A drive towards the south east through Hambantota takes you to the rural town of Tissamaharama known in ancient times as Mahagama. The road to the Yala National Park and Kataragama passes through this town. There are several archaeological ruins and temples that mark Tissamaharama certainly worth a visit. The town is bounded by a vast and beautiful expanse of lush paddy fields. In the midst of these paddy fields stands the ancient and most impressive Tissa Dagoba (stupa) now restored to its former glory. It is believed that the Lord Buddha visited Tissamaharama on his third visit to Sri Lanka and that a sacred tooth relic and a forehead bone relic are enshrined in a Dagoba here. As such Tissamaharama is considered sacred to Buddhists.
The beautiful man-made reservoir Tissa Wewa built in the 2nd century BC is remarkable for its bird life. Nothing would be more pleasant than to trek slowly along the reservoir bund in the cool of the evening in the refreshing breeze. A track leads to the smaller adjacent man-made lake of Deberawewa, another haven for birdlife and full of water lilies blooming at its surface. This combination of a cluster of dagobas and two beautiful reservoirs in Tissamaharama creates a sharp contrast with other towns down the southern coast.