Move off the beaten path and set course for the magnificently positioned Sithulpawwa Rajamaha Viharaya which is an outstanding site bathed in the glories of yesteryear.
The Sithulpawwa Rajamaha Viharaya is an age-old Buddhist temple which finds refuge atop a hill in the Hambantota District of South Eastern Sri Lanka. Found some 18 km east of the much talked about and cherished town of Katharagama, the temple was the brainchild of King Kavantissa and is believed to have seen the light of day in the 2nd century BC.
Origins and historical relevance
The term ‘Sithulpawwa’ has been derived from the words “Chiththala Pabbatha” which translates in English to mean the “hill of the quiet mind.” During the course of its existence, it has been narrated that King Gajabahu took steps to place a stone inscription that required all tax received from the courts to be paid to the monks who lived in the Viharaya.
For centuries and to this present day, the Viharaya functions as a centre of education for Buddhist monks while coming off as a sought-after destination for worship, especially during the monthly full-moon Poya holiday. The current chief incumbent is Ven. Metaramba Hemarathana Nayake Thera who oversees the functions of the Sithulpawwa Rajamaha Viharaya.
Why should you go?
Lovers of art will be in their element should they spend a few moments within the temple grounds for detailed paintings that evoke memories of the Anuradhapura era will flood through one’s mind. Along with ruins of Buddha images, the keen traveller will be able to inspect remnants of image houses, Bodhisatva images and circular relic houses that bear testament to this magnificent structure. In fact, those staying at a Yala hotel the likes of Cinnamon Wild Yala Will only have to travel along the Tissamaharama-Yodhakandiya road before the temple’s outline will appear.