Rahathangala Kanda at Buttala (බුත්තල රහතන්ගල කන්ද)

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It may lack the creature comforts that define a classic tourist destination, but Buttala, the rural region along the A4 highway is a treasure trove for history buffs and the atypical traveller. From Yudaganawa to Rahathangala , the region is littered with precious Dutugemunu stories that are enshrined in the Great Chronicle and lesser known legends associated with this emerald isle….

Buttala is one of those places that everyone knows about and passes along the way to some other destination, yet rarely take the time to explore and discover. This is not to say that the small town along the A4 Colombo-Moneragala road is your typical tourist destination with all the creature comforts to allure travelers. But for those who prefer lesser traveled paths and are willing to forgo some creature comforts, Buttala does offer a variety of sights that are truly a delight to discover

It is, for instance, a treasure trove of historic artifacts and ruins. Buttala and its surrounding areas are littered with sites closely associated with the story of King Dutugemunu, the young rebellious prince from Ruhuna who went on to defeat the invading King ruling in Anuradhapura and unite the island. It is not difficult to imagine this fertile area with its vast fields of paddy being a far more developed settlement during ancient times and being the site of several pivotal historic events which have long since been enshrined in legend.


It seems that every nook and corner of Buttala is associated with some sort of legend. Rahathangala is no exception. This is a small mountain situated alongside the main road as it passes along what is now the Uva Wellassa University which was in fact the site of a Gam Udawa project during the 1980s. As for the name of the mountain, legend has it that it was miraculously created by Arahats (Rahatun in Sinhala) as a barrier to the battling princes Dutugemunu and Saddha Tissa. Another version of the legend is that the mountain was created by the Arahats to help Prince Saddatissa flee his brother. There are still monks meditating in the caves of Rahathangala and hikes up the hill should only be undertaken after obtaining permission. Once on the summit, it offers a breathtaking view of the whole plain below and the wonderful and unique sight of the A4 main road snaking through the contours of the land.

Like many other remote parts of the island, Buttala has nothing much to offer in terms of accommodation, not even of the sparse and minimalist kind. The only options are a few adventure and ecotourism spots located few and far between and even these are little known. The journey there is a long one and the conditions difficult. But perhaps because of its remote situation, Buttala has retained its inherent quality of being a rural hamlet. But to the discerning and adventurous it is a destination steeped in history, archeology and the romance and mystery of legendary tales that have defined the character of a nation.

By Theja De Silva
The Nation

Also See

Map of Buttala Rahathangala

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Travel Directions to Buttala Rahathangala

Route from Ampara to Buttala Rahathangala
Through : Awissawella, Ratnapura – Balangoda – Beragala – Wellawaya
Distance : 216 km
Travel time : 5-6 hours
Driving directions : see on google map

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