Sithulpawwa Magul Maha Viharaya (සිතුල්පව්ව මගුල් මහා විහාරය)

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Situated in Kirinda in Hambanthota District, Sithulpawwa Magul Maha Viharaya is commonly mixed up with the Lahugala Magul Maha Viharaya on the Internet and you can see articles treating both these temples as one.

According to legend, Princess Viharamahadevi landed near Muhudu Maha Viharaya in Pottuvil (or some believe Kirinda Rajamaha Viharaya).  King Devanampiyatissa who received the princess from the ship is said to have married her at what is known as the Lahugala Magul Maha Viharaya.

Then the newly wedded couple travelled towards Magama, their stronghold and the regional capital. During this long trip, it is said that the newlyweds spent one night at Sithulpawwa Magul Maha Viharaya where they consummated their marriage.

Archaeological excavations in 2015 at the Magul Maha Viharaya site at Sithulpawwa in Tissamaharama have yielded evidence to date the monastery to the Second Century BC according to Director General of Archaeology Dr Senarath Dissnayake.

According to him, among the finds was a Bodhigharaya (sacred enclosure for the Bo tree) that could be assigned to the First Century BC. The brick wall of the enclosure is 35 meters in length and 18 meters in width. Shards of red and black ware pottery of begging bowls used by the then Bhikkhus with Brahmi script inscriptions belonging to the Second Century BC have been discovered. The excavation process is over and the conservation process is being planned.

There is evidence of ruins of three stupas near the site. Around them, ruins of rock pillars and buildings of the ancient past have been uncovered.

C.W Nicholas reported about this site in 1952; these ruins once constituted an ancient monastery of appreciable size spread over two adjacent rock groups which rise to 225 feet on the west and 337 feet on the east. Both the eastern and western rock groups, separated by a pass about 100 yards wide, contain several drip-ledged caves, those on the cast being at much higher levels.

In 1952, each group had a thupa. That on the west, 20 to 30 feet above ground level, was the principal stupa. Several of its bricks bear Brahmi letters (mason’s marks) of the 1st century BCE and to this period may be assigned its original construction. However, Dr Senarath Dissanayake has placed the Brahmi inscriptions at the site to the 2nd century BCE. The eastern stupa, at a considerably higher level and invisible from the western side, is much ruined. There are several pokunas and a few flights of rock-cut steps. Remains of stone-pillared buildings occur only in the vicinity of the western stupa.

There is no evidence to ascertain the nature of the relationship this monastery had with the nearby monastery at Sithulpawwa, but according to an inscription found on the site, both temples had received the patronage and sponsorship of Gotimbara, one of the ten giant warriors of Dutugemunu.

According to the references in the chronicles, this site was used during the battle by Vijayabahu the Great to unite the country.

The Sithulpawwa Magul Maha Viharaya temple complex can be reached on the Kirinda – Sithulpawwa Road approx 12.5 km from the Kirinda.

List of Archaeological Sites inside Yala and Kumana National Parks

References

  1. Nicholas, C. W. (1963). Historical Topography of Ancient and Medieval Ceylon. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, New Series Volume VI Special Number, p.23
  2. Nicholas, C.W. (1952) “Text of the Brahmi Inscriptions in the Ruhuna National Park,” Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, II(2), pp. 126–140.
  3. Medhānanda, E. (2005). The Sinhala Buddhist heritage in the East and the North of Shri [i.e. Sri] Lanka. 1st ed. Colombo: Dayawansa Jayakody & Co. , pp. 306–308.

Also See

Map of Sithulpawwa Magul Maha Viharaya in Yala

Please click on the button below to load the Dynamic Google Map (ගූගල් සිතියම් පහලින්)
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The map above also shows other places of interest within a approximately 20 km radius of the current site. Click on any of the markers and the info box to take you to information of these sites

Zoom out the map to see more surrounding locations using the mouse scroll wheel or map controls.

Travel Directions to Sithulpawwa Magul Maha Viharaya in Yala

The park can be reached through Southern Highway. It is 275 kilometres away (the shortest path through Ratnapura avoiding the Highway but travel time is longer) from Colombo.

Route from Colombo to Yala National Park  (Ruhuna) EntranceRoute from Kataragama to Yala National Park  (Ruhuna) Entrance
Through : Southern Highway – Mattala – Tissamaharama – Kirinda
Distance : 275 km
Travel time : 4.30 hours
Driving directions : see on Google map
Through Tissamaharama – Kirinda
Distance : 40 km
Travel time : 45 minutes.
Driving directions : see on Google map
Route from Kirinda to Sithulpawwa Magul Maha Viharaya
Though : Kataragama – Sithulpawwa Road
distance :12.5  km
Travel time : 30 minutes
Driving directions : see on google map

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