Sittam Gallena Viharaya

Sittam Gallena Viharaya
Siththam Gallena Viharaya (Sinhala: සිත්තම් ගල්ලෙන විහාරය) is a Buddhist temple situated at the foot of Rammalkanda mountain in Warapitiya village in Hambantota District, Sri Lanka.

History
Locals link the history of this site to the period of King Valagamba (103, 88-77 B.C.). It is said that the caves of this place sheltered Valagamba during the time he was in hiding from the South Indian invaders who were ruling the Anuradhapura Kingdom. Also, the Bodhi tree and the old Stupa at the temple premises are said to be monuments dating from the Anuradhapura Period and the time of King Vijayabahu I (1055-1110 A.D.) of Polonnaruwa respectively.

The site consists of two drip-ledged cave temples preserving two recumbent Buddha statues 18 Riyan long. The cave temple located near the Bodhi tree is known as Ihala Viharaya and its walls contain murals depicting Buddhist themes such as Jataka tales. Although it is not certain, the Stupa on the upper terrace of the temple is said to have been erected by Prince Kirti who liberated the Sinhalese throne from South Indian Colas in the latter part of the 11th century. A Devalaya shrine dedicated to Rajjuru Bandara has been added to the temple later. 

A protected site
The Pahala Len Vihara, Ihala Len Vihara and the ancient dagoba within the precincts of the Siththam Gallena Raja Maha Vihara, situated within Grama Niladhari Division of Warapitiya in the Walasmulla Divisional Secretary Division are archaeological protected monuments, declared by the government Gazette notifications published on 6 June 2008.  

Attribution
#) LankaPradeepa.com extends its gratitude to Lalith Kekulthotuwage for providing the necessary photographs required for this article. All the photos are published here with the permission of the author.

References
1) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1553. 6 June 2008. pp.522-523.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 11 October 2023
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