The Kanniya Hot Wells comprise seven warm natural springs enclosed in seven square-shaped wells. The spring water is thought to have the rapeuctic properties; those with skin problems or aliments such as arthritis and rheumatism come here looking for relief. Since the wells are too small to bathe in, locals and pilgrims use buckets to pour water over themselves – tourists are encouraged to join in, too. The temperature of water varies in each of the wells.
There are two legends associated with the wells. One of these claims that Lord Vishnu created the wells when he appeared o Ruwana, the king of Lankapura, on this spot. It is believed that when Lord Vishnu stuck the ground with his sword, water poured forth. The other maintains that king Ruwana created the wells so he could conduct the funeral rites for his mother.
A trip to the Kanniyai Hot Wells can be combined with to the visit to the atmospheric remains of Velgam Vihara, which lie 6 km north of here. Known to Hindus as Natanar Kovil, this Buddhist monastery is thought to have been built by King Devanambiya Tissa in the 2nd century. It escaped destruction in the 10th century when the Cholas from south India invaded Sri Lanka. Instead of destroying it as they did many other Buddhist shrines and temples, the Cholas renovated the building and also used it as a place of worship. more
Nearby stands a small museum devoted to an LTTE bombing in 2000 that massacred around 26 civilians and Sinhalese soldiers. Filled with disturbing images of the bombing, this museums is not for the faint-hearted.