One and a half hours from Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo, you will find Kalutara. Hotels dotting the coastline will instantly tell you, this is a growing resort town. Like many other towns in the area the main attraction here is the long stretch of palm fringed beach. However Kalutara has many other hidden, as well as not so hidden, gems to be discovered. The Kalu Ganga, which translates to Black River, flows through the town and out into the sea. Sitting on the peninsular where the river and sea meet is the AVANI Kalutara Resort, a pleasing match between contemporary and traditional.

Also in the Kalutara District is the remote village of Yatagampitiya. This is where you will find the famous Pahiyangala caves. The caves got their name from a Chinese Buddhist priest ‘Fa- Hsien’ who visited during the 5th century. Excavations have unearthed signs of life from a pre-historic time. This is the oldest human settlement to have been discovered in Asia. The actual rock that has formed the caves is believed to be the largest natural rock in Asia, its tunnels and large covered spaces could have provided shelter for close to three thousand people. The mouth of the cave is one hundred and seventy feet high and more than two hundred feet long. In later years the cave was converted into a Buddhist temple by a priest by the name of Ven. Porogama Thera.

The findings of the Archaeological Department include five human skulls, which underwent carbon dating in the United States and have been confirmed as thirty seven thousand years old. The human remains indicate the ‘Pahiyangala Man’ had a short vertebral structure, large jaw bones, wide palette and big grinding teeth. There were also a number of stone weapons found that were used for hunting.

Caleb Falcon is a travel writer who specializes in writing content based on the many exciting world adventures that await intrepid travellers.