Seelawathi Pabbatha Viharaya

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).

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 visit 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).

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.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 8 January 2023
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