Udawatta Kele Sanctuary and Bahirawakanda: Facing Unknown Fears

Wanderlust is traveling to the unknown to discover a new self. Exploring our individuality, our unknown, beyond the scripts to which we are bound.” -Anonymous

When I stepped out from Kandy Station and I was on my way to the hostel, a statue of Buddha set on a hill caught my attention. It is Bahirawakanda.

On my second day, I was determined to visit the place and Udawatta Kele Sanctuary. My host had already given me instruction how to reach it by foot. Well, talking about direction, it’s already gone with the wind and not on my mind.


Using my sense of sight, I just walk in its direction hoping there’s a way going up. I saw a gate so I asked the guard how to go at the top. I was hoping I’m on the right track. But the guard said to go back then turn left.

I followed.

I tried.

Then I was lost again.

I asked for directions from those I met, but they aren’t sure as well. The sun was already up and I don’t want to waste my time. I ended up riding a tuktuk for 250 LKR.

Few minutes after traversing a winding road, I reached the top of the hill.

I looked around and yes, I am already in the area of the statue. It is my first time to visit a Buddhist place. And like many other temples, everybody is requested to remove footwear from the entrance. For ladies, it is not allowed to wear shorts, however, they provide wrap around skirts to wear before they’ll allow you to enter.

There’s an entrance fee of 200 LKR.

Bahirawakanda is set above 850 feet from the city level and the statue of the Lord Buddha is exactly 88 feet making it very visible to the eye when walking around Kandy.



There is nothing much to do when you reach the top. It occupies only a small area to walk around and climb to the top of the concrete Buddha Statue thru sets of stairs.

If this statue can be seen anywhere in Kandy, then, standing atop it gives you also the view of the city.


Unknowingly, there are lots of interesting folklore stories about Bahirawakanda that if I’d known earlier, I would think twice if I would go there or take a hike alone.

Bahirawakanda according to the legends means a gnome mountain. And if I am the one who will interpret it, I would understand it as a hill where dwarfs and other folklore character dwells.

According to the legends, people hear a very loud terrifying sound from this mountain and it was the evil gnome. Every year they are sacrificing a young beautiful virgin. Whoa!!!

Whether its true or not, stories like this gives me goosebumps.

And when I think of it, I can only smile and say “once upon a time, I walked through that hill of Bahirawakanda.”


Udawatta Kele Sanctuary

After taking a nap, I was thinking if I will go to the botanical garden or to a forest park. Undecided, I ended up going to Udawatta Kele Sanctuary wherein my host dropped me as he will be passing by along that way. He keeps on reminding me not to talk to any stranger for safety issues.

I paid 650 LKR at the gate. I was expecting more people or families inside enjoying the atmosphere of a park. I also think I will see caged animals like monkeys and other.

I was wrong.

In the middle of jungle, the only sound I can hear are the sound of the chirping and humming birds, the swaying branches that dance thru the wind and the sound of a falling leaf (if they do make sounds when they fall.) Aside from that, I can hear my footsteps and even my heartbeat that starts to beat fast.

Otherwise, it was a total silence.

The photos below were how it is inside Udawatta Kele Sanctuary.






It was a different feeling. The area is saturated with trees blocking the rays of the sun. It was dark but not totally dark. It was gloomy. And it was sad? I don’t know why.

I appreciated the surroundings with tall trees, with thin while others have big trunks, the vines, the roots of the trees showing on the surface, the leaves of different trees, the bamboos and many others.

But the feeling was eerie. I wanted to go back and yet I feel being challenged to continue exploring the depth. What gave me the courage to go on, was when I saw the two ladies with their guide were also going to the same direction.  I was thinking to befriend them and join them.


I walked slowly, appreciating the nature and prayed.

The three persons behind me were enjoying their walk as well. I felt at ease, at least I wasn’t alone. Though I was shy to ask if I can go with them, I still tried.  I stopped till the distance between us came closer and I hear them talking. Their guide was telling them stories and they’re already close to me enough to eavesdrop the story of the guide.

And I ended up walking fast. I didn’t continue the plan to join them for the reason that their guide was telling them scary stories.

I went on my own. But I made sure that they’re just around. It was only past 3 o’clock in the afternoon, but it was already dark. I thought I have walked around when I saw a forest path and a signage that says “Lovers’ Walk.”


I went to that path trying to be brave. But after few steps, I came back running and panting. I found it silly but I was thinking that I will go there alone and it is a Lovers’ Walk. What if somebody, seen or unseen will walk with me? I didn’t dare myself.

I went straight to the path to go to the exit.

I was expecting some monkeys roaming and running around or clinging to the trees. I was ready to run, but good heavens, the law of attraction didn’t work. Well, not totally, because the monkeys were waiting outside but they seem too shy and they go back to the trees and hide as people approach.


After a tiring day of exploring these two places, I had a relaxing night watching the Kandyan Dance.

SEE ALSO: Kandyan Dance, A Sri Lankan Traditional Dance

I explored Bahirawakanda and Udawatta Kele Sanctuary on my second day in Kandy, Sri Lanka.


Louiela Ann

A dream chaser... Louiela is an OFW based in UAE... A small town girl from Kiamba, Sarangani Province... A Nurse by profession who injected herself with much wanderlust. You can find her easily online.

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