Ella Ravana Cave (ඇල්ල රාවණා ගුහාව)

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Ravana, one of the most powerful rulers of the world reigned the island of Lanka according the one of the great Indian epics, Ramayana believed to be written in the 4th century BC by Valmiki in India. Ramayana paints Ravana as a tyrant of the Raksha Tribe who exercised mighty power over gods demons and humans. However, he is considered one of the most powerful Emperors of Lanka by the Sri Lankans. Ravana is also considered to be the most revered devotee of Shiva. Images of Ravana are seen associated with Shiva at some temples. He also appears in the Buddhist Mahayana text Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra, in Buddhist Ramayanas and Jatakas, as well as in Jain Ramayanas. In some scriptures, he is depicted as one of Vishnu’s cursed doorkeepers.

As per the Ramayana epic, Sita was the wife of Rama, the hero of the story. One day Rama and Lakshmana (half brother of Rama) wounded a Raksha (demon) princess who tried to seduce Rama. She returned to her brother Ravana, the ten-headed ruler of Lanka. In retaliation, Ravana devised a plan to abduct Sita after hearing about her incomparable beauty. Ravana disguised himself as an old beggar kidnapped Sita and brought her to the land of Lanka on his flying chariot known as Dandumonara (pushpaka vimanaya). Ravana hid Sita in several places in his kingdom as per the legend where Rama, the hero of the story finally managed to defeat Rama with a monkey army led by the monkey Hanuman and rescued Sita.

Most Indians and Sri Lankans believe that the epic Ramayana is woven around a real king who ruled over Sri Lanka over 4000-6000 years ago. The country is full of places which are linked to Rama, Sita, Hanuman and Ravana.

The Rama Setu, a chain of limestone shoals, between Rameswaram and Mannar is believed to be the bridge that Hanuman built to cross the sea to reach the kingdom of Lanka. Later the Europeans named this as the Adam’s Bridge.

Sita Eliya in Nuwara Eliya, Streepura in Ratnapura, Ravana Cave in Ella, and Sita Kotuwa, in Gurulupotha are some of the places where Ravana is said to have hidden Sita from time to time. There are multiple places associated with his flying machine and considered ancient airports built to land the Dandumonara Machine. Some of them are Wariyapola (port of the flying machine, Wa-riya-pola), Maskeliya Ravana Gala, Horton Plains (Maha Eliya) and Ussangoda down south are considered to be some of the airports of ancient Lanka.

Divurumpola near Welimada which is a Buddhist temple has become a major Hindu pilgrimage site in recent years, as Divurumpola is said to be the location where Sita, underwent the famous fire ordeal which is known as Agni Pariksha. Dunuwila is a small village in the central highlands of Sri Lanka where it is believed to be the place of the final battle between Rama and Ravana took place.

When Lakshmana and Rama were critically injured during the battle with Ravana, Hanuman was asked to bring a life-saving medicinal plant from the Sanjeevani Mountain in India. Forgetting the name of the plant, he brought the whole mountain with him back to Lanka and while travelling five prices of the mountain are said to have dropped in Dolukanda, Rumassala, Ritigala, Thalladi, and Kachchativu, each place now geographically unique to its surrounding.

Rock outcrops of the sea where the Great Basses Reef Lighthouse and Little Basses Reef Lighthouse lie are called Maha Ravana Kotuwa and Kura Ravana Kotuwa in Sri Lanka due to the belief that these were the remains of a Fort of Ravana.

However, the Ravana Cave (Ravana Guhawa) in Ella remains one of the most popular trails for the hikers of Ella which is now a major tourist attraction. The cave lies on the route to Ella Rajamaha Viharaya. The road to the cave lies 2.7km before the Ravana Ella waterfall traveling from the Bandarawela side. Passing the Ravana Rajamaja Viharaya and climbing about 600-700 steps on the mountain range, you will reach this pre-historic cave.

Excavations in this cave show human activity reaching back to 20,000 BCE. The cave is 1,370 meters (4,490 feet) above sea level and is 50 feet wide, 150 feet long, and 60 feet high. It is not large but you can walk about 200 meters in the cave at the point which it has been blocked on purpose. According to legend, this tunnel connects to Dowa Rajamaha Viharaya in Bandarawela and Bogoda Raja Maha Viharaya where you find similar cave entrances. These interconnected caves are said to have been used by King Walagamba (89-77 BCE) during his exile between 104BCE to 89BCE.

Also See

Map of  Ravana Cave

Please click on the button below to load the Dynamic Google Map (ගූගල් සිතියම් පහලින්)
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The map above also shows other places of interest within a approximately 20 km radius of the current site. Click on any of the markers and the info box to take you to information of these sites

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Travel Directions to Ravana Cave

Route from Bandarawela town to Ravana Cave
Through : Ella Road
Distance :  13 km
Travel time : 30 minutes + hike
Driving directions : see on google map

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