Batathota Lena, also spelt Batatota Lena or Bathatotalena, is a prehistoric cave that is now housing the temple of a Buddhist pilgrimage site called Divaguhawa. Bathatota village is situated close to the Erathna road, in about 7 km distance from Kuruwita. There is a huge car park for visitors, the access road being quite steep.
The first and less steep part of roofed stairway leading to the Divaguhawa cave temple of Bathatota Lena is flanked by rows of stalls selling all kinds souvenirs. Most visitors are Sinhalese Buddhists, foreign tourists are rarely seen in Divaguhawa, though its an amazing destination indeed.
Divaguhawa is considered to be one of Sri Lanka’s 16 Solosmathanas, which are places visited by the Buddha on his three trips to the island. Divaguhawa is believed to be the cave, where the Buddha rested with 500 followers after ascending the Siri Pada mountain, where he had left his footprint.
The Batatota Ancient Cave Temple Renovation Society (BACTRS) carried out a renovation programme in recent years to restore the Divaguhawa temple to its ancient glory.
The Divaguhawa cave, or Batathota Lena, offers a perfect view to Siri Pada (Adam’s Peak), provived that weather conditions are perfect, too. At the entrance of hte cave is a pond filled with fish. It is called Manduka Vila, there is always some water dropping from the cave ceiling into this pond. A frog made of cement is now placed in The centre. Towards the back of the Batathota cave are a Dagoba and two small shrine rooms, one of them Buddhist with a reclining Buddha, the other one is a Devale for Hindu deities. The reclining Buddha is said to date back from the Polonnaruwa period, when King Nissanka Malla (1178-1207) made a pilgrimage to Siri Pada. However, Batathota Lena is one of the many caves in Sri Lanka claiming to be established by the Anuradhapura-King Walgambhu (Vatthagamani) in the first century BC, serving him as a hiding place during his years in exile.
The most impressive architectural feature inside Batathota Lena is a so-called “Makara Torana” in front of the Buddhist shrine, this doorframe relief is said to date back to the Polonnaruwa period, too.
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