Matale is a town in the hill country of Sri Lanka
, 142 kilometers (88 mi) from Colombo
and 26 kilometers (16 mi) from Kandy
. It is an area steeped in history and village living.
The Matale administrative district also contains the historic Sigiriya
rock castle, Aluwihara rock cave temple and Dambulla
Cave Temple. Surrounding the town are the Knuckles foothills called Wiltshire. It is a mainly agricultural area, where tea, rubber, vegetable and spice cultivation dominate. The Knuckles Mountain Range
is a special landmark of Matale.
The Aluvihara Temple, on the North side of the town, is the historic location where the Pali Canon was first written down completely in text on ola (palm) leaves. Situated near Aluvihara, there are numerous monastery caves such as Embiliviharaya temple at Hulangamuwa, Watagoda Temple and Kawatayamuna temple, some of which exhibit fine frescoes.
Matale was a site of a major battle in 1848 when the Matale Rebellion started and the British garrison in the Fort Macdowall in Matale was placed under siege by the rebels led by Weera Puran Appu and Gongalegoda Banda who are renowned national heroes in Sri Lanka. This Historical city was also home to Monarawila Keppetipola, another national hero who led the Wellasa rebellion against the British troops. His ancestral home, the Kappetipola walawuwa is still present at Hulangamuwa, Matale.