Built by King Devanampiya Tissa in 237 AD, Resvehera Monastery is now a quiet affair hidden away in the elephant rich jungle west of Dambulla.
Created during the same period the Bo Tree sapling was being brought to Anuradhapura, Resvehera is made up of 99 natural caves, still used to this day for meditation. In addition to the many caves and stunning forested hillside, the monastery is home to a large stone standing Buddha. Reaching 42ft in height, some argue that this is not a replica of the Buddha at all, but one of King Mahasen, but this claim is yet to be substantiated.
Throughout the 1,645 acres belonging to the monastery and between the 32 ponds found here, relics are still being unearthed, with an estimated 8% of relics still lying beneath the forest. One of the meditation caves is home to the only reclining Buddha statue in Sri Lanka that can be walked around in its entirety, with most only showing the front side of the Buddha.
As with many of Sri Lanka’s more off the beaten track sights, the magic here lies not only in the physical monuments and buildings, but in the beauty of the scenery, the excellent conversation from the one residing monk, and the fact that you get to enjoy this beautiful, secluded spot packed full of history, all to yourself.