Sithulpawwa Raja Maha Viharaya

One of the most iconic edifices of the Ruhuna Kingdom constructed by King Kavantissa during the 2 nd Century BC, the Sithulpawwa Rajamaha Viharaya is a timeless vestige that highlights the prominent place given to Buddhism in Sri Lanka for so many years.

Located deep within the wilderness of the Yala National Park, recent archaeological excavations have found that the complex was once the abode of 12,000 Arahants (monks of the highest rank). The ruins of circular relic houses and simple house-like structures are clear indications that many monks lived there in bygone days. Boddhisatva statues chiselled out of the rock, adorned in royal garb are just some of the original features that remain to this day.

The area is also inhabited by wildlife, so don’t be surprised if you pass a herd of elephants on your way to the temple.