Govinda Hela, also known as the Westminister Abbey so named by the British is an majestic rocky mountain standing over 350 meters above plains in Monaragala District close to the Siyambalnduwa – Ampara road. From one angle it resembles the Sigiriya Rock with a shear drop but from another angle resembles a monitor lizard.
On a side of this massive rock lies ruins of ancient monastic buildings forgotten over time and encroached by the jungle called Bingoda ruins/caves.
To access this unknown monastery grounds in the jungles surrounding Govinda Hela (Westminister Abbey) you need to travel 16.7 kms (passing 10th mile post) on the Siyambalanduwa – Ampara Road from the Siyambalanduwa junction. The foot path starts in front of a now abandoned building which carries the name Sarath’s Tyre Shop.
The foot path is barely used but granite steps and rock cut steps will guide you to the destination. The total hike is about 1.5 km in the jungle climbing up about 130 m from the level of the main road.
“The ancient road had well placed steps and at some places steps carved on rocks which led towards a cave complex. We at least came across 10 caves with drip ledge inscriptions. And the largest cave had tree tops kissing its drip ledge. The largest cave should be the largest and tallest cave in Monaragala district. We also found a good view point (balum gala) where we sat for a while before leaving this mysterious place behind.”
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Map of Bingoda Monastic Ruins at Govinda Hela (Westminster Abbey)
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Travel Directions to Bingoda Monastic Ruins at Govinda Hela (Westminster Abbey)
Route from Monaragala to Bingoda Monastic Ruins at Govinda Hela (Westminster Abbey)
|Distance : 52 km
Travel time : 1 hour + hike
Driving directions : see on google map