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Archaeological & Religious Sites

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Home to Katharagama temple and the Tissamaharama Rajamaha Vihara, the vicinity of Tissamaharama is considered sacred by many pilgrims who travel from all around the country and beyond. History has it that the Tissa stupa dates back to the period of King Kawantissa who ruled Ruhuna in the 2nd century B.C; the site was consecrated by Lord Buddha himself, who meditated here with 500 arhats. Besides this, the Katharagama temple is venerated by versatile faiths: Buddhists, Hindus, Moors and the Vedda people visit to worship Lord Murugan. The temple itself homes a collection of shrines and is the subject of many fascinating myths. In the same area, located on an elevated rock of 400 feet with stunning views, stands the ‘hill of the quiet mind’, popularly known as the Sithulpauwa rock temple which can be toured via its steep rock staircase. Beside its stupa lies an intricate cave complex complete with wall paintings from the Anuradhapura era. Similarly, seated on a nearby port, the Kirinda temple too is atop a rocky outcrop. Legend has it that a brave princess, in an attempt to obliterate her father’s murderous sins, sacrificed herself, drifting into the sea, only to be rescued here by the King of Kirinda who later married her and named her Queen Vihara Maha Devi.