Cave of Mesolithic Man - Pahiyangala Rock Cave Temple
SRI LANKA HOLIDAY TIPS

Cave of Mesolithic Man – Pahiyangala Rock Cave Temple

Sri Lankan Pahiyangala cave, which is one of the most ancient residences of Sri Lankan Stone Age man, display a large number of artefacts dates back to 37000 years, offers very clear insight into the life of Sri Lankan stone age man.

The Pahiyangala rock cave is to be found in the remote area of Yatigampitiya near the city of Bulathsinhala, Western Province of Sri Lanka. The cave and the rock perfectly mingle with the thickly forested area and harbours many species of Fauna and Flora. This eye-catching environment is abundant with very precious varieties of woods such as Teak, Mahogany, Palu, Weera, and Ebony.

Pahiyangala rock cave and the surrounding forested area is rich in endemic fauna and flora species and it is under the purview of the archaeological department. Pahiyangala rock and the cave, as well as the surrounding area, is frequented by many species of butterflies as well.

The cave had been a perfect residence during the dry as well as the wet season. The cave remains dry even during the torrential rain of south-west monsoons. Still, unlike most other ancient caves, where people lived, here it is not possible to see the drip ledges, that prevent rainwater from entering the caves. Even though the cave seems to be small from the outside it is a lot more spacious than it seems from outside. The spacious cave can accommodate up to 3000 people without any hindrance.

pahiyangala

The spacious cave is 150 feet’s in height and 147 feet’s in width. The cave can be reached after climbing 400 steps. The Pahiyangala rock is granite monolith, which is more than 600 feet in height and lies 1460 meters above sea level. The immediate surrounding Pahiyanagala rock is very quiet and the ancient man who dwelled at the cave must have enjoyed the peace and tranquil prevail at the site.

The pre-Christian cave dweller, who lived in this cave is known as Pahiyangala Manawakaya or Pahiyangala Man. This stone age cave dweller believed to be using stone implements on their day to day activities.

Biologically known Pahiyangala Manawakaya had been smaller in size compared to the present day human. Vertebral structure of the Phiyangala manawakaya had been considerably short and he possessed wide jawbones with a large palette and big grinding teeth.

This cave was used as a Buddhist monastery complex during the Kandy period (1592-1815). Paintings and the statues of the shrine room built in the Kandyan period are still in good condition. Subsequently, it became a Buddhist retreat, which is a seat of religious and spiritual training for monks and laymen today.

Archaeological evidence

One of the skulls discovered at the site belongs to a man who lived in the cave is dating back to 34000 to 37000 years. Age of the skull was confirmed by carbon 14 method and the skull provides clear evidence of the existed Mesolithic man in the island in the middle age of the prehistory. USA scientists Professor Kenneth Kennedy was interested in the archaeological founding of the site and did the examination of the skull.

Pahiyangala cave is the biggest of its kind in Southern Asia. And same times the cave is the place, where the oldest human settlement existed in the region. Being the oldest settlement in Asia, it considers as one of the best places to use for research purposes on pre-Christian human in the region.

In the month of June in 2012, an important discovery was done at the site, in which a complete skeleton of a stone age man was discovered. The age of the skeleton is measured to be 30000 years after the carbon dating method.

Pahiyangala Manawakaya

Biologically known Pahiyangala Manawakaya had been smaller in size compared to the present day human. Vertebral structure of the Phiyangala manawakaya had been considerably short and he possessed wide jawbones with a large palette and big grinding teeth.

Historical evidence

It is believed that Pahiyangala rock cave had been a living quarter for Buddhist monks for many centuries. One of the key figures that provide valuable facts about the history of Sri Lanka, known as  Fa-hsien, a monk from China, lived on the island for more than 2 years in the 5th century AD. The monk had travelled to many religious places on the island during his stay and had most of his experience and the places he encountered are properly documented. According to the historical notes, this Chinese monk had been to the Pahiyangala rock cave.

Buddhist monastery

This cave was used as a Buddhist monastery complex during the Kandy period (1592-1815). Paintings and the statues of the shrine room built in the Kandyan period are still in good condition. Subsequently, it became a Buddhist retreat, which is a seat of religious and spiritual training for monks and laymen today.

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