Situlpauwa- The Ancient Rock Temple in the Yala National Park.


Situlpauwa is an ancient Buddhist monastery located in the southern province of Sri Lanka. This place is located deep within the heart of the Yala National Park in the Hambantota district. There is a forest area around the sithulpauwa raja maha Viharaya because it is in the Yala National Park. Situlpauwa is a rock Temple and it has a long history.

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What is chithtala pabbatha

According to the ancient chronicles, Situlpauwa as known as Chittala pabbatha. Binala Pawatha vehera is another name for Situlpauwa. It is said that the name Situlpauwa has been derived from the word ‘ Chittalapabbatha’. Its means is ‘hill of the quiet mind’.

Situlpauwa is the central sacred site of the Yala National Park. There are 18 kilometres of   pilgrimage town Kataragama to Situlpauwa. It can be reached by Thissamaharamaya-Yadakandiya road towards the Yala National Park.

History of Situlpauwa temple

Situlpauwa Temple was built by king Kawanthissa in the 2nd century BC. He was the ruler of Rohana Province in ancient times. According to the ancient book Mahawamsa, the king Wasaba has built 10 stupas in this area. The archaeological ruins confirming this Mahawamsa story. The ruins still can be seen in the Situlpauwa temple. Situlpauwa was a famous Buddhist Religion place in Anuradhapura era.

Cave temples

Situlpauwa was a centre of Buddhist education for Buddhist monks in the ancient period. There are 168 caves in this temple area. The caves have been built for the Buddhist monk to live. It is said that 12000 Buddhist monks lived in this place.  They achieved the highest mind level in the Buddhism. Thissa thero who introduce Buddhism to Sri Lanka has lived in this place. We can believe it because there is a stupa named Thissa thero stupa .

Ruins in the temple area

Situlpauwa is an ancient Buddhist monastery place and it has 2200 years long history. Situlpauwa raja maha viharaya contains a large number of stupa and cave temples. There are two bodhisattva images, ponds, circular relic houses, chapter houses, and stone Buddha statues on this site. There are two ancient stupas on the main rock. Two Bodhisatwa statues can be seen at the site and they are known as the Awalokikeshwara. There are 61 scripts in this place with Brahmi wards.

Old Paintings in Situlpauwa

We can visit the paintings over 2000 years old in this temple. It is painted on a very thin plaster under the ditch of the cave. Now several of the paints are destroyed. There is the herd of jungle fowl in this paint, which is dedicated to running one behind the other. It is rare to found other places like this painting in the country. These paint colours are very similar to Sigiriya paintings. We can see a figure of a deer with horns, two statues of the buddha and a part of an arm in this painting.  

Journey through the jungle

Situlpauwa is located deep within the heart of Yala National Park. So, when you are reaching the temple you have to go through the jungle. You can visit wild elephants, pigs, the battle of deer and a lot of wild animals this way. The chatters of birds will give you a gentle reminder that you are walking in the wild. Situlpauwa is a good place to watch in the nighttime. But it is dangerous to come back at night. 

Situlpauwa Map


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