Matale, Sri Lanka
Matale (Matale) – a city in the Central part of Sri Lanka, 160 km from Colombo and the airport, and 30 kilometers away from Kandy. It is not a mountain resort, like Nuwara Eliya or Ella, it is located almost in the plain, at an altitude of 300 meters above sea level (see mátala map of Sri Lanka).
Matale is not particularly popular with tourists. Attended, as a rule, independent tourists and travelers and organized groups here do not carry. However, the city is an important historical centre of Sri Lanka, and it is unfair to do touristy side. Here is the iconic temple of Aluvihara in the surrounding area you can see several cave temples. In 1848, during the British colonization, there broke out a revolt and a battle took place between the British garrison and the rebels, who laid siege to the British and kept the city. The leaders of the uprising, the Fan Puranpur and Gehalgod Gang, became national heroes of Sri Lanka. In addition, mátala centre of the spice Islands. Around is full of farms of spices, where it is always waiting for tourists to spend a free tour of the fields to show and tell how to grow spices, and then offer to buy it all.
Matale is located on the road between Dambulla/Sigiriya rock fortress and Kandy, so there is a convenient place to stay when travelling between the popular tourist cities.
The infrastructure for tourists in Matale is very poorly developed. Along the main road of the A9, passing through the town, with a number of guesthouses, shops and simple cafes. Nothing especially for tourists there.
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How to get to Matala
It is best to get in Matale in a rented transport. Since the city is located between Kandy and Dambulla, it can be a convenient place to stop for the night and simultaneous inspection of its attractions that are mostly outside the city, and to reach them will be more convenient on their own.
If the rented transport, you can get in Matale and on buses. The buses are here, at least from Matara, Colombo, Badulla, Anuradhapura, Trincomalee. But given that city are unlikely to need to travel here from distant areas. Therefore, the most popular routes from Kandy and Dambulla. From Kandy and Matale in Dambula buses depart every 10 minutes, and although the distance is short, the journey takes an hour and a half. On these buses you can get to some of the attractions of Matala, which are located along the main road A9. In Matale bus stops on the main road in the center.
Another way to get there is by train. There is one train a day from Colombo via Kandy and seven suburban trains from Kandy to Matale. The cost is 30 and 60 rupees for 3rd and 2nd class carriages. The schedule can be viewed here https://www.eservices.railway.gov.lk
Matale attractions, what to see
In the vicinity are several Matale spice gardens, the most famous of which – Euphoria Spice and Heritage Spice and Herbs. There are many other gardens, all of them are located along the main road A9, you can find them on signs on the road. They offer free admission with a sightseeing tour of the farm, and ends with spice shop. Keep in mind that the sellers are very persistent, and leave without buying after the tour it will be very difficult. The prices are too high, so don't forget to bargain.
Entrance fee / ticket price: free
How to get: spice farm are located to the North of Matale along the A9 road (the spice garden on the map, the spice garden on the map). You can get there by bus in the direction of Dambulla, which depart from the center every 10 minutes.
The cave temple of Aluvihara
Aluvihara – a wonderful Buddhist temple complex located on top of the hills to the North of Matala. It is believed that this is a very ancient temple, and first mentioned in the 3rd century BC it is Also believed that it was written on paper of the Buddhist Canon Tripitaka in Sinhala language.
The structure of the temple is sandwiched between towering cliffs and in the caves are statues of Buddha, pagodas and ancient frescoes. Particularly interesting are the frescoes: some of which depicts the beautiful scenery of the Himalayas, and part of it talks about hell torments in a very cruel manner. Because the temple is located high with a viewing platform on top of a hill near the temple offers a wonderful view of the surroundings. And advice: if you plan to visit the temple during the day, it is better to bring your socks, because at the entrance to the area you need to remove your shoes and the stones is very hot in the sun.
Hours: 06:00 – 18:30
Entrance fee / ticket price: 50 rupees or more as a donation
How to get there: the temple is 3 kilometers on the road A9 to the North of the city (the temple on the map). You can get there on foot or by bus in the direction of Dambulla.
Park Pitawala Pathana and mini "end of the world"
If you do not have the opportunity to visit Horton plains and the world's End, this Park is in some way able to replace them. Here, too, with amazing views of the mountains and surrounding countryside, there are walking trails, a mini "end of the world" - a steep cliff from which opens from the breathtaking views. There are two waterfalls Pitawala Pathana Ella Fall no 1 and no 2, and to reach them you have to take a little trip with a length of several kilometers. The Park is not promoted as Horton plains, and yet there are very few tourists.
Hours: around the clock, it is better to visit early in the morning, as the day the neighborhood is often covered by a fog or haze
Entrance fee / ticket price: free
How to get there: the Park Pitawala Pathana is located 30 kilometers away from Matale (the Park map). You can get there by a rented vehicle, taxi or tuk-tuk. Serpentine road, you will need an hour and a half to overcome 30 kilometers.
The Sri Muthumariamman Temple
Sri Muthumariamman Temple, the biggest and most beautiful Hindu temple in Matale. Unlike other local churches, of which there are quite a lot, this temple is very colorful, decorated with many statues and wall images. Another feature inside it is very spacious which is not typical of such temples in Sri Lanka.
Operation time: from 06:00 to 13:00 and from 16:00 to 20:00
Entrance fee / ticket price: 200 rupees as a donation
How to get there: located in the city limits to the North along the main road (temple on the map). To get from anywhere in the city easily on foot.
The Temple Of Nalanda Gedige
Nalanda Gedige is the ruins of an ancient Hindu temple built in the period of 8th to 10th century ad, and one of the most significant architectural and historical landmarks. It is believed to be one of the first buildings in Sri Lanka, built entirely of stone, and that is the geographical center of the island. The image of the Buddha indirectly talking about the fact that the temple in later years was used by the Buddhists.
The temple can be visited during a trip from Dambulla to Matale and Kandy or Vice versa, but this ride may not be worth it. To visit the temple you will spend no more than 10 minutes, but try to find one of the temple walls scenes for adults only. If you linger here longer will be able to enjoy the peace and nature of a large artificial lake, whose shores are the ruins.
Hours: around the clock
Entrance fee / ticket price: free
How to get there: the temple is located 25 kilometers from Matale on the way in the direction of Dambulla is one kilometer from the highway A9 (the temple on the map). It can be reached by bus from Kandy or Matale towards Dambulla (going very often), or from Dambulla to Kandy and Matale respectively. You need to go in the village Nalanda (Nalanda crossroads Junction), and go to the temple walking one kilometer.