Situated in Kirinda in Hambanthota District, Situlpawwa Magul Maha Viharaya is easily confused with the Lahugala Magul Maha Viharaya online and some writers seem to treat the two as one.
The legend has it that the princess Viharamahadevi disembarked near Muhudu Maha Viharaya in Pottuvil (or some believe it’s Kirinda Rajamaha Viharaya). King Devanampiyatissa who received the princess from the ship is said to have been betrothed to her at what is known as the Lahugala Magul Maha Viharaya today.
Then, the newly-wedded royal couple journeyed towards Magama, their stronghold and the regional capital. During this long trip, it is said that they spent one night at Sithulpawwa Magul Maha Viharaya where they consummated their marriage.
Based on the archaeological evidence dug up from the excavations in 2015, the former Director-General of Archaeology Dr Senarath Dissanayake has traced the origin of the monastery to the Second Century BC.
In his observation, among the finds, there’s Bodhigharaya (sacred enclosure for the Bo tree) that could be from the First Century BC. The brick wall of the enclosure is 35 metres in length and 18 metres in width. The team of archaeologists had also dug up shards of red and black pottery-ware (begging bowls) used by the then Bhikkus with Brahmi script inscriptions that date back to the Second Century BC.
Ruins of three stupas are found on the site surrounded also by the ruins of rock pillars and buildings of antiquity. There is no evidence to establish the nature of relationship this monastery had with the nearby monastery at Sithulpawwa, but according to an inscription discovered in the site, both temples had been patronized by Gotimbara, one of the ten giant warriors of Dutgemunu.
The chronicles reveal that this site was used during the battle by the king Vijayabahu the Great to unite the country. The Mahavamsa states that the king Vijayabahu organised his troops at a site called Paluttagiriya. Renowned historian C.W. Nicholas has identified Paluttagiriya as the locality known today by the name Palatupana in the Hambantota District and the site under investigation is the place where the king had rallied his army.
The Sithulpawwa Magul Maha Viharaya temple complex is reachable on the Kirinda - Sithulpawwa Road, roughly 12.5 km from the Kirinda.