Home of the Balangoda Man
In the west of Sri Lanka, 8 kilometres away from the town of Kitulgala, Belilena is a large, well-known cave from which evidence of human life has been recorded, believed to be from a time as early as 32,000 years ago. A Sri Lankan palaeontologist named Paul Deraniyagala discovered the skeletons of ten individuals at Belilena, and their remains were attributed to the “Balangoda Man”, an early prehistoric ancestor of Sri Lanka’s indigenous people, who are said to have lived at high altitudes up to approximately 600m above sea level. The Archeological Department of Sri Lanka excavated and explored Belilena Cave between 1978 and 1983, discovering human remains as well as objects of cultural importance such as bone tools, stone tools and evidence of fire. Some of these are confirmed to date back to 30,000 years ago. The cave has since been declared an “Archaeological Reserve” by the Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka, and further exploration of the cave is expected to unearth additional findings.
How You Can Reach the Cave
To visit Belilena Cave, visitors need to walk through the Makandawa Forest Reserve. The cave is located 2000 feet above sea level, and visitors will require the use of a rope or rope ladder. A short distance from the mouth of the cave is a lake, beyond which remains parts of the cave system that have yet to be explored.