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TISSAMAHARAMA (usually abbreviated to Tissa) is a lovely little town which is often used as a stepping stone to other destinations, such as Yala National Park and Bundala or the temple town of Kataragama, but it’s an agreeable place in its own right, with a handful of monuments testifying to the town’s important place in early Sri Lankan history when, under the name of Mahagama.

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Modern Tissa is a bustling but unremarkable local commercial centre -essentially a single thoroughfare, Main Street, lined with banks, shops and little cafes.

Refreshingly compact, the town is bounded on its northern side by a beautiful expanse of paddy fields, in the middle of which stands the most impressive of Tissa’s various dagobas, the Santagiri (or Sandagiri) dagoba allegedly built by Kavan Tissa in the second century BC and now restored to its original glory. About a kilometer north of the modern town lies the beauĀ­tiful Tissa Wewa, an expansive artificial lake thought to have been constructed in the second or third century BC

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It has more history and archaeological ruins. Two things immediately catch the eye: a huge expanse of water, the Tissa Wewa, and a bright white dagoba, the Maharama Wehare. Tissa was a stronghold for the southern kings of Ruhuna and both the tank and the dagoba are remnants of its earliest kings. While the north waned with foreign invasion, the Kingdom of Ruhuna remained a strong base for the southern kings

Kirinda – The small fishing village of Kirinda is blessed with a pretty beach, spectacular views and a charming history, yet it is bypassed by most visitors.

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