Somawathi Chaitya.

Somawathi Chaitya is located in the wilderness of the Mahaweli flood plains, 12 km away from the nearest human settlement. It was built during the reign of King Kavantissa (whose son King Dutugemunu built Ruwanweliseya), by his sister Princess Somawathi and her husband Prince Abhaya. It’s said to enshrine the right canine tooth relic of the Buddha, one of the four tooth relics – which are considered the most sacred relics by Buddhists.

Initially located on a park in the right bank of the Mahaweli river (and therefore belonging to the province of Ruhuna, Kavantissa’s realm), the stupa now stands on the left bank of the river due to changes in the river’s course which occurred about a millennia ago. This change in river course has also made the area prone to flooding, and the chaitya is inaccessible during the North-eastern monsoon (December – February).

Conservation History

The stupa was lost in the evacuation of the dry zone by Sri Lankan kings, but was re-discovered in the 60s. It was reconstructed and finally topped with a “chuda manikya” (gemstone at the top of the stupa) in the 80s, only to be re-abandoned during the Sri Lankan civil war. Villages surrounding the stupa such as Sungavila were attacked by the LTTE and attempts were made to seize the chuda manikya, which failed due infighting and an Elephant attack – an episode that the monks residing there attribute to a miracle. The gemstone was retrieved and was kept safe at the Colombo National Museum until 2002, when it was returned and re-installed at the stupa.

An interesting feature of the stupa is the cut-away left by the Department of Archaeology at the side of the stupa, which shows the three different historical stages of renovation.

Somawathi Today

Today, Somawathi is a very popular destination for pilgrims and tourists. The roads leading up to the stupa through brushland, which used to be mud puddles impassable even with the aid of 4WD vehicles, have been neatly done up in concrete. There is accommodation for pilgrims, though most tourists prefer to stay in Polonnaruwa, which is only 45 minutes away.

New temple structures have been constructed since the end of the war, including halls for accommodation, a new shrine room and sermon hall.

The area surrounding the stupa is the Flood Plains National Park. Elephants frequent the area, making travelling there after dusk dangerous.

Conclusion

Somawathi is a temple complex in Polonnaruwa district, surrounded by jungle. If you’re in the area, do pay a visit: the roads are good and you’ll also catch a glimpse of the area's wildlife.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp

Highlights.

Latest.

KAMU.

Ramada High Tea buffet – 2023

High Teas are quite the “Fash-un” these days, and we are stepping into a trendy

Kamu

Street Burger Hitting It Off With The Festive Menu!

By Shamrina Carim Christmas has gotten merrier with their mouth watering Festive menu this December

Highlights Kamu

Indulge your cravings at Indulge Desserts. Co

By RR Everyone’s favourite spot for a well-deserved chocolate overdose has opened their doors in

Kamu

Trying Scope Kitchen’s new menu – Dec 2022

By Hashini Pathirana Scope Cinemas, ever since their launch as Sri Lanka’s first multi-sensory luxury

Kamu

Cinnamon Lakeside’s delicious High Tea spread- 2022

Cinnamon Lakeside has made an exotic appearance at the main lounge, serving a range of

Kamu

Cooking with the Silvermill Coconut Culinary Range

As a Sri Lankan, can you imagine cooking without coconut? It is a universally accepted

Highlights Kamu

Trending.

Celebrate A Love To Remember This Valentine’s At Hilton Colombo

Colombo, Sri Lanka – 30 January 2023 – February calls for yet another joyous occasion to celebrate

Trending

Hilton Colombo Goes ‘Coconuts’

Unique Coconut infused dishes at Café Kai Colombo, Sri Lanka – 23 January 2023 - Café

Trending

Emperor’s Wok Celebrates Chinese New Year With Auspicious Cantonese Dishes

Hilton Colombo’s Chinese restaurant will offer a Reunion set menu, in addition to À la

Trending

Uber’s 2022 Cravings report reveals Sri Lanka’s love and hate relationship with onions

Uber looked at how you ordered on UberEats last year and discovered Sri Lanka’s love

Trending

Courtyard By Marriott Debuts In Sri Lanka With The Opening Of Courtyard By Marriott Colombo

Courtyard by Marriott, part of Marriott Bonvoy’s extraordinary portfolio of 30 brands, today announced the

Trending

What you missed at the Fairway Street Food Festival

By Hashini Pathirana Renowned to be known as one of the finest City hotels in

Highlights Trending

Yamu Guide.

7 Places to Hike in 2023

Have you ever thought of arranging a travel bucket list to climb a mountain this

Highlights Yamu Guide

Yamu’s Top Restaurant Picks for 2023

New Year, New Reviews? Say “hell yeah”! We have sorted out a few restaurants that

Highlights Yamu Guide

7 movies to look forward to in 2023

With the passing of another year, brings us a set of new movies to cherish

Highlights Yamu Guide

Gym Round Up 2023

By RR This one's for all of you who’ve had that exact same new year

Highlights Yamu Guide

7 New Year’s Eve Parties in Colombo (2022)

By RR That’s another year down and boy, what a year it’s been.  It’s time

Highlights Yamu Guide

5 Places to buy Christmas Decorations

By Hashini Pathirana In the spirit of Christmas, the most wonderful time of the year,

Yamu Guide