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Home > Heritage > Sithul Pauwa

Sithul Pauwa Viharaya

Situated in Kirinda in Hambanthota District, Sithul Pauwa has also being called Chiththala Pabbatha in the ancient texts. Stone Inscriptions has identified this location as "Chithala Paawatha Vehera". This temple complex is attributed to King Kavanthissa who ruled southern area of the country.

Sithul Pauwa is known as a location where thousands of Arhaths lived at one time. According to folklore it is said that a novice monk called Thissa who has reached the state of Arhath lived here and later a stupa was built encasing his remains thus this also has been known as Tissa Thera Chetiya.

Situl Pauwa contains large number of stupas, cave temples, Buddha statues a stupa house and image houses spread among a large land area. Among these there is a cave temple with ancient paintings thought to be belonging to the 3rd century BC. These drawings have been done on a thin layer of plaster on the rock surface and primarily used red - yellow colours.

The main stupa has been built by flattening the top of a rocky mountain. There are two approaches to the stupa. Stone steps have been cut from the south and the north. The boundary walls of the maluwa area have been built using large rocks. Remains of many buildings can be seen on the Northern side of the stupa.

In addition to the main Sithul Pauwa stupa another hill called the ‘Small Sithul Pauwa’ also contains similar stupa and buildings. Stupas have been built on each peak of this rocky mountain range and all these have been built in the Pre Christian Era.

A large amount of valuable items has been found from the excavations on this site including an exclusively made image of goddess Thara in a seating position and many Buddha statues. Two Statues of the Awalokeswara Bodisattva can be seen on the main cave temple. One of these is dressed as a royal and the other is plainly dressed as a sage.

A large number of rock inscriptions have been found throughout the vihara complex. All these belong to the pre Christian era and some letters in these inscriptions show localisation effects compared to Inscriptions in the Aruradhapura in the same era. Some of these pre Christian inscriptions mentions two of the ‘Dasamaha Yodhayan’ (the ten giants in the Army of King Dutugemunu) called Nandimithra and Welusumana. Another giant of the ‘Dasamaha Yodhayan’ Pussadeva is also said to be from this area.

According to the great chronicle Mahavansa, King Vasaba has built 10 stupas in the Situl Pauwa (then Chiththala Pabbatha) According to stone inscriptions King Mahallaka Naga (134-146) has built stupas and donated land to the temple and the regional King Dappula of Rohana has donated the village called Gonmitigama in 659 AC. Today this village has been identified as Gonagala.

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Updated April 6, 2007
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