Tissamaharama is one of the most charming towns on the southern shore in Sri Lanka. It’s a famous town in Hambantota District, Southern Province, Sri Lanka. The magnificent human-made tank (reservoir) in Tissa, Tissa Wewa, with its spectacular birdlife, is the beauty of the region. Tissa was a sanctuary in the far south, where the Sinhalese patriots migrated to gather help against the Marauding Dravidian attackers from Southern India. Also known by the name of Mahagama (meaning the Great Town), this was one of the main settlements in the southern province of Ruhuna. Mahagama was established in the third century BC by the sibling of King Devanam Piya Tissa of Anuradhapura and later rose to prominence under King Kavantissa, the father of the hero of the country, King Dutugamunu of Ruhuna. 

Modern Tissa is a busy city with a main street lined with banks, restaurants, and tiny cafés and kiosks. The city is being swept by the cooling air from the broad reservoir. The city, in turn, is bounded by a glorious stretch of land of paddy fields. The most remarkable of Tissa’s dagobas (stupas) sits in the center of the paddy fields. The mixture of a cluster of dagobas and two beautiful tanks gives Tissa a certain differentiation and a sense of tradition, rendering it in strong contrast to the other towns on the southern shore.

Tissamaharama History

It used to be the headquarters of the Sinhalese Kingdom of Ruhuna from the 3rd century B.C. Just a few buildings from the period can still be found today. The presence of normal early Tamils in Tissamaharama was verified following archaeological digs in 2010. The Tissamaharama Tamil Brahmi writing, a part of a flat plate of black and red ware engraved in Tamil in the Tamil Brahmi language, was unearthed in the southern town at the earliest. 

The large artificial lake of Tissa Wewa, which was part of a complex irrigation scheme, also dates back to that period. Five big lakes are there in the vicinity of Tissamaharama: Yoda Wewa, Tissa Wewa, Weerawila Wewa Debarawewa Wewa, and Pannegamuwa Wewa. Currently, the town is mostly used as a starting point for tours to Yala National Park and Kataragama.

Tissamaharama Archaeology

Archaeological excavations brought to light the early urban period in the 4th century B.C., where burned bricks were used for the first time in the construction, Buddhist saddle querns dated back to the 3rd century B.C., a potsherd with triangular sail unearthed from the 1st century B.C. but on thematic grounds attributed to the 3rd century B.C., a hospital ranging from the 1st century AD-2nd century B.C.

Tissamaharama Attractions

The notable attractions in the region are Tissa Wewa, Yatala Wehera, museum, Debewawewa clock tower, Sandagiri Wehera, and Wirawila Wewa. 

Tissamaharama Summary: Tissamaharama is a prominent town in the Hambantota District of the Southern Province of Sri Lanka. It used to be the headquarters of the Sinhalese Kingdom of Ruhuna in the 3rd century B.C. The city is swept by cooling air from a large reservoir. The most impressive of Tissa’s dagobas (stupas) is in the middle of the paddy fields. The town is often used as a starting place for tours of Yala National Park and Kataragama. The most prominent attractions in the area are Tissa Wewa, the Yatala Wehera Museum, etc.