30 June 2009

The Cave


This cave known as Fa Hien (Pahiyan Lena) is possibly the largest cave in Sri Lanka. It is situated in the village called Yatagampititya in Kaluthara District. You can reach here via Piliyandala – Horana road and it lies about 5 kilometres from Bulathsinhala.

This cave can easily shelter 1000 men and the cave entrance is at least 50m in height and 60m in length.

Fa Hien's cave is famous for two reasons. Firstly, Sri Lankan archaeologists found evidence of human existence date back to thousands of years in this area. Usually we do not get any written records related to this era so archaeologist have named this period as pre-historical period. Dr. Shiran Deraniyagala the former Director General of the Department of Archaeology was instrumental in discovering this very important evidence from this cave as well as many other locations in Sri Lanka. In this cave, they have found a few human skulls and bones dating back to 35000 years and lots of man-made tools used for hunting animals and various other purposes.

The second reason is that Fa Hien, the famous Chinese Monk of the 5th century AD, who came to Sri Lanka in search of Buddhist scriptures and sacred places used to stay in this cave for some time on the way to Sri Pada (Adam’s Peak). Hence the cave got his name - Pahiyan Lena (Cave)

There is a road leads very close to the cave so you do not need to do much walking. There are similar caves mostly in Sabaragamuwa District which are quite famous for pre-historic evidence of human existence. Batadomba Lena in Kuruwita and Beli Lena in Kitulgala are some of them. The trails to these caves are even more interesting.

12 comments:

Chavie said...

I heard they're going to open a museum on Sri Lanka's prehistoric settlements in Embilipitiya... :)

I should visit Pahiyanlena sometime. My schoolmates went on a educational trip there once, but I sadly missed out due to illness...

rainfield61 said...

A Chinese monk, the cave, a great story may start from here.
There are a lot of wisdom from inside of this type of cave. History, mankind,...

Harumi said...

That was very interesting. Great facts and nice pic. And I didn't know that cave was that big! =D

Think I've seen this place on TV once or twice but can't recall the part about our pre-historic relatives inhabiting the same area. They might be Neanderthals right?

Anyway ya, like Chavie says, it'll be so great if they'd open up a museum just for that.. Thanks for the info KGP.

betchai said...

oh, i think i lost the comment i just typed earlier, must be my browser :) anyway, thanks for sharing the information, i love caving too, it brings mystery and also history.

Kirigalpoththa said...

Chavie,
That is great news. Thanks for the info. There are 1000s of places with pre-historic value as per Dr. Deaniyagala’s records and we have explored only a few. I think the museum concept is good but hope to see good publicity and world class standard for such place.
You can visit there when you meet your friend in Agalawatta :)

Rainfield61,
Yes, you absolutely right. Almost all the evidence on pre-historic human existence discovered in caves. The story about the Monk Fa hien is also very interesting.

Harumi,
No it is homo sapiens sapiens. Same as us. Think Neanderthals were never found in South Asia. Mainly they were found in the Europe. Recently I watched a documentary (Think it is Discovery) on the story of our predecessors. It gave a very vivid but sad story about the Neanderthals and how they extinct from earth.
You must visit this place. It is bigger than what you see in the picture :)

Betchai,
Yes history has lots of mystery. I love all these adventure films related to archaeology like Indiana Jones. When I visit all these places like Pahiyan Cave I feel the same suspense and mystery.
There are lots of places in Sri Lanka that a hiker could visit. Some have historical importance too. Belilena, Nitre Caves, Wavulpane, Kooragala etc..


Thanks all for your comments!

Harumi said...

Oh really? That means they're much closer to us. Ya, that reminds me I saw a program too few years back about the evolution. Ya.. sure, I'll add it to my list.. =D

Thanks for the info.

Kirigalpoththa said...

Yes they were not different to us from physical appearance. There must have been genrations of such people lived in this cave! Kind of a 'mahagedara' for our ancestors :)

Harumi said...

Ya must be.. hehe.. by the way which mahagedara you meant? the TV show of Sirasa or the ancestral home? *I totally can't stand the former* =D

George said...

Thanks for a very informative post. I really enjoyed reading the history associated with this cave.

Kirigalpoththa said...

George,
Thanks a lot for your comments!
Infact I rally enjoy hiking in an area with historical importance..

Bailaman said...

Great post and an awesome blog! Keep up the good work!

Kirigalpoththa said...

Bailaman,
Thanks a lot for dropping by and for your very encouraging comments :)