Franz Lindenmayr / Mensch und Höhle

Speläologisches in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka ist eine Insel unterhalb der Südspitze des Indischen Subkontinents. 

In dem Land gibt es eine große Anzahl von Höhlen, die nicht in Kalkgesteinen liegen. 


Sri Lanka is an island, located to the east of the southern tip of the Indian subcontinent. Located in the Indian Ocean it is a tropical island, with high temperatures and much rain, very fertile and with an interesting geology. The climate is ideal for growing coffee and especially tea, as a British colony it was known under the name Ceylon, and Ceylon tea was and is world famous. Today the island is an idependent Un country named Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka, like India, belongs to Asia.

The Capital of Sri Lanka is Colombo, the biggest cities beneath Colombo are Jaffna, Kandy, Galle, and Trincomalee. The official languages are Sinhalese, Tamil, and still English. The main religions are Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, and Christian. The island has an area of 66,000km² and a population 19 million people. 74% are Sinhalese, 18% Tamils, 7% Moor, and 1% others.

Sri Lanka is a beautiful country with friendly people and an ideal tourist destination. Still there are some drawbacks. A recent civil war, which is more or less over, left some ugly remains, like land mines. Numerous regions are still considered too dangerous to travel. Also tourism lead to a nasty level of crime, theft and violence, aimed at foreigners. And the recent tsunami of December 2004 added more inconvenience, for both locals and travellers. So when travelling to this country ask your doctor and your Foreign Office first.

Sri Lanka is part of a precambian craton, some two billion years old metamorphic rocks. Such rocks were originally sedimentary rocks, but were transformed by a long series of crust muvements, subsidence, high pressure and temperature inside the earth. This craton is a part of the super continent Gondwanaland, and was connected with the craton of the Indian sub continent, until it colldided with the Asian plate and formed the Himalaya some 45 Million years ago. After this collision the small piece which is the base of Sri Lanka was separating from the Indian plate. This separation caused earth quakes and volcanism which created some volcanic rocks on the island.

The geologic history of the island results in a huge amount of metamorphic rocks, but also a small amount of volcanic and sedimentary rocks. The meavaltamorphic rocks are rich in mineral deposits, including iron ore, zinc, mangane, molybdenum, nickle, cobalt, arsene, wolframe, tellurium and gold. There are numerous precious gems found on the island too, rubies, sapphires, topaz and spinell. Unfortunately the history of the country did not result in the development of show mines so far, although it is a popular tourist destination.

There are only very few natural caves in isolated spots of limestone. Most common are erosional caves in all kinds of rocks, created by the erosional forces of the tropic climate. However, they are always of limited depth, more or less overhanging cliff faces and abris. Nevertheless they were used over centuries to create hermit's homes and built temples or buddha statues inside. Several temples in the country are called cave temples.

Einige Höhlen in alphabetischer Reihenfolge:

Alavala Tunnel Cave   Armstrong 280
Batadomba Cave Höhlentempel Armstrong 282
Batathota Cave Höhlentempel Armstrong 282
Dambulla Höhlentemmpel in der Zentralprovinz, Matale Distrikt, World Heritage Site  
Dimbulagala 15 Höhlentempel sind entlang des Wegs, der bis zur Spitze des Hügel führt  
Fa-Hien-Cave   Armstrong 283
Istri-gal-lena 600 m Länge, erforscht von Siffre Courbon, Chabert 81
Istripura (Pannala) 600 m Länge, erforscht durch Siffre Courbon, Chabert 81
Jaffna Barlang 65 m tiefer wassererfüllter Schacht, erforscht von tschechischen Höhlentauchern Courbon, Charbert 81
Kosgala Vavul Cave Rathnapuradistrikt Armstrong 281
Kukuluwa Kanda Rajamaha Viharaya Höhlentempel  
Lunugala Lena Nitre Cave   Armstrong 280
Mihintale Mehrere Höhlentempel Kusch, Mihintale 173ff.
Pahiyangala Höhlentempel (L 60m, H 45 m)
benannt nach einem chinesischen Mönch
Archäoloigsche Ausgrabungen erbrachten den Nachweis, daß die Höhle schon seit 37.000 Jahren besucht worden ist
Pelpola Cave   Armstrong 283
Pidurangala Zahlreiche Höhlentempel  
Ravana Ella Cave   Armstrong 280
Sthreepura Cava Rathnapuradistrikt, 80 m lang, große Versturzhöhle Armstrong 281
Sigiriya Höhlentempel  
Waulpane Limestone Caves    





Armstrong, R., Osborne, L., Pathamakumara Jayasingha, Wasantha S. Weliange An introduction to Sri Lankan gneiss and granite caves, 2013 ICS Proceedings S. 280-285
Brooks, SJ Caving in Sri Lanka, Orpheus Caving Club Newsletter, 1995, 31, 22, 5-6
Courbon, Paul, Chabert, Claude Atlas des Grandes Cavités Mondiales, 1986
Gerhards, Hannelore, Schreiber, Bernhard Die Höhlen der Buddhas, Jahresbericht der Höhlenforschergruppe Rhein-Main, 1984, Frankfurt 1985, 7-11
Keller, Peter Karst im Granit? S. 23
Kukla, J. Jeskyne na Ceylone, Ceskoslovensky Kras, 11, 1958, 165-169
Kusch, Heinrich Die Höhlen bei Mihintale (Ceylon), Die Höhle S. 173
Kusch, Heinrich Die Höhlen Ceylons, Mitt. d. Landesver. f. Höhlenkunde i. d. Stmk., 2, 1 Graz 1973, S. 20-23
Mitter, P. Kras na Sri Lanke, Slovensky Kras publ. Zbornik Museum, Czechoslovakia vol. 17, 1979, pp 144-161
Siffre, M. Dans les abimes de la terre, Flammarion, Paris 1975
Striniati, p. & Aellen, V. Recherches biospelologiques dans l'ile de Ceylon, Proc 8th Internal Congress of Speleology, Bowling Green, Kentucky, USA Volume II 1981
Wilson, Jane Caves in Southern Sri Lanka, Caves & Caving 42-1988, 22-23


Höhlen und Höhlengebiete / caves and caving regions

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