Maha Saman Devalaya is located on the Ratnapura-Panadura main road, 3 km away from Ratnapura on the left side of the main road, on a plateau along the Kalu river. Today, the Maha Saman Devalaya is one of the most important historical sites in the Sabaragamuwa Province.
Legend has it that a Minister of Justice named Aryakamadeva had come to Ratnapura to dig for gems. He has also been a trustee for this work. That is, if his research on gem mining is successful, a shrine will be built to house a statue of the god Saman. History has it that Aryakamadeva's quest was successful and he was the first to make the Maha Saman Devalaya in Ratnapura.
Hindu beliefs have greatly influenced this devalaya. After the death of King Seethawaka Rajasinghe, the Portuguese who came to this country through the Galle Fort in 1505 destroyed the temples in that area. Meanwhile, between 1618-1620, the Portuguese built the Ratnapura Fort and the church around the Maha Saman Devalaya. However, later King Keerthi Sri Rajasinghe (1747-1781), the ruler of the Kandyan Kingdom, took over Ratnapura.
King Keerthi Sri Rajasinghe who destroyed the Ratnapura Fort and the church built around the Maha Saman Devalaya in Ratnapura at that time has built a Buddhist temple on that land. It is believed that the Buddhist temple found in the grounds of the Maha Saman Devalaya in Ratnapura today was built by King Keerthi Sri Rajasinghe.