The Seenigama Devalaya | Sunday Observer

The Seenigama Devalaya

5 June, 2021

The Southern Province of Sri Lanka is an area with a number of tourist attractions that have attracted large numbers of local and foreign tourists. Among them, the historic Seenigama Devalaya is a place visited by thousands of locals and foreigners.

Seenigama is most famous for the Seenigama Devalaya located close to Hikkaduwa on the Galle- Colombo main road and is named after God Devol. Although God Devol is worshipped by Sri Lankans, he is said to have come here from India.

There are several legends associated with the God Devol, according to the main folklore, a king named “Ramasinghe” who lived in the land called Kuduppara in Dambadiva in the past had seven hundred queens and seven of them were chief queens.


These queens became pregnant at the same time and gave birth to seven sons within a week. The most powerful son of the seven was called “Maha Sami”. As the children got older, they became good at archery and relentlessly went hunting.

When the people informed the king about this, the princes became angry and killed the countrymen too. Then the king was so upset that he sent his sons aboard a ship to save the kingdom.

According to a folklore, the ship crashes in the middle of the sea and fortunately the princes survives. Then a god is believed to have guided them and they have come close to the seas of Southern and Northern Provinces of the country (Sri Lanka).

According to legend, they had tried to land in Jaffna, Point Dondra, Koggala, Gintota and Udugalpitiya, but were blocked by the local deities. In Seenigama, the goddess Pattini created seven volcanoes and tried to frighten them, but they put out the fire and landed in Seenigama.

It is said that after landing at Seenigama, a chief in the area was cured of a disease by this group following which a temple was built for them. It is also said that this God Devol (Prince Maha Sami) was also a skilled doctor who was also good at astrology.

There are two Devalayas dedicated to the Seenigama Devalaya and one is near the Galle- Matara main road and the other is in the middle of the sea beyond, which is also known as Diyamba Devalaya. People worship this deity because of its ability to cure incurable diseases and to punish enemies.


Due to this, rituals such as those cannot be found or seen in other temples and devalayas in the country can be seen in Seenigama.

The main one is grinding chillies. It is not an ordinary chilli grind and there is a special method for it. Chilli grinding is performed to punish the enemies where the chilli stone should not be grinded towards the person who does it. In addition to grinding chilies, coconut is also used for certain rituals.

The well where the God Devol or Maha Sami obtained water to cure diseases at that time can still be seen in the grounds of this Devalaya and it is said that it does not dry even during severe droughts. Also, although it is located in the middle of the sea, the water in this well is not salty.


According to folklores, Seenigama Devalaya had been built as a seven storied palace by King Wasabha and it is believed to have been destroyed by the western nations that consolidated their power in the country. It was rebuilt in 1964 as it is today.

Although the 2004 tsunami disaster hit Seenigama, people consider it a miracle that the Devalaya was not largely damaged. The Cinnamon Festival is a special festival associated with the Devalaya in the aftermath of the tsunami disaster. It is held in December every year. The annual Perahera of the Devalaya is held in August every year as its main festival of it.