Tissamahara, or Tissa for short, is largely regarded as a town that’s only useful as a jumping point to reach Yala National Park. While we can’t argue its incredibly convenient location, Tissa offers so much more! It would be a shame not to experience everything there is to do in and around Tissa. If you’re a history buff and love archaeological ruins, look no further! You won’t be disappointed by the incredible stories of the past you can weave together by visiting the various dagobas and ruins around Tissa.
When you enter Tissa, a few of the most striking things you will notice instantly is the impressive Tissa Lake, the fields of lush rice paddies, and the sheer number of temples that dot the town. Tissa Lake was manmade in the 3rd century for irrigation purposes but today, locals and visitors come here not just to relax and watch the sunset, but also to see the birds that call Tissa Lake home. You can see ibis, kingfishers, even bats.
The oldest dagoba in town is Yatala Wehera, which was built over 2,000 years ago, was only recently restored in the 1980s to reveal its original beauty. The beautiful dagoba isn’t just for looks, though. It carries important historical significance as locals believe Yatala Wehera it was erected by King Yatala Thisa of Ruhuna to celebrate where he was born.
If you’d rather lose yourself in a town that’s shrouded in mythical fantasy, taking a quick trip to the ancient and holy town of Kataragama will awaken your spiritual side. The town is considered one of Sri Lanka’s most important pilgrimage sites for Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, and indigenous Vedda people. Locals believe that deity Kataragama deviyo lived at the top of a mountain just outside the town; feel free to climb the mountain to get an unobstructed view of the town. After that, feel free to visit Kataragama temple to make an offering while bells clatter around you.