Mahiyanganaya is a town situated close to the Mahaweli River in Badulla District, Uva Province of Sri Lanka. It is said that Gautama Buddha visited Mahiyanganaya on the full moon Poya day of January in order to settle a dispute arose between Yakkas and Nagas (two tribes then inhabited this area) and this was his first ever visit to Sri Lanka. Then the Buddha preached Dhamma to Sumana Saman, a leader in this area, to whom the Buddha gave a handful of his hair relic so that people could worship. After that Sumana Saman (now the god Sumana Saman) built a golden chethiya in which the sacred hair relic was deposited. Later on about seven chethiyas were built over the original golden chethiya from time to time, the last one being built by the King Dutugemunu. As such, this historic town is a very sacred place for Buddhists.
The majority of the people in this area are engaged in paddy cultivation being the main economic activity.