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The Hill Country

Matale

    Matale is the city, 142 kilometres (88 mi) from Colombo  and near Kandy.

Surrounding the town are the Knuckeles Mountain Range, the foothills were called Wiltshire by the British. It is a mainly agricultural area, where tea, rubber, vegetable and spice cultivation dominate.

Matale Aluvihare temple

Matale Aluvihare temple is an ancient rock temple of great significance in history of Buddhism. The Buddhist cannon and its commentaries, which were till then handed down orally, were committed to writing for the first time at Aluvihare temple in 2 centuary B.C.

Folklore has many meanings to the name Aluvihara. One is that the Pali word Aloka was Alu (light) in ancient Sinhala and as it was the abode of Theras, it was a Viharaya. Hence the two words have been coined to make it Aluvihara. Another view is that although there is a huge rock, east of the main rock cave, it has not cut off the light . Therefore it was known as the Aloka lena (cave with light).

The history of Aluvihara is traced back to the 3rd Century B.C in the reign of King Devanampiyatissa. It is believed that the King built the dagoba and planted the Bo sapling.

This magnificent temple with 13 rock caves and a row of tall rocks. is believed to be one of them.To enter the Aluvihara one has to climb a number of steps. In the Viharaya is a rock cave with paintings and statues in it On inspecting a rock, there was a ‘Bo’ tree carved on it. Climbing another rock, carved there was a foot print (Sri Pathula) and shapes of two oil lamps. Just below this rock was a gap which was explained as a tunnel through which King Walagamba had escaped and gone into hiding. In the ‘Sangayana Lena (rock cave) there is a painting of the Maha Rahathan Theras writing the Tripitaka on talipot leaves.

 

Riverstan

Riverstan is one of several hill tops in the Knuckles range being located in a windy gap on a range of scenic mountains with frequently changing climate in the middle of Rattota – Pallegama road. Riverstan was highly popular with foreign & local travelers. Two telecommunication towers were setup on the both summits of the Riverstan Mountain. The access road for them was a private one and no vehicles were allowed beyond the Riverstan gap. The climate was changed in every minute, Sometimes it brought little sun rays, and sometime cool wind, but most of the time with a thick mist & the wind was blowing briskly, really that was an amazing. The forest was consisted with pigmy trees. “Maha rewla” (Old man’s beard) and many orchids were driven out their loneliness. The mist was gained them a fresh & wet look for ever. It was an eye-catching view of Pitawala pathana & paddy fields of lonely villages in the Knuckles range. Since the surrounding was covered with a shawl of mist, there is a tiny waterfall in Bamarakiriella village close to Riverstan. 


Knuckles

Distance from Colombo 190 Km, the knuckles or Dumbara hills are a striking geographical feature which nature has bestowed on Sri Lanka. These hills cover parts of Kandy and Matale district, and are separated from the central hills by the mahaweli valley to the south and east, and the Matale valley to the west. Ideal environment for adventure and Eco holiday lovers since rocks, streams, jungle and 3 waterfalls are the main attractions around the place.