Baron’s Cap | Thoppigala | Sri Lankan Guides
Distinguished by its unique hat-shaped appearance, Thoppigala, also known as the Baron’s Cap, stands nearly 40 km away from Batticaloa, shrouded within a dense jungle. In times long past, this rocky mountain was referred to as Piyagalaka Agali Pawatha.
Thoppigala holds a significant place in Sri Lankan history, evident in the archaeological remnants discovered amid the thick jungle. During the Anuradhapura era, the site was home to a vast monastery, with stone inscriptions atop the mountain detailing generous donations by King Kanishta Thisas. Notably, the area’s historical significance was compromised during the prolonged war that engulfed Eastern and Northern Sri Lanka from the early 1980s onward.
Despite an archaeological expedition in 1983, led by the esteemed archaeologist Ven. Ellawala Medhananda Thera, uncovering remnants such as a stupa atop the mountain, further investigation was hampered by the conflict, resulting in the loss of another valuable archaeological monument.
Throughout the three-decade-long conflict against LTTE terrorists, Thoppigala played a pivotal role in military strategy, frequently changing hands due to its strategic location. Rising 534 meters tall and surrounded by rocky terrain and dense jungle, the mountain provided an ideal base for guerrilla warfare. Thoppigala served as an LTTE base camp, launching continuous attacks on Sinhalese villages and contributing to the ethnic cleansing of the region. The Sri Lankan Military successfully captured the LTTE camp in Thoppigala in early 2007.
Today, a war memorial stands on the land, commemorating the Sri Lankan Army’s triumph over the LTTE. The memorial pays tribute to the soldiers who sacrificed their lives in the battles against terrorism. The exhibition area vividly depicts various stages of the war through photographs, models, and display units, highlighting the significant role played by the Sri Lanka Army.
The former campsite, once a training ground for terrorists, now offers a unique opportunity for nature lovers to explore the surrounding jungle and wildlife. Walking on paths trodden by Holy Arhants, military personnel, and terrorists at different junctures in Sri Lankan history, visitors can engage with the rich natural and historical tapestry that Thoppigala embodies.