Being one of the four major monasteries in Sri Lanka the site of Tissamaharama Vihara was made sacred by the Lord Buddha himself, with 500 other individuals who reached enlightenment, during his third visit to Sri Lanka.
Tissamaharama Stupa is the largest stupa in the Southern region of the country with a height of 156 feet and 550 feet in circumference. A recent discovery of a pillar inscription in Kirinda, reveals that the left tooth relic of Buddha was also enshrined in this temple.
Tissamaharama monastery was previously a prestigious Buddhist educational centre of the southern region from the 3rd century BC to the 11th century AD. According to the chronicles this temple was built in the 2nd century BC by King Kavantissa and King Ilanaga renovated and expanded the temple.
However according to some sources, the temple was initially built by King Mahanaga and later it was expanded as a major temple by King Kavantissa.
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