Kurunegala is the biggest town that you’ll encounter while travelling between Colombo and Anuradhapura. It’s also the capital city of the North Western Province and the Kurunegala District. The city was an ancient royal capital of Sri Lanka for a brief moment from the end of the 13th century to the start of the 14th century. During the period it served as the capital city for two Sinhalese kings named Bhuvanekabahu II (ruled 1293 – 1302) and Pharakramabahu IV (ruled 1302 – 1326).
The city is situated at the junction of several main roads linking to other important parts of the country. It is just under 100 km from Colombo and almost 43 km from Kandy. Located at an altitude of 116 meters above sea level.
Kurunegala is surrounded by coconut plantations and rubber estates. That includes the city as one of the main pillars in the Coconut Triangle (Kurunegala, Puttalam & Colombo). There are eight very noticeable large rock outcrops that encircle and dominate the city. Kurunegala’s rocks rise from the plain below and have characteristic names, six of which come from the animals that they are imagined to represent. The largest among them is Ethagala or the “Elephant Rock”, reaches 325 meters. The name was given due to its’ shape resemblance to a giant elephant.
The little-visited area north of Kurunegala is home to an intriguing range of attractions; abandoned cities of Yapahuwa and Panduwas Nuwara; the absorbing forest monastery of Arankele; the beautiful Kandyan-era temples at Padeniya and Ridi Vihara; and a striking new Buddha statue at the Monaragala Vihara near Ridigama. If you are travelling by a private transport, all of these sites could be visited in a leisurely day’s excursion.
if you are a travel enthusiast who loves to explore new places do visit Kurunegala. It will offer you peace of mind while giving you encounter breathtakingly beautiful architectures and natural sites.
Tucked away in the beautiful rolling countryside around 20km northeast of Kurunagala, the cave temple of Ridi Vihara is well worth hunting out if you have your own private transport (although difficult to reach if you don’t) According to legend, Ridi Vihara, or “Silver Temple”, was built by the legendary King Dutugemunu. He was running short of money to complete the Great Ruwanwelisaya Dagoba at Anuradhapura until the discovery of a rich vein of silva ore near Ridi Viharaya. The king expresses his gratitude by creating a temple at the location of the silver lode.
Hidden away on a jungle-covered hillside some 25km north of Kurunegala, the ruined forest hemitage of Arankele is one of the Cultural Taiangle’s least-visited
The Elephant Rock’ or we can say Ethagala Rock’ is a very unique feature of Kurunegala town. It has a height of 325 m and a 2 km distance to reach the top. Anyone who travels to the top will be blessed with a grand 360 view of Kurunegala town.
Padeniya Raja Mahaviharaya
Padeniya Raja Mahaviharaya is one of Sri Lanka’s most attractive Kandyan-era temple. The main shrine is set on a small rock outcrop and enclosed by fine walls, topped with cute lion statues. Inside, the fine old wooden roof is supported by around thirty beautifully carved wooden pillars showing various figures including a double-headed swan, a lion, an elephant, a man smoking a pipe, a Kandyan drummer and a dancing girl.