Tissamaharama is one of the most pleasant towns in the southern coast. The beautiful reservoir in Tissa, Tissa Wewa with its remarkable bird life provides the scenic backdrop to the town. Tissa was the sanctuary in the Deep South, where Sinhalese patriots fled to rally support against marauding Dravidian invaders from Southern India. Known by the name of Magama (great town), it was one of the principal settlements of the southern province of Ruhuna. Magama was founded in the third century BC by king Mahanaga, brother of the King Devanam Piya Tissa of Anuradhapura, & later raised to prominence under King Kavantissa, father of the hero of the nation, King Dutugamunu of Ruhuna.
Kirinda is a small but beautiful village on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, 10 km south of Tissa & close to Kataragama. It has a beautiful beach and a Buddhist shrine built on a huge round rock. The area is also close to the Great and Little Basses reefs which provide some of the most spectacular scuba diving in the country. One of the most well-known attractions in Kirinda is the statue of Queen Vihara Maha Devi, the heroine of the nation & mother of the hero of the nation, King Dutugamunu. This is situated on the spot where she is said to have landed after being set adrift on the sea from Kelaniya
by the Tissa-Deberawewa road is Yatala Wehera, built 2300 years ago by King Yatalatissa with its surrounding wall of sculpted elephant heads & moat and large moonstone. There is also a large monolith with scorings on one face that are believed to have been made by chains used to tether royal elephants.
we continue down the road for a couple of hundred meters to reach the Menik dagoba.
Tissa Maha Dagoba
Most impressive is the restored Maha Stupa, built by King Kavantissa in the 3rd century BC located between Tissa town centre and the tank. It was the largest dagoba in the island at the time. Today, for Buddhist pilgrims, it is one of the sixteen most sacred sites in the country. The dagoba has a circumference of 165m & stands 55.8m high, is enshrined with sacred tooth relic & forehead bone relic of Buddha.
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