speaking. Ancient cave monastery in large forest area
with elephants. Good viveka. It can be hot here. Ruins scattered in forest. The area is on the
border of the Singhalese area and was affected by the war. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Padaviya Abhayabhumi T. Deviyangekanda, Padawiya. Affiliated to the Tapovana group. On
a hill with a few caves. Near army camp. Amarapura Nikāya.
The eastern edge of the mountain country. Cool climate with less rain than the western and
central mountains and therefore quite agreeable for westerners. Tea estates with some
remnant forest and wilderness areas. Strangely enough, there seem to be no aranyas or
meditation centres in the mountain part of this district.
The low country E of the mountains around Bibile also appears to be a small part of this
district and this is where the following monastery is. This area has a hot climate and a dry
season. A poor, undeveloped area.
Mahasudharshana AS. Gadugodawāwa, Pahala-oya-gama, Ūraniya. (Between Mahiyangana
and Bibile). Affiliated to Waturawila.
The second ancient capital of Sri Lanka. There are quite a few ancient monasteries on the hills
and rocks in this area. Hot climate with dry season. Low country with some hills and
rock-outcrops. Some large national parks. An undeveloped and poor area.
Mahāsena AS. Nagalakanda, Minneriya 51410. 25 km NW of Polonaruwa. Nice forest on a
large hill. The site of an ancient monastery with ancient ruins and statues. Nice views from the
top of the hill. KuTis. Facilities for about 6-8 monks. Friendly abbot. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Sinhapura VMC. Sinhapura, Polonnaruwa. Head Monk: Ven. SaDvuta. 2 or 3 kuTis and a
compound. There is also an upasikā-ārāmaya in the grounds, where dasa-sil-maenayo
Dhammananda teaches meditation. For those who like a hot climate. Affiliated to
Dimbulāgala MC. Dimbulāgala. 20 kms SE of Polonaruwa. Large ancient cave-monastery on a
mountain ridge. In the front section there is a pirivena with about 130 sāmaKeras, and there is
an aranya with about 15 monks in the back. Amarapura Nikāya. In a mixed Singhalese-Tamil
area. A site of strong Singhalese nationalism. The nationalist founder/abbot Ven. SīlalaZkara
was shot dead in the mid-nineties by the LTTE.
Weharahena Y. 108 Mile Post, Awudangawa, Habarana 50150. On Anuradhapura -
Polonnaruva Rd. Abbot - Ven. Dhamminda. Several kuTis. Small area. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Bodhiraja AS. Hiriwadunna, Habarana. Affiliated to Waturawila.
Kudusigiriya A. Dehi-ata-kandiya. On Mahiyangana-Polonnaruwa road.
Trincomalee is a large port and has a mixed community of Singhalese, Muslims, and Tamils.
There are some ancient Buddhist sites in this area. The inland is undeveloped and poor. Some
large wilderness areas. Long time unsuible due to war, but now accessible again.
Kathārampura AS. Kathārampura, DuTuwewa. North of Ratmale, 50 km from Trincomalee on
the Anuradhapura-Trincomalee road. Affiliated to Waturawila.
Vān Ela Amādahara Tapovana. Near Kantalai, mid-way the on the Habarana - Trincomalee
road. New place of Ven. Potuhera Vipassī. Affiliated to Galdūwa.
Some areas in the eastern district of Batticaloa were not accessible for long time due to the war.
There are some nice ancient buddhist sites on the hills in this district. Hot climate with dry
season. Undeveloped and poor. Inland there are some large wilderness areas.
Piyangala AS. Rājagalatenna 32068. Near Mayadunna, near Bakiella. North of Uhana,
midway along the Amapara - Maha Oya road. 25 kms SW of Batticaloa. Large forest area (1
square mile) bordering a wildlife sanctuary and the extensive ancient Rājagala monastery
ruins situated on top of the mountain. Some caves. There is an army camp near the place due
to its proximity to LTTE areas. Two monks. The place is supposed to be quite nice. Affiliated
Veheragala A. Maha Oya. Midway on the Mahiyangana -Batticaloa Road. Ancient cave
monastery on a hill 1 km from the Maha Oya hot springs. This used to be an arañña built by
Ven. Ambalampitiya Rāhula (the founder of Bowalawatta A.), but it was abandoned after a
hurricane destroyed the buildings 15 or so years ago. No monks at present, but there are 4
caves kuTis which are inhabitable and can be repaired. Supposed to be a nice place.
Dambakolapatuna. Keerimalai, Kankasanture. One or two kuTis in quiet dune area near the
beach, close to the Navy base to which the kuTi is connected. It is possible to go on piKLapāta
in nearby villages. This is supposedly the place where the Sri Mahā Bodhi arrived in Sri