Mathale or Matale is the capital of the district of the same name in Sri Lanka’s Central Province. Travellers cross Mathale on their way from Dambulla or Sigiriya in the Cultural Triangle to Kandy in the hill country. Mathale is situated in a valley in the northern foothills of the highlands. In Sri Lanka’s colonial history, Mathale is famous for of a major battle fought in 1848, when the Mathale Rebellion started and the British garrison in the local Fort MacDowall came placed under siege by Sinhalese freedom fighter. The place of the former fort is marked by the Christ Church established in 1860.
The three main attractions of Mathale are to the north of the town center. The great Muthumariamman Kovil, built in the typical colourful style of Southindian temples with a tall gateway tower called Gopuram, is the largest Hindu temple in central Sri Lanka. It’s located in the northern outskirts of Mathale city and can be seen from the mainroad A9.
Further north is the village of Aluvihara. It’s famous for the cave temple of the same name. The Aluvihara is famous in all Theravada countries as the location of the 4th Buddhist council, the place where the entire canon of Holy Scriptures was recorded in written form for the first time. This occured in the 1st century BC. Today’s visitor can see a palm-leaf manuscript museum co-sponsored by the former Cambodian king and a picturesque ensemble of rocks and painted caves. In the Aluvihara area, there are plenty of Herbal and Spice Gardens, where Ayurvedic plants can be studied with the help of professional guides.
Nuwan Chinthaka Gajanayaka