We highly recommend to visit Warana, also known as Varana, for several reasons.
First of all, it's a living forest monastery and education centre in the genuine tradition of Sinhalese Buddhism. Please be aware, that this tranquil place is inhabited by monks. You have to keep silent and ask for permission to walk around. If treated respectfully, the monks will be helpful to organize a guided tour for you and open some of the caves for you. You should not expect that everybody can understand English in Warana.
Secondly, Warana is an undisturbed classical Sri Lankan heritage site in a beautiful green setting and undisturbed by mass tourism. Though not far away from the Colombo-Kandy mainriad, it's really off the beaten path.
Thirdly, Warana played a prominent role in western Sri Lanka in all major periods of the island's history. It was founded in the earliest Buddhist century of the Anuradhapura period. It was visited and embellished by King Nissanka Malla during the Polonnaruwa period. It was one of Sri Lanka's most important monasteries under royal patronage in the Kotte period, the design of the cave is mainly in the style of the Kandyan period. And it's a modern Buddhist center where monks meet for meditation and studies.
We uploaded a more detailed description of the Warana Rajamaha Viharaya just today. More images will be posted in the main article later on. For a first impression, we present some small-sized photos in this blog post.
Nuwan Chinthaka Gajanayaka,