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Tissamaharama Raja Maha Vihara is among the four major Buddhist Monasteries in Sri Lanka. According to Mahavamsa the stupa was built by King Kavan Tissa to commemorate Lord Buddah’s visit to Sri Lanka, in the 2nd-century BC. The monastery was called “Silapassa Pirivena” at the time. The stupa is the largest in southern Sri Lanka being 156 feet of height and 550 feet in circumference. It is truly a calm, devine place in the middle of a green paddy field.
The bubble shaped stupa, built with bricks on a square granite platform is one of the oldest in the country. It is believed that King Kavan Tissa renovated and expanded Tissa Wewa (Tissa Tank) which is in close proximity to the monastery to fulfil the water requirements of the monastery, and the surrounding areas. At various times many ancient kings had offered lands to the monastery for the wellbeing of resident monks.
In 1990 the stupa had developed a series of vertical cracks around the dome. On the request made by the chief incumbent the Department of Archeology and the State Engineering Co-orporation intervened and prevented further damages by tying up the dome using galvanised steel cables around the circumference.
You can find flower vendors selling lotus flowers to offer to the stupa nearby, stops can be made at the Tissa Tank. Note that you’d need to wear the Vatican dress code to enter the monastery. There is no entrance fee to the monastery.