Maha Saman Devale

The Hill Country

This Buddhist temple, 4km northwest of the city, is an architectural treasure well worth visiting. Perched on a small hill, it has a handsome series of broad courtyards and multiroofed, whitewashed pavilions in the Kandyan style. Originally built in the 13th century, the temple was destroyed by the Portuguese and then rebuilt during Dutch times. The main sanctuary is dedicated to Saman, while side shrines honour the Buddha and Pattini. A three-wheeler from Ratnapura is about Rs 250.

The major festival is a perahera on Esala poya (July/August).

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby The Hill Country attractions

1. National Museum

1.41 MILES

The town’s somewhat neglected National Museum displays the fossilised remains of various animals (including rhinos and elephants) discovered in gem pits…

2. Gnanasiha Tapowana Vihara

1.86 MILES

There’s a full-size replica of the Aukana Buddha at this vihara on top of a hill overlooking town; you can walk to it through Pompakele Forest Park.

3. Katugas Falls

2.35 MILES

The 6m-high Katugas Falls, 3km north of town, are quite scenic, but crowded on Sundays and public holidays.

4. Gemmological Museum


Established by a local gemmologist, this impressive private collection of precious stones (plus quartz, fossils and artefacts) is a good place to learn…

5. Classic Car Museum

20.96 MILES

It's more of a hotel garage than a museum, but this fine collection of classic cars is well worth a peek. Just buy a drink at the hotel and someone will…

6. Sinharaja Forest Reserve

21.12 MILES

The Sinharaja (Lion King) rainforests occupy a broad ridge at the heart of the island’s wet zone. The only way to get about the reserve is by foot, and…

7. Kolawenigama Temple

28.32 MILES

The Kolawenigama Temple, 6km southwest of Deniyaya, is of modest proportions, but has a unique structure that resembles Kandy’s Temple of the Sacred Tooth…

8. Brief Garden

28.45 MILES

You'll find the Brief Garden 10 kilometres inland from Bentota. A barely controlled riot of a garden out of The Jungle Book, the grounds are a lovely…