History

Kirinda, is situated South of Sri Lanka close to Yala National Park. This is a popular beach venue for thousands of devotees who go on pilgrimage to Katharagama – The place of worship, South of Sri Lanka where all Sri Lankans visit so religiously regardless of their religion or creed.

There is a small temple in this place on top of a medium size rock outcrop facing the sea. As per the historical chronicles, a princess was sacrificed to the sea to prevent a catastrophic sea wave (Tsunami?) that destroyed the land in the Western coast of Sri Lanka more than 2000 years ago. To some extra ordinary reasons the sea wave was immediately suppressed and this princess survived and landed back at a remote beach South of Sri Lanka. People believe Kirinda is that historical place, where this princess landed safely. Subsequently this brave princess became famous as Queen Vihara Maha Devi.

This beach is one of the most attractive beaches in the Southern coastal belt.

Kirinda Raja Maha Viharaya

With the atmosphere of its magnificent setting aside the sea, Kirinda is the appropriate setting of one of those popular legends that constitute early Sri Lankan history. Legend recounts that Kirinda was the place where Princess Viharamaha Devi drifted ashore after being sacrificed to the sea to atone for her father’s, King Kelanitissa, sacrilegious act of killing a monk by putting him in a cauldron of boiling oil. After receiving the Princess, King Kavantissa, who was the ruler of Ruhuna at that time, married the young princess and the couple eventually had 2 sons. Dutugemunu, the eldest son of Viharamahadevi became one of the legends in Sri Lankan history.

It is the popularity of this romantic legend which makes Kirinda a focal point for pilgrims. They come specifically to the rocky outcrop with its group of boulders piled up in bizarre fashion – to see a modern statue of Viharamahadevi and make offerings at the dagoba.

We consider the Kirinda Temple on the South East coast with its magnificent views to be one of the most beautiful ancient viharas of Undiscovered Sri Lanka

Great Basses Reef Lighthouse is an offshore lighthouse in the south of Sri Lanka, and it is operated and maintained by the Sri Lanka Navy. It is located on a reef 13 km off the coast of Yala National Park, near Little Basses Reef Lighthouse. It is accessible only by boat. The two Basses lighthouses, 'Great' and 'Little', are among the most famous offshore lighthouses of Asia.
The lighthouse was designed by Alexander Gordon and Sir James Nicholas Douglass in 1867. Each block weighs 2 to 3 tons. It withstood the force of the tsunami with only modest damage, it was repaired with assistance from the UK lighthouse authorities Trinity House and The Northern Lighthouse Board.
The reef is the site of the Great Basses wreck, an early 18th-century wreck of an Indian ship, carrying a treasure of silver rupees, that was discovered by Arthur C. Clarke and Mike Wilson in 1961.