History of Girihadu Seya :
Girihadu seya is considered as the first Dageba in Sri Lanka, done by Thapassue Balluka Merchants. This is located in Thiriyaya close to Trincomalee Pulmoddi road.
Load Buddha spent 7 weeks ( sath Sathiya) after his enlightenment ( This is around 528 BC) and End of that period, the 50th day two brother merchants call "Thapassu Ballula" offered the first dana ( alms giving). After the Dana, they requested some thing to warship and received "Sacred Kesha Datu"(lock of hair relic) . Those merchants used to travel different parts in the region and came to Sri Lanka also. One day they stayed in this area and kept this relic container on top of a rock and went to the suburb area for the business. On their arrival they found that the container cannot be moved and decided to build a pagoda enshrining the hair relic. Now this is call Girihadu Seya.
This is considered as the first Dageba in Sri lanka, may be in the world.
This place was abandoned for several centuries and restoration of this Pagoda was done 1950's.
The area was under LTTLE control in recent past and they have demolish almost all the new buildings done in last 50 years. Same time the temple monks were chased out. But the main Seya ( Pagoda) was escaped without any harm. They have demolished the main Shrine room and the Awasa geya, where bikkus live.
Currently most of the historical temples in the eastern province under threat of the treasure hunters. Some treasure hunting attempts in Girihadu Seya area also reported.
More interesting information about Girihadu Seya is available with. http://www.amazinglanka.com
Traveler's Experience about Girihadu Seya
We started our journey from Trincomalee town around 11 pm. Road to Thiriyaya is in very good condition,
but there are no much vehicles at that time. We passed Nilaveli beach and the travel more towards North.
Life seems so difficult in this part of the island. Its too hot and dusty. People are preparing their land for cultivation, seems it's for red onions, Chile and brinjals. There are papaya gardens also available. According to some old maps, there were some ferry services ,those are replaced by new bridges. We saw large number of buildings, which are partly or fully destroyed by the war or may be even TSunami. Several new Tsunami housing schemes also visible from the main road. It seems things are turning normal after the war, but not sure how long it will take.
From the main road we need to take a turn left and go another 2-3 km passing some bere lands. Then we took a turn to a gravel road towards right. That road is not in a good condition, but its only 1.5 km to go. Good thing is sign board with the directions are setup by the major turning point, so you will not missed the route.
This area under SL Navy protection and you will have to park the vehicles in front and walk passing the barriers. First Important point is the Boo Tree and then you get temple where the Buddha statue is located. It's a gold place statute donated by Thailand You can buy some books and picture about the place from there. There is a separate building dedicated for the people who want to come and have their lunch. Sanitary facilities also there. Those are maintain in good condition and you will get drinking water also.
The main dageba, i.e. Girihadu seya is located on top of a mountain, there are around 300 steps for that. At the footage, you can see a small pond where you can sit and relax. Steps are wide and in good condition. You can relax on the way, there are enough places with shade. Don't forget to bring enough drinking water and wear a hat also.
Girihadu Seya is at the top and it's on a stage like structure. It says there was a "Watada geya" here, still you can see the columns belonging to that. You can get a stunning view of the whole surrounding. Dageba was build with bricks and in a different shape with compared to what we see in normal temples. There is another pagoda type structure available just one level below the top. This is the highest point in the area, so you can get a stunning view.
Its recommended to go toe Girihadu Seya early in the morning or evening, because its too hot at the day time. There is not much shade at the top level.