Tissamaharamaya, also known as Mahagama, was discovered by the Prince Mahanaga, brother of the famous King Devanampiyatissa in the 3rd Century BC.
The city of Tissamaharama is documented to have been in its peak during the time of King Kavantissa, where the well-known stupas of Maha Dagoba, Sandagiri Dagoba, Yatala Dagoba and Menik Dagoba and the beautiful man-made reservoirs of Tissa Wewa and Debara Wewa were built.
Tissamaharama Sri Lanka, once a sanctuary from marauding Dravidian invaders from Southern India, is an ideal access point for the nearby Yala National Park, Bundala National Parks and the Katharagama Pilgrimage.
The man-made lake of Tissa Wewa in Tissamaharama was built by King Kavantissa in the 2nd century BC, and lies on the north end of the city. The embankment of Tissa Wewa is 11,000 feet long (two miles) and 25 feet high with an area of approximately 550 acres.
The Tissa Wewa in Tissamaharama receives water through the ancient canal of Jaya Ganga and fills the tanks of Ranmasu Uyana and the Royal water garden next to the Isurumuniya Viharaya.
According to the History Chronicles, around 12,000 Arahats have lived in the Tissamaharama area during the times of King Kavantissa. The Maha Dagoba, Sandagiri, Yatala Dagoba and further down about half a kilometre is the Menik Dagoba, all believed to have built by the King Mahanaga in the 3rd century BC to provide housing for the monks in Tissamaharama.
Bundala National Park is located approximately 20 minutes drive away and is considered an internationally important wintering ground in Sri Lanka for migratory water birds. Bundala National Park was designated a wildlife sanctuary in 1969 and re-designated to a national park on 4 January 1993. In 1991 Bundala National Park became the first wetland to be declared as a Ramsar site in Sri Lanka. In 2005, Bundala National Park was designated as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO, making it the fourth biosphere reserve in Sri Lanka.
Apart from a large number of endemic and migratory birds, Bundala National Park also offers a wide range of wildlife such as saltwater crocodiles and freshwater crocodiles that are large in size, as well as elephants. Bundala National Park is also abundant with 383 plant species being recorded here, six of which are endemic and seven endangered.
Located in southern Sri Lanka about 260 kilometres east from Colombo, Wirawila Bird Sanctuary is heaven for birdwatchers.
Thanks to the Wirawila Tank and the Tissa Tank, thousands of migratory birds of both aquatic bird species and jungle birds come to the Wirawila Bird Sanctuary each year to roost and nest.
Among the common sighting of the park are the Piontail, Eurasian Curlew, and the Whimbrel, Red Wattled Lapwig, Great Stone Ployer, Orange Breasted Green Pigeon, Hornbills, and Flycatchers, Lesser Flamingo, Spoonbill, Painted Stork, Pelican, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Darter and the rare Black Necked Stork.
Yala National Park lies 300km from Colombo, in Southern Province and Uva Province, forming a total area of 1268 Sqkm. Yala National Park was designated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1900 and designated as a national park in 1938. Yala National Park is most famous for its highest Panthera pardus concentration in the world, a majestic leopard endemic to Sri Lanka, also home to 44 varieties of mammal and 215 bird species.
The Yala National Park is sectioned in to five and only two sections are open to visitors due to the concerns expressed about the threat to wildlife from the increasing number of tourists.
The best time to visit Yala National Park is between February and July when the water levels of the park are quite low, bringing animals into the open.
You can find regular buses from most major towns which will take you to up to Panigama and tuk tuks are available from there to Tissamaharama.