This tour gives you the chance to see the famous Archeological Reserve, the Belilena Caves. Hike through the dense jungles around Kitulgala ... More info ›
This tour gives you the chance to see the famous Archeological Reserve, the Belilena Caves. Hike through the dense jungles around Kitulgala. Explore the secretive caves, where many fossils and skeletal remains aged over 10,000 years were found. View the archaeological excavation which is famed for the skeletal remains of the ‘Balangoda Man’. Get some awesome photographs to impress your friends. Learn more about the progression and evolution of mankind through millennia.
For this tour, you can decide on an expedition time of your choice. However, it is recommended that you opt for select either midmorning or late in the afternoon; keeping in mind that it is a fair hike to get there and the sun won’t be too high during these periods. Wear long pants and closed shoes to avoid getting thorny burns and insect bites. Bringing some salt for the leeches, mosquito repellant, and rain gear would be a good idea too. You will be meeting up with your guide at the Plantation Hotel at the prescribed time.
You will then be hiking through the rough terrain of the jungle, on a narrow trail to reach the caves of importance. The area is a rainforest, with the rough and slippery ground, dense undergrowth and many rare birds and other wildlife; providing lots of photo opportunities. It is also prone to sudden rainfall. You will reach the Belilena caves within an hour. They lie behind a gently cascading waterfall. Reaching them is a slightly difficult climb.
The Belilena Caves are one of the most historic sites of the island. Excavations were done between the years 1978 and 1983 have unearthed the skeletal remains of prehistoric people who lived there for the period between 32,000 to 9,000 years ago, the Balangoda Man. The most famous excavated skeletal remains were dated to be from 16,000 years ago. In addition to the skeletons, other fossilized remains of animals used for food; such as pigs, barking deer, sambhur, monkeys, giant squirrels, and an assortment of reptiles and fish; were also found. There were also fossilized remnants of food plants, commonly used in the diet of these people, found in the caves. However, the most important finds were the geometric microlithic stone tools dating back to 30,000 years, being amongst the earliest in the world; and the rubble foundations dating back 16,000 years; which are the earliest evidence found of substantial structures in South Asia. As such Belilena Caves occupy a very special place in the historic and cultural heritage of Sri Lanka.
You will be able to see the remains that have been unearthed, along with the excavations. Your guide will tell you about the Balangoda Man, and there will be plaques at prominent places that you can read to learn more. This archaeological reserve is a major find for mankind; and you will be able to see the place, where humankind developed tens of millennia ago, with your own eyes. However, bear in mind that there are unexplored areas and live excavations in some places within the cave network. Therefore, you will have to follow your guide closely for safety. The cave entrance also provides excellent views with great opportunities for excellent photographs.
You will spend an hour at the Belilena Caves, before hiking back. The tour will be completed once you get back to your starting point at the estate. The entire tour will take approximately three hours in total.