Samudragiri Pichchamal Viharaya at Kuchchaveli

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Kuchchaveli is a small coastal fishing village located about North of Trincomalee. The Pichchamal Viharaya at Kuchchaveli lies on a small rocky outcrop at the sea about 4 km to the North where the Yan Oya meets the sea.

Such temples are generally called Samudragiri temples or Muhudu Viharas. They were built on a high ground bordering the sea. Some other temples belonging to this category of temples are Ambalantota Gotha Pabbatha at the mouth of Walawe River,  Bundala, Kirinda, Okanda, Sastrawela, Gokanna at the entrance to the Trincomalee harbour (where the Koneswaram Kovil stands today), Lanka Patuna at Foul Point and Dambakola Patuna in Jaffna.

As with most other sea coast temples, sea erosion has washed away most of the temple but few ruins still remain today. The most intriguing is the engraving of 16 stupas on the face of a rock on a panel of 4’x4′ neatly divided into 16 squares. No such carvings had been found anywhere on the island and are believed to be of Mahayana origin.

On top of a small rock by the sea lies a restored stupa and some of the archaeological artefacts found at various times. This rocky hill is locally known as ‘Karandi Malai’ in Tamil which translates into ‘Walas Kanda’ in Sinhala.

Another important artefact is a standing Buddha statue. The torso and the face have been found separately and based on the artistic style of this statue Ven. Ellawala Medhananda Thero has placed it to the 2nd century.

An inscription written in Sanskrit lies on another rock face which has been dated to the 6th century. This inscription was defaced around 1980 when the LTTE terrorists held control of this area. But fortunately, it can be seen today.

Another inscription names this temple as ‘Kanikarawelli Viharaya’ and the Pichchamal Viharaya is a modern name given at a later date. Some believe that King Dutugemu got Pichcha Mal flowers from this area to be offered to Ruwanweli Seya thus the temple was called Pichchamal Viharaya.

Today this sea coast temple lies between the Kuchchaveli Police station and a Naval camp. To access the site you need to take permission and walk across the camp towards the sea.


  1. Ellāvala Medhānanda, 2005. The Sinhala Buddhist heritage in the East and the North of Shri [i.e. Sri] Lanka. 1st ed. Colombo: Dayawansa Jayakody & Co.

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Map of  Samudragiri Pichchamal Viharaya at Kuchchaveli

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Travel Directions to Samudragiri Pichchamal Viharaya at Kuchchaveli

Route from Trincomalee (railway station)  to Samudragiri Pichchamal Viharaya at Kuchchaveli
Through :Nilaveli
Distance : 33  km
Travel time : 45 minutes
Driving directions : see on Google map


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