Mahiyanganaya is a town situated close to the Mahaweli River in Badulla District, Uva Province of Sri Lanka.

Mahiyanganaya is a town situated close to the Mahaweli River in Badulla District, Uva Province of Sri Lanka. It is believed that the Lord Gautama Buddha visited Mahiyanganaya on the full moon Poya day of January in order to settle a dispute that arose between Yakkas and Nagas (two tribes then inhabited this area) and this was his first ever visit to Sri Lanka. Then the Lord Buddha preached Dhamma to Sumana Saman, a leader in this area, to whom the Lord Buddha gave a handful of his hair so that people could worship it as a relic. After that Sumana Saman (now the God Sumana Saman) built a golden chethiya in which the sacred hair relic has been deposited. Later, from time to time, about seven chethiyas were built over the original golden chethiya, the last one being built by the King Dutugemunu. As such, this historic town is a very sacred place for Buddhists.

Tourists Attractions in Mahiyanganaya

  • Veddas

Dambana is a remote jungle village, where the original indigenous Vedda people of Sri Lanka still reside. The Veddas preserve a direct line of descent from the island's original Neolithic community dating back from at least 18,000 BC. Veddas were originally hunter-gatherers, with the women of the tribe staying at home to tend to family. They used bows and arrows to hunt game, and also gathered wild plants and honey. The original dwellings of the Veddas consisted of caves and rock shelters. Many elaborate cave paintings have been discovered in Sri Lanka, painted mainly by the womenfolk while waiting for their men to return from the hunt. The Dambana Vedda village is home to the last remaining tribe of the indigenous people of Sri Lanka. The Veddas still practice age old traditions and ways of life and are primarily a hunter-gatherer race. Their ancestry can be traced as far back as 18000 BC. The “Dambana Vedda village” provides interesting insights into how early man survived along with a deeper understanding of a culture so old, to which its people still remain strongly tied.

  • Buddhist Temple

Mahiyangana Raja Maha Vihara is an ancient Buddhist temple in Mahiyangana, Sri Lanka. It is believed to be the site of Gautama Buddha's first visit to the country, and is one of the Solosmasthana, the 16 sacred religious locations in Sri Lanka.

Historical sources, including the ancient chronicle Mahavamsa, record that the Buddha visited the Mahiyangana area in the ninth month after he attained enlightenment, which was his first visit to the country. According to the Mahavamsa, Sri Lanka was inhabited by yakshas at the time. It says that the Buddha subdued the yakshas there and held a discourse on Dhamma doctrine with them. A Yakka chieftain named Saman (who is now regarded as a deity) attained Sotapanna (Sovan) after listening to the Buddha's discourse, and asked for a token from the Buddha that they could worship in his absence. The Buddha had given him a handful of hair from his head, which Saman later enshrined in a small stupa, 10 feet (3.0 m) in height. This was the first stupa to be built in Sri Lanka.

Mahiyanganaya on map