Concealed in the thick jungle on the Panama-Kumana road lays the magnificent Kudumbigala monastery of nearly 3000 years old, built in the times of king Devanampiyatissa. This monastery which is today cloaked in silence and secluded from the other parts of the world was once used to be the accommodation of Buddhists monks.
Overlooking the Indian Ocean and the surrounding landscapes, this picturesque place is one of the chief attractions of Arugam Bay. Archaeological studies claim that there are more than 200 caves. Maha Sudharshana Lena is the largest one and a cave named Giant is the second largest. Inscriptions in Brahmi on the rock in the cave Maha Sudharshana Lena reveals it to have been gifted to Arahats by a great warrior named Nandimitra. The monastery has many large Buddha statues and murals inside the caves that speak of the glorious times.
Kudumbigala monastery is of a cylindrical shaped dagoba which is one of its kind in Sri Lanka. It is 11 miles from Panama and close to it is the Yala National Park. Most of the monastery is damaged but still has the old enigmatic charm that makes it a must visit.