Situlpawwa Rajamaha Viharaya, also called ‘Chiththala Pabbatha’ in the ancient texts is situated in Kirinda in Hambanthota. The legend has it that King Kavanthissa who ruled the Southern region of the country had this temple complex built during his reign. Situlpawwa is also known as a location where thousands of Arhaths lived at one time.
The Sithulpawwa temple complex consists of several stupas, cave temples, Buddha statues, a stupa house and image houses spread across a large parcel of land. Found among these is a cave temple with ancient paintings thought to be belonging to the 3rd century BC. These drawings have been created on a thin layer of plaster on the rock surface using primarily red and yellow colours.
On top of the main Sithulpawwa stupa, there’s another hill called the ‘Small Sithulpawwa’, where there are similar stupa and buildings. Stupas have been built on each summit of this rocky mountain range and all these have been erected in the Pre-Christian Era.
A treasure-trove of archaeologically important items has been unearthed from the excavations on this site, which includes an exclusively sculpted image of goddess Thara in a seating position and many Buddha statues. Inside the main cave temple are two statues of the Awalokeswara Bodhisattya; one of which is dressed as a royal and the other as a sage.
A major tourist attraction in the down-south today, Situlpawwa Rajamaha Viharaya is well steeped in history.