Batathota Lena Cave Temple; The Unexplored Gem of Sri Lanka

 In Best Time to Visit, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is an incredible country, always amazing the world with its historical and heritage sites. Today we will discover another one of its invaluable archeological sites -Batathota Lena Cave Temple. There are special Sri Lanka tour packages to cover these ancient pieces of art.

If you talk about honeymoon destinations or places appropriate for family vacations, Sri Lanka always tops the charts.  

The temple stands on a rocky mountainous range, cuddled in a tiny village called Batatota in Kuruwita, in Ratnapura district in Sri Lanka. Earlier, the accessibility to the Batatota Lena Cave Temple was a challenge. 

However, due to the unwavering efforts of the Batatotalena Ancient Cave Temple Renovation Society (BACTRS), there has been significant and speedy renovation of the cave temple, which holds immense religious significance for the Buddhist Selhanese community.

What’s the history of Batathota Lena Cave Temple?

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The history of this cave temple is rich and dates back to the Polonnaruwa period. It is believed to have been constructed by King Nissankaamalla after the King accidentally discovered the temple on his way to Sri Pada (Adam’s Peak).  

The Batatota cave temple is also believed to be the resting place of Lord Buddha along with 500 disciples on his return from Sri Pada. 

As per the Selhanese lore, Buddha was invited to rest in the cave by the god Sumana Saman after leaving his footprints on Sri Pada. 

Another name by which this cave temple is addressed is DivaGuhawa temple Batathotalena. 

The cave got this name only in 1995, it was formerly known as Batathotalena and is still addressed by the same name by archeologists. 

What architectural features is Batathota Lena Cave Temple in Sri Lanka famous for?

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There are various fascinating facts about the Divaguhawa cave temple, some of which are:

  • The cave is triangular, both plan and cross-section-wise. 
  • Covered with thickets and surrounded by dense forests, the cave temple offers some stunning views of the Adam’s Peak Summit on clear days.
  • Given the gigantic rock formations, the front of the cave temple remains uncovered, unlike a regular Silhanese monastery. It stands at a huge height of 18 meters and has an exceptionally wide opening, rendering it impossible to build a frontage. 
  • The floor area of the Batatotalena Cave in Sri Lanka sprawls over 6800 square meters.
  • The fish pond within the cave, known as Manduka Villa, is a unique site to behold. Another fascinating fact about the caves is the constant dripping of water from the ceiling, even during dry seasons. Moreover, the cave always receives sunlight and is naturally lit. 

Pilgrims find this phenomenon to be truly miraculous and proof of the holy power of the cave.

  • Another delightful evidence of architecture is the asymmetrical, gateway, painted and sculpted with intricate artworks from Buddha’s life known as Makara-Thorana. 

Some legends say that it was built in the Polonnaruwa era, but it is believed to be a creation from the Kandy Era.

  • The next architectural marvel in the Batathota Lena Cave Temple is the presence of the electric blue and golden idol of the Hindu deity lord Vishnu. It is remarkable to note that Vishu holds an integral place for Silhanese Buddhists. 
  • For adventure seekers also, this cave temple is a must-visit spot. To enter the cave, one has to climb hundreds of meters of covered steps, it’s challenging yet exciting as the steps become quite steep as one reaches the main entrance.

Are there any other significant caves to explore near Batatota Lena Cave Temple?

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In addition to Batathota Cave, there is another cave called Streepura which is located 200 metres from the cave and is highly revered and visited by pilgrims visiting the Batatota Lena Cave Temple.

 It is among the best things to do in Sri Lanka in this area.

It is believed that this cave was one of the hiding places for the descendants of God Saman.

When is the best time to visit Batathota Lena Cave Temple?

Being an exotic and popular tourist destination, the list of places to visit in Sri Lanka is endless. But, knowing when to visit this beautiful country, adds to the charm and overall travel experience. 

The best time to visit Sri Lanka is between December and mid-April, the peak tourist season.

However, the best time to visit Batathota Lena Cave Temple is between March and November, but one thing is noteworthy, the place is quite crowded during these months.

If you want a more relaxed and less-crowded experience then visit during December or January. The scenes of the valley below are breathtaking, and the skies are clear, offering great views of Adam’s peak and the unique shape of the curved stairway of the cave is also visible. 

How To Reach Batathota Lena Cave Temple?

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Batathota Lena lies 7 km north of Kuruwita, on the same road that leads to Erathna and Adam’s Peak. Kuruwita on the other hand, is 2 Km from Colombo. 

You can take a Taxi, Bus, or Car to reach Kuruwita from Colombo and then an additional drive to the Batathota Lena Cave Temple. After reaching the site, you need to hike for around 400 m to reach the main cave.

Tips for visiting the Batathota Lena Cave Temple:

  1. As the cave temple is a religious and highly sacred place, make sure to dress appropriately.
  2. The hike can be challenging and you’ll be required to climb hundreds of steps, so be prepared and take the necessary steps.
  3. Stay hydrated and carry electoral or ORS while hiking.
  4. Opening timing of the cave temple is: 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM, plan accordingly.
  5. If you wish to see Adam’s Peak then plan your visit at an appropriate time.

How old is Batathota Lena Cave Temple?

The Batathota Lena Cave Temple is said to have been built in the Polonnaruwa Era (1070-1215 A.D.).

Where is Batathota Lena Cave Temple located?

The Batathota Lena Cave Temple is located in Kuruwita in Ratnapur district in Sri Lanka.

What is the historical significance of Batathota Lena Cave Temple?

According to legends, this cave is one of the 16 places Lord Buddha visited in Sri Lanka and therefore, holds major historical significance. 

Are there any nearby attractions or points of interest to visit along with the temple?

Other major nearby attractions include Adam’s Peak, Valley Sightseeing, and Streepura Cave.

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