Piyangala Forest Hermitage - Ampara
Piyangala Forest Hermitage lies on the Ampara – Mahaoya road about 27 km on away from Ampara covering a vast area of scattered ancient ruins of a Buddhist monastic complex. This complex has been a forest hermitage in the past with over 50 caves with drip ledges. The ledges indicate that these caves were home to forest dwelling meditating Buddhist priests in the ancient past.
Several brahmi inscriptions have also been discovered in several caves at Piyangala. Two of these inscriptions are of great importance since according to historian Prof. Senarath Paranawithana, one these inscriptions talk about offering of a cave by a relation of Rajithaa, queen of King Dutugemunu. The other by a daughter of King Dutugemunu who was married to Parumaka Duta. Although number of chapters of Mahavamsa has been dedicated to King Dutugemunu, no information about his queens or children (other than prince Saliya) are ever mentioned. Therefore, these inscriptions provide a glimpse of part of the life of King Dutugemunu which has been kept in the dark by the ancient authors.
The Piyangala Heritage came into limelight in 2009, when a massive rock query was put off on one side of the rock and began blasting the rock away for the construction of the Oluvil Harbor. No environment assessment had been done and the extent of damage to these ancient caves is unknown. The ancient cave with paintings at Piyangala (known as Chithra Lena) was also said to been impacted by this query.