A couple of kilometers beyond the Trinco Hot Springs along the A12 is the turnoff for the historic Velgam Viharaya (Nathanar Kovil). The Temple, built by King Devanampiyatissa circa 240 BC, features an extensive complex with many ruins.
King Bathiya I, Agkbo II, Vijayabahu I and Parakramabahu I are credited with making repairs and renovations. This temple was venerated by both Hindus and Buddhists, thus sparing it from south Indian Chola invasions of the 10th Century.
The Cholas renovated the temple, adding their own structures and renamed it Rajarajaperumpalli, after King Rajaraja I. Tamil inscriptions found in the temple are thought to be said to be the only such in Sri recording donations made during the reigns of King Rajaraja and Rajendradeva.
With the decline of the Anuradapura and Polonnaruwa kingdoms, the temple lay abandoned and was discovered by the Sri Lanka Archaeological Department in 1929 and declared as an Archaeological Protected Reserve in 1934.
An inscription written during the reign of King Bhatika Tissa mentions revenue from certain fields to the Abagara Vihara by the king’s commander, Abaya.
Visitors can spend a few moments exploring the breezy ruins and imagine what a large complex it may have been originally. By climbing the rock behind the temple visitors will enjoy stunning views of Nilaveli Beach, the Periyakulam Tank and the surrounding area.