The toll of a Ghantaraya sounds in the distance and the saffron robed figure of a monk appears at the top of the stone stairway. In the blink of an eye the image disappears and you are transported back to the reality of standing on ground trodden on by kings for this is Ritigala. The mountain is steeped in myth and mystery and is the site of centuries old ruins, a veritable stone monastery that lies in Ritigala’s dense jungle.

Legend says Hanuman (refer) dropped two fragments of the Himalayas on the island and one of them is Ritigala, which means tall/straight (?) rock. It slopes are indeed covered in vegetation that is atypical for the dry zone; majestic buttress trees tower overhead providing cool shade for trekkers, gnarled lianas hang draped on the trees and the ground is covered in a carpet of dead or dying leaves.

The climb up Ritigala is unique for the ancient stone stairway masks the steepness of the ascent; the steps, made of granite stone fitted flawlessly together, gracefully curve and twist their way up the mountain. The stone circles at intervals on the path are thought to perhaps represent the cycle of life.

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