A mountain peak in Ceylon. It was the residence of the Deva Mahāsumana (Mhv.i.33) and when the Buddha visited the Island for the third time, he left on the mountain the mark of his footprint (Mhv.i.77; cf. Nammadā, and Saccabaddha). Owing to this, the mountain became a sacred place of pilgrimage. In later times many kings of Ceylon paid the shrine great honour. Vijayabāhu I. gifted the village of Gilīmalaya for the feeding of pilgrims, and set up rest-houses for them on the different routes, for the maintenance of which he provided. (Cv.ix.64f)
Kittinissanka made a special pilgrimage to Sumanakūta and mentioned it in his inscriptions (Cv.lxxx.24; Cv.Trs.ii.128, n.4). Parakkamabāhu II. did likewise, and also gave ten gāvutas of rich land for the shrine on the top of the peak (Cv.lxxxv.118). He further gave orders to his pious minister, Devappatirāja, to make the roads leading to the mountain easy of access. The minister repaired the roads, and built bridges at Bodhitala over the Khajjotanadī, at Ullapanaggāma, and at Ambaggāma. He constructed rest houses at suitable spots, and placed stepping stones on the way to the summit. Then the king himself visited the peak and held a great festival there lasting for three days (Cv.lxxxvi.9, 18 ff). Vijayabāhu IV., too, made a pilgrimage to the sacred mountain (Cv.lxxxviii.48).
King Vīravikkama also went there and lit a lamp, fifteen cubits in girth and five cubits high (Cv.xcii.17). Rājasūha I., in his desire to take revenge on the Buddhist monks, handed the shrine over to Hindu priests (Cv.xciii.12), but Vimaladhammasūriya II. restored to it all honours and held a great festival, lasting for seven days, at the peak (Cv.xcvii.16f). His son, Narindasīha, made two pilgrimages there (Cv.xcvii.31), while Vijayarājasīha had a feast of lamps celebrated there (Cv.xcviii.84). Kittisirirājasīha had a mandapa built round the footprint surmounted by a parasol, and assigned the revenues from the village of Kuttāpiti to the monks who looked after the shrine (Cv.c.221).
The districts round Samantakūta were, in early times, the habitation of the Pulindas. It was believed (Mhv.vii.67) that, when Vijaya forsook Kuvenī, her children fled thither and that their descendants were the Pulindas. In later times, too, mention is made (E.g., Cv.lxi.70) of the fact that the people dwelling in the neighbourhood of Samantakūtta refused to pay taxes to the king. From very early times the mountain was the dwelling of numerous monks. Thus, in the time of Dutthagāmanī, there were nine hundred monks there, under Malayamahādeva Thera (Mhv.xxxii.49). The Damila Dīghajantu offered a red robe to the ākāsacetiya in Samantagiri vihāra, and, as a result, won heaven, because he remembered the gift at the moment of his death (AA.i.376; MA.ii.955). The rivers Mahāvāluka and Kalyāni rise in Sumanakūta.