Legends swirl around the mountain of Ritigala, which towers like a pile of huge, sculptural granite blocks over the surrounding jungle, and whose low peak is often shrouded in mist. It is said that Ritigala won a dual against his fellow-giant, Sona - and that the mountain was the place from which Hanuman leapt across the sea to South India in the great Hindu epic, the Ramayana. Certainly sometime after the first century BC it became a hermitage for the Pansakulika monks; its remote position and numerous caves made a perfect refuge. Today Ritigala is still remote, usually free of tourists and always cool. It is mystically beautiful, with shady forests and streams feeding quiet pools, granite boulders and the old stone monastic paths winding their way between the ruins of meditation platforms, Ayurvedic "hospitals" and shrines, and the roots of huge, sinewy trees.