Seetha Amman Temple (Sri Lanka)

Seetha Amman Temple
Seetha Amman Temple (Tamil: சீதா அம்மன் கோயில், Sinhala: සීතා අම්මාන් කෝවිල) is a Hindu temple (Kovil) in Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka. The Kovil is situated along the Nuwara Eliya - Welimada road about 8 km far from the Nuwara Eliya bus station. The site is popular among visitors as a place related to the Hindu epic Ramayanaya.

The temple was built by Tamil estate labourers who came to the country in the 19th century and is believed to be the earliest Hindu shrine in the Nuwara Eliya area (Abeywardana, 2004; Goonatilake, 2010). 

Is this a site related to epic Ramayanaya?
Although it bears no historical or archaeological value, this temple is promoted by the locals and tourist agencies as a shrine related to Rama, Ravana and Seetha (Sita), three mythical figures in the Indian epic Ramayanaya. According to them, this temple site is the place where Seetha was held captive by Ravana. However, some believe that Seetha was held captive and hidden in this place by Rama to protect her from Ravana. The stream near this location is thought to be the bathing spot of Seetha and the rock beside it is where she sat to pray. The circular depressions of the rock face across the stream are said to be the footprints of the elephant of Ravana. Also, it is said that there is one spot in the stream where the water is not suitable for drink. Local Hindu devotees are of the opinion that this is due to a curse made by Seetha.

However, the authenticity of Ramayanaya is controversial hence it is presently dismissed as a myth by Sri Lankan academics (JRASSL, 2014).

1) Seetha Amman Temple Seetha Eliya by is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

1) Abeywardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka.  p. 221.
2) Goonatilake, S., 2010. Introduction: Inventing Archaeology: The Tourist Board's "Ramayana Trail"
3) JRASSL, 2014. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka New Series, Vol. 59, No. 2, Special Issue on the Ramayana (2014). pp.1-112.

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This page was last updated on 9 January 2023

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