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GIRIHANDUSEYA - KUCHCHAVELI, TRINCOMALEE

GIRIHANDUSEYA - KUCHCHAVELI, TRINCOMALEE

Situated about 46 kilometers north of Trincomalee.

Girihandu Seya is reputed to be the first Buddhist temple built in Sri Lanka during the Lord Buddha's period and an important shrine where Buddhists worship in Sri Lanka. The recorded history of Girihadu Seya goes back to the 3rd century BC. 

An information inscription located on the site describes: “2661 years ago, two brothers, international traders named Tapassu and Bhalluka who offered some victuals to the Buddha, in the 8th week after his enlightenment. They are considered th

e first lay disciples of Lord Buddha who sought the refuge of the Master and the Dhamma. And on request the gifted them with a handful of sacred hair relic of the Lord Buddha, protected and brought it here and laid it in this Sthupa. This Sthupa which is called the Girihandu Seya was constructed and completed within 75 days of the enlightenment of the Lord Buddha. The ancient Kings, Girikandisiva and the 6th Agbo constructed the Vetadageya (circular shrine house) and the stone steps leading to this Vetadageya which is built on a little rock hill. This was the 1st Sthupa built in the world and the first Buddhist temple constructed in Sri Lanka. The Lord Buddha had stepped into this sacred place”.

As such this shrine would have been built during the lifetime of Lord Buddha. The present structure or the ruins of the vatadage (circular relic house)consisting of a small stupa encircled by two concentric circles of stone pillars and a retaining wall of stone slabs, however is believed to have evolved with time.

The four entrances at the cardinal points are provided with moon stones, makara balustrades and

naga guardstones . The moonstones are plain except for a lotus petal carving at the circumference. The guardstones are the most striking artistic feature. The Naga kings are depicted as having an air of austerity, not overloaded with jewellery and are benign in expression. According to scholars these qualities along with their elongated limbs suggest the Pallava style of art belonging to a phase earlier than Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa.

Another unusual feature here is the evidence of a wooden upright of a railing which may have covered the space between the top of the stone wall and the roof.

Around the vatadage are seen the remains of image houses of which the largest housed a large recumbent Buddha image.

On the terraces lower down the hill are ruins of monastic structures, ponds and 300 flights of steps leading to different levels. A stone bridge indicates that an ancient highway passed this site. Some rock caves bear early Brahmi inscriptions indicating the existence of a monastery even during pre-Christian times. The earliest datable inscription at the site is the pre-Christian Brahmi inscription recording the dedication of a cave to the Buddhist monks.

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    "We had a great time on last 10 days in on our honeymoon in beautiful Sri Lanka. Thank you very much for the stories, the explanations, driving, tips, care and always with a smile. Big thanks for you Cyril. We had an amazing honeymoon in this beautiful island! and you are the best guide and friend that we could have here!!! We will sure tell our friends and family about the trip and you!!! We will stay in touch and may be one day meet you again. Oded & Carol Israel 10 Oct 2014" Naim & Coral Fisher from Israel

    "We would like to say thank you very much Mr. Cyril for the excellent 7 night tour of Sri Lanka you provided us. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Sri Lanka and the itinerary you arranged. The four hotels (Earls Regency, Amaya Lake, Heritance Kandalama and the Colombo Hilton) were excellent and thoroughly deserved their 5 stars. Your driving skills was excellent. Also very friendly, calm, helpful, and courteous and always prompts. Sri Lanka is a lovely country and the people were very friendly. ..." Suresh and Prashanth

    "                  Our Tour in Sri Lanka Traveling through the beautiful Sri Lanka has been great. Cyril warmly welcomed us at the airport and drove us with his always clean car in every part of the country. He provided daily information about the history and the different sites of Sri Lanka. Also, he taught us a lot about Sri Lankan culture, starting from food, traditions, animals and nature, and suggested authentic and less known places we c..." FILIPPO MASI FROM ITALY

    "Hello my dear friend Mr. Cyril We are all fine dear, I have visited Sri Lanka and I loved the country, Insha’Allah I will visit again your country, it is amazing place. This is the first  day at work , really I enjoy the tour to sri lanka with my  family  and it was very nice and  I wish  to go again to sri lanka and of course you were very good and polite and respectable guy  -thanks  a lot  for every thing and  I wish you ..." Nasser Mohamed from Oman

    "  Dear Cyril, We are fortunate to have you as a friend here in Sri Lanka. You are extremly  Knowledgeable and more than ever - having an attitude of helpful nature and the willingness to solve issues on hand whilst on our tour around Sri Lanka. As I have said to you we will reccommend you to all our friends who wish to tour in Sri Lanka. My family Karen, Kalvin and Andre also liked your company and wish you and your family well. God bless you all and we will keep in touch, for sur..." Alwyn Santhumayor & family

    "Dear Cyril, Thank you for truly amazing oneweek tour your beautiful country.We have seen so many amazing sites in such a short space of time. From Sigiriya to beautiful temples, Scenic tea gardens of Nuwaraeliya the colonial land ark hotel Mount Lavinia. We have seen so much more. You have made this an utterly memorable holiday with your expert knowledge, amazing, facinating stories, patience, careful+safe drivingand your unforgetable smile. We will cetainly recommonding your tours to all of fr..." Sara Kitson - UK

    "We came for a wedding and then embarked on an amazing holiday. Cyril show us magnificent sights and scenery of Sri Lanka. To do the country just we need to return with more time. Many of the sites we visited just made us want to know more about them, even though Cyril was a fountain of knowledge. We have thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Cyril and his excellent company, and it was so nice to go home a guardian angel looking after us. He is consistently courteous & good humored and now fe..." Andy Powell UK

    "Thank you Cyril for making our Christmas holiday fun so smoothly and easy. We loved Sri Lanka and look forward to retuning again. Cyril, your knowledge and service was outstanding and it was so refreshing to have such a very highlevel of service. We will be sure to recomond your service and travel agency to our friends. Please feel free to use us as a reference, you can use my email or phone number to clients." Bruce Larson & family from USA

    "Thank you so much Cyril for guiding us around your beautiful country. We thoroughly enjoyed our time which was made particularly special by your professionalism, enthusiasm and friendliness. We wish you all the best in the future. Warm regards from,  Aonghus O'Keefee and Sheela Hendricks- Ireland " Aonghus and Sheela Hendricks- Ireland

    "11th April 2014 01 week tour around Sri Lanka A fantastic week was had by all with Cyril, exploring Kandy, Nuwaraeliya and Bentota. Your meaningful insights & excellent explanations of the Sri Lanka’s culture, nature and traditions were invaluable. Your smile and charm helped is feel related and comfortable. Not getting stressed once. With your guidance & tips, the holiday flew by with only one problem: it was very short! Your comprehensive list of talents ranges from findin..." Ian Price and family from UK

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