Several underground tunnels, believed to be part of an underground labyrinth, have been discovered in several places in Sri Lanka. Age of the tunnels are not known and records are not available as to why they exist, however, these tunnels are believed to be a part of the defence strategy of King Ravana, the legendary mighty king who ruled the island Lanka about 7000 years back. Scientific research has not been carried out on the tunnels until today, therefore everything that we hear about the tunnel network is based on myths and legends.
Ravana is a mighty king, who ruled the island of Sri Lanka (about Sri Lanka) during the epoch of Ramayana. According to the historical information, King Ravana had ordered to build an advanced underground tunnel network connecting major cities during the Ramayana period. The underground tunnel network had been very useful for travelling within the country without confronting enemies and it was mainly intended to be used in case of a foreign invasion.
The centre of the network was in Sigiriya (Sigiriya Sri Lanka) and tunnels were built connecting Sigiriya with many parts of the country. It is believed that Sigiriya had been the centre of government during the reign of King Ravana. The popular underground tunnel from Hulangamuwa, Embilla vihara to Sigiriya is one example of the underground tunnels built During Ramayana period in Sri Lanka, which is in a dilapidated condition now, due to the lack of maintenance. Kataragama, Hiniduma and Deniyaya were also believed to be connected with Sigiriya with underground tunnels and they were maintained by the people of ‘Naga’ tribe. This underground tunnel network was built in secret and was not to be used by the general public. Some information regarding this underground tunnels is mentioned in the Ola manuscripts of ‘Ravan Kata’ and other historical information sources.
There had been an underground tunnel belong to this network, from Talagala Mountain in Nuwara Eliya to Kikiliyamana, and then the tunnel was further extended from Kikiliyamana to Welimada, Uva Paranagama, and Stripura Mountain. There had been another tunnel from Stripura Mountain to Haggala Mountain. Today it is in very dilapidated condition due to the negligence. The present location of the botanical garden of Haggala also known as Ashok Vatika, believed to be a garden of medicinal plants during this period.
Uva puranagama, Stripura had been the location of the harem King Ravana. Abducted queen Sita was held in captive in his harem, later due to an illness, she was taken to Sita Eliya, few kilometres off Nuwara Eliya. It is believed that an underground tunnel was used to bring Sita to Nuwara Eliya from Stripura Mountains. According to the information, there had been another underground secret passage from Stripuara to Mahiyangana. The underground tunnel from Mahiyangana to Laggala was wider than the rest of the tunnels and it was wide enough for 7 persons to walk hand in hand.
The network of the tunnel was in use for many centuries even after the demise of king Ravana. It is believed that King Wasabha had built the Uma Ela in Welimada using one of these tunnels. These underground tunnels were neglected in the past and decayed during the last several centuries. The exploration of these tunnels was undertaken by several foreigners but they were not able to make a noteworthy breakthrough. In fact, several people were not been able to return from these tunnels after starting their journey through the tunnels.
Very recently a group of workers, who are working for the Uma Oya project, encountered an underground tunnel believed to be constructed by King Ravana. They have spotted the tunnel after exploding a granite rock. The tunnel believed to be constructed through the Ravana Ella creating an underground passage from Ella, Wellawaya to Dova temple in Bandarawela. The tunnel is 15 feet in height while the width measured to be 5 feet.
Reference Mawbima 2012.15.04