Ambalangoda is a small town in Sri Lanka, located near the coastal party hub that is Hikkaduwa. It is not as popular as a tourist destination than the nearby coastal city, but it is still worth a visit. If you are coming to Hikkaduwa, it is recommended that you stop over in Ambalangoda too. One of the biggest reasons to do so is to get a hostel and stay there while you dig through the fascinating history of the devil dancers and the ancient rituals that are still performed to this day.
If you are worried about a demonic presence at your hostel, there is no need to worry. These dances are not satanic in nature, but they are a ward against disease and famine. You can buy devil masks at just about any Sri Lankan souvenir shop, but the meaning behind them is often unknown. One good place in Ambalangoda to find out more about their meaning and history is the Ariyapala Mask Museum and Souvenir Shop. This little museum features many traditional masks and pictures that explain their usage in the country’s history.
You can buy a book here and take it back to your hostel for some light reading as you relax. Called the Ambalangoda Mask Museum, it details the ancient dances, the legends surrounding them, and modern psychological explanations for using the masks effectively. However, if you are not in the mood for these devilish sights, you can also visit the Sailataralama Vihara, an ancient Buddhist temple on a hill that looks out across a stunning view.
The temple features a statue of a sleeping Buddha, which is thirty-five meters long. There are many pictures on the walls of the temple, including one of a cow that bowed down to a monk who saved it from the butcher’s chopping block. You can get here via trishaw, the traditional Sri Lankan “tuk-tuk,” which will cost you about three dollars there and back again.
Hi, I'm Jakob Lombardi,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Ambalangoda hostels. Welcome.