Perched high on a 205-meter rock and tucked away within a small forest of coconut trees is Mulgirigala, an ancient Buddhist temple. Locals affectionately refer to it as Little Sigiriya because both temples are situated on top of huge natural rocks. You’ll have to climb 500 or so steps to get to the top, but there’s room for breaks as you find small caves along the way with reclining Budda statues tucked inside. The resident monkeys within the temple grounds also offer entertainment while making the tiring climb.
It may be advantageous to hire a guide (for about 1,000 Rs) at the bottom of the temple to help explain the fascinating 2,000-year history of the temple along with the incredible frescoes within the cave walls. At the top is a breathtaking panoramic view of the lush forest below.
Mulgirigala is a quick trip from Tangalle. It’s also right next to two other Buddhist temples with rich history, Kasagala and Naigala. Make the most of your time while you’re in the area by visiting all three sites.