Seelawathi Pabbatha Viharaya

Seelawathi Pabbatha Viharaya
Figure 1: The Stupa at the top of the Seelawathi Mountain

Seelawathi Pabbatha Viharaya, also known as Seelawathi Parvata Viharaya or Seelawathi Raja Maha Viharaya (Sinhala: සීලවතී විහාරය), is a Buddhist temple situated near Mulkirigala Raja Maha Viharaya in Hambantota District, Sri Lanka.

The history of the Seelawathi temple is obscure as there is no exact literary evidence for the confirmation of its earliest phase of construction. F. Lewis who published a brief account regarding this site in the "Journal of the Ceylon Branch of Royal Asiatic Society (Vol. XXX)" in 1926 mentions a worn rock inscription written in ancient letters (Lewis, 1926).

Seelawathi Pabbatha Viharaya
As mentioned by Lewis, there was a fraction between the monks of Seelawathigala Viharaya and the nearby Mulkirigala Viharaya as they belonged to two different sects (Lewis, 1926). As a result of this, Seelawathi gradually became a place of neglect and later remained in a condition of disrepair (Lewis, 1926). When Lewis visited the site in 1926, a monk from Siam (present Thailand) was in charge of this temple (Lewis, 1926). As recorded in Lewis's note, this monk who was on a pilgrimage to Anuradhapura and other sacred places had occupied Seelawathi after hearing its past glory (Lewis, 1926). He learned Sinhala, the majority language of the country, and restored the temple with the help of others (Lewis, 1926).

The Stupa and artefacts
On the summit of the Seelawathi rock is a Stupa and a separate tower of unique design. The tower, according to the Lewis account, has been built by the Siamese monk (Lewis, 1926). As further mentioned in his account, the Stupa has been built upon an old Stupa mound that had been vandalized by treasure hunters. However, a Karanduwa-pettiya (casket-box) with a kind of relic (a minute stone) had been recovered from this vandalized mound by the Siamese monk during the reconstruction works of the Stupa (Lewis, 1926).

Lewis also published in his article a photograph of a broken image that had been given to him by the Siamese monk (Lewis, 1926).

A protected site
The lamp post which flames for all twelve months, rock inscription and the area in extent of 4 m around the same,  flight of steps and the area in extent of 6 m around the same at the premises of Seelawathi Parwathą Vihara in  Modarawana village in the Grama Niladhari Divisions of Modarawana North and Modarawana South in Okewela Divisional Secretary’s Division are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 1 June 2023.

Seelawathi Pabbatha Viharaya Seelawathi Pabbatha Viharaya
1) Lewis, F., 1926. Note on an image obtained at Silavatiparvata temple. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of Royal Asiatic Society, Vol: XXX (79). pp.280-285.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka; Extraordinary. No: 2334/41. 1 June 2023. p.3A.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 10 December 2023

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