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The Kudumbigala Sanctuary is 4,403 hectares in extent. It was declared a sanctuary on September 28, 1973. Despite it being a sanctuary, a little private ownership is allowed where villagers from Panama own land within the area. There was a period when they were driven away by terrorists but now they have reclaimed their land and are living a happy farming life.
While on a trip to the Kudumbigala Sanctuary, you can see the Helawa lagoon in its majesty and tranquility. Fishing in the lagoon is permitted and this is a practice that had been going on for many years before the area was declared a sanctuary.
Towards the interior is a large complex of rock ridges and big granite boulders where somewhere in the second century B.C., one of the earliest cave dwelling hermitages of bhikkhus was located.
Traces of this ancient hermitage are seen even today with prominent Brahmin inscriptions under the drip-ledges of the caves