About 12km west of Pottuvil lies this evocative 5th-century ruin, set in a peaceful forested spot. Probably built by King Dhatusena (r 459–77), the site was most likely part of a royal compound. At the foot of a former shrine is a beautiful and well-preserved moonstone; ringed with elephants, it’s unusual for having little riders atop some of them. The site is 800m south of the A4 on a road just west of the 307km post.
There's also an elevated stupa, in good condition and guarded by stone lions, a vatadage (circular relic house) on a cross-shaped platform that – in a stroke of ancient trompe l’oeil – is ‘supported’ by the stone pillars and crouched lions around its base, and a crudely patched up headless Buddha. Note the streamlined elephant-trunk railings along the site’s staircases. Some sources contend that parts of the temple date to the 2nd century BC.
A little further east, between the 308km and 309km posts is Kotawehera, the ruined remains of an ancient brick stupa, which enjoys a magnificent situation upon a hilltop. On a clear day, there are spectacular vistas over forests to the wetlands around Pottuvil Lagoon.