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Sithulpahuwa



Located right in the Ruhuna Yala National Park is the famous archeological site named Sithulpahuwa. The second century monastery proudly presents the renovated majestic dagobas. Rock carvings & more than 60 inscriptions testify to the history of the site.

History
A monastic settlement, Situlpahuwa, had housed about 12,000 inhabitants including thousands of Buddhist monks during the period of ancient kingdom of Ruhuna of Sri Lanka. Recently resorted, it's an important centre of pilgrimage en route to nearby Kataragama. Restored Magul Mahavihara (temple) & Akasa Chetiya (shrine) date to the first & second centuries BC testify to a part of the ancient Ruhuna kingdom. Magul Maha Vihara was built on the spot where King Kavantissa & Vihara Maha Devi were married. In Sinhalese magul means 'wedding'.

Five km from Tissamaharama, the watering hole of the animals in transit to Ruhuna Yala National Park, the main road branches off to well laid gravel road. A half an hour drive through the woods that becomes thicker at each turn of the road takes us to barrier point of the game warden. From the barrier another half an hour's drive takes us to Sithyulapahuwa archeological site of stupas, temple, wild elephants & herbal tea.

Monastery with a lake in between two stupas
The monastery comprises of two rock-top dagobas (stupas) with a small lake in between. Into the middle of wilderness: the first dagoba & the view of the park..

The little path leads out of the shrine room with both sides of the path having caves in which monks used to meditate in the ancient times. The path takes us to a rocky outcrop from where we could see the whole expanse of Ruhunu Yala National Park. The existent dagoba on the top of the rocky outcrop is built over the foundations of an ancient dagoba. The inscriptions scattered around the site have identified Situlpahuwa as a monastery of great piety & scholarship.

Stilmore into the middle of wilderness: the second dagoba & the view of the park - Kuda Sithulpahuwa (Little Sithulpahuwa)

Then again another kilometer through the woods takes us to a smaller dagoba atop another rock outcrop, which is even higher than Sithulpahuwa. We will be trekking up a near vertical rock face with the help of rickety hand rail made of iron & tiny toe holds carved into the rock face. Once again we have a panoramic view of the national park.

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