Dating back to the 1st century BC, the Abhayagiri Dagoba stood at a height of over 300ft and was considered to be one of the greatest structures of the ancient world.
Part of the Abhayagiri Monastic Complex, which was an important Buddhist monastic centre, the Abhayagiri Dagoba is a brick structure that is believed to have been established by King Valagamba during his second reign. It played an important role during the period of the Anuradhapura Kingdom and benefited from the patronage of many kings.
What to See Today
The Abhayagiri Dagoba has been renovated over the years, with the most recent restoration taking place in the 2000s. Apart from its historic significance as a remainder of the ancient world, it has a number of intriguing bas-reliefs, one of which is an elephant pulling up a tree. The eastern and western steps of the dagoba have unusual moonstones (moon shaped, semicircular, concrete stones with elaborate carvings). The original octagonal spire and shaft that topped the dagoba, before the current square top was placed, can be sighted as you walk around the structure.
A visit to the Abhayagiri Museum, located south of the dagoba, is definitely worth your while. It contains an interesting collection of jewellery, pottery, squatting plates and religious sculptures discovered on the site.
❂ Useful Tips:
- The service of a local guide will be helpful when visiting the museum.
- Remember to adhere to dress codes when visiting the Abhayagiri Dagoba.