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In Tissamaharama (usually shortened to Tissa), eyes are automatically drawn upwards and outwards. Upwards to the tip of its huge, snowy-white dagoba and outwards, beyond the town’s confines, to a wilderness crawling with creatures large and small, Yala National Park. With its pretty lakeside location, Tissa is a mellow and ideal base for the nearby Yala and Bundala National Parks.
It used to be the capital of the Sinhalese Kingdom of Ruhuna as early as the 3rd century B.C. Only few buildings from that period can still be seen today.
The large artificial Tissa Wewa lake, which was a part of a sophisticated irrigation system, also dates from that time.There are five main lakes in the vicinity of Tissamaharama: Tissa Wewa; Yoda Wewa; Weerawila Wewa; Pannegamuwa Wewa; and Debarawewa Wewa.
Today, the town mainly serves as a starting point for visits to Yala National Park and Kataragama.
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