© 2023 Dr Margaret Sheppard

Deities Hierarchy Ceremonies Sakra Guardians Twelve Deities


Saman is an important Deity and is the Guardian of Sri Pada mountain or Sumanakuta (Adam's Peak), which the Buddhists treat as sacred on account of its bearing the impression of the Buddha's left foot, which he left on his third visit to Sri Lanka . Saman is recorded as having met the Buddha during his first visit to the island when Buddha visited Mahiyangana to drive away the demons. After  listening to Buddha’s teachings, Buddha gave Saman a handful of hairs. These holy relics Saman incorporated into the dagaba that he erected at Mahiyangana Temple.

He is regarded as the chief Deity of the area surrounding the sacred mountain, Sri Pada as well as of the Hill-Country. His main Temple is at Sapragama near Ratnapura, where a Perahera is held annually in his honour.

Unlike Kataragama, Saman is believed to be a very peaceable and calm Deity so this may be the reason why there are fewer legends associated with him.

He is also the Guardian Deity for the other three sacred sites of Buddha’s footprint - Makkama, i.e. Mekka;  Sankisa, about 160 miles north-west of Benares at the foot of the Himalayas, called Sajjabadiya-parvataya by the Singhalese; Achiravata on the Narmadaganga. In addition he is the Guardian of the other holy sites associated with Buddha  in India and Nepal to which Buddhists make pilgrimages.

Saman Shrine on Sri Pada

Saman depicted in Temple in the Hill Country