Sithulpawwa Rajamaha Viharaya, an ancient Buddhist monastery in Hambantota District, Sri Lanka: The Sithulpawwa Rajamaha Viharaya is located in the Hambantota District of southeastern Sri Lanka. It is situated about 18 kilometers east of the pilgrimage town of Katha agama. along the Tissamaharama-Yodhakandiya road towards the Yala National Park. While the journey to reach the site may require some effort, it is well worth the visit for those interested in history, Buddhism, and the serene beauty of the location. The monastery is believed to have been established in the 2nd century B.C. by King Kavantissa, a prominent figure in Sri Lankan history. King Kavantissa was known for his strong support of Buddhism, and this monastery stands as a testament to his devotion to the faith. The name Sithulpawwa is derived from the Sinhala word “Chiththala Pabbatha,” which translates to “the hill of the quiet mind.” This name reflects the serene and tranquil setting of the monastery, which is nestled in a natural environment conducive to meditation and contemplation. The Sithulpawwa Rajamaha Viharaya is renowned for its ancient and iconic edifices. It represents one of the significant structures of the Ruhuna Kingdom and reflects the architectural and religious heritage of Sri Lanka during the 2nd century B.C.
The monastery served as both a place of worship for devout Buddhists and a center of Buddhist education for monks. It played a crucial role in disseminating Buddhist teachings and fostering spiritual growth among monks and devotees. The site features a combination of natural and man-made elements. The caves in the rocky hillsides surrounding the monastery were used by monks for meditation and living quarters. These caves are adorned with ancient murals and inscriptions that provide insights into the historical and religious context of the time. In summary, the Sithulpawwa Rajamaha Viharaya stands as a remarkable testament to the ancient Buddhist heritage of Sri Lanka. It is a place of historical, architectural, and spiritual significance, and its tranquil setting amidst natural beauty continues to attract visitors and devotees seeking to connect with the country’s rich cultural and religious traditions.