Thiriyaya Girihandu Seya, Trincomalee

The 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 Thappassu and Bhalluka gained the 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”.

Girihandu Seya is located on top of a small mountain and you need to climb around 300 steps to reach it. Girihandu Seya is a stage like structure and you can get a stunning view of the whole surroundings from the top. On your way there is a beautiful pond and enough shady places where you can sit and relax. Don't forget to bring enough drinking water and wear suitable shoes to climb the rock. 

Girihadu Seya is situated on a land covering 1500 acres and the site is mostly covered by forests. It is an archaeological reservation and protected under the Antiquities Ordinance and Antiquities (Amendment) Act of 1998. 

Read more


Latitude: 8.870321 Longitude: 81.007224 Elevation: 165 ft
the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Simon Jones

Hours Open

From morning till evening

Seasons Open

Round the year

Time Period Represented

3rd Century BC

Visitor Fees

There is no visitors fee

Accessibility Notes

Girihadu Seya is located along the Trincomalee - Pulmoddi road at Thiriyaya in Kuchchaveli Division, some 50 km away from Trincomalee town.

From the Trincomalee - Pulmoddi main road take a turn on your left at the junction in Thiriyaya and drive another 2-3 km passing some bare lands and take another turn to a gravel road towards right. There are sign boards with the directions so that you won’t be missed. Interior roads are in manageable condition.

Pet Friendly Notes

Pets are not allowed

Leave a Comment