The Jetavanaramaya stupa, built by King Mahasen who ascended the throne in 265 AD, is one of the tallest remaining constructions of the ancient world. At present, it is also one of the largest brick buildings in existence. The reliquary structure can be found amongst the ancient ruins of the Sacred City of Anuradhapura.

Features of Jetavanaramaya

Although its current height is approximately 232ft, the Jetavanaramaya is believed to have originally stood at a towering 400ft. The massive dome covers a base area of 2,508,000 sq.ft. The bricks used to construct the stupa were made of a mixture of clay and sand, making it highly durable, which may be a key contributing factor to its survival. According to James Emerson Tennent, the materials used to construct the stupa would be sufficient to build a one-foot thick wall which was 10 ft in height from London to Edinburgh.

Though the original plaster coating is no longer pristine and intact, it consisted of an odd combination of seashells, termite saliva, and egg white, among other things. The stupa’s architectural design is a mix of influences from a variety of regions across the Asian continent as well as the Meditterranean.

❂ Useful Tips

  • You will need to adhere to a dress code to visit all religious sites in Sri Lanka. The dress code requires you to cover your shoulders and legs.
  • Be mindful regarding how you conduct yourself at the site. It is a sacred place of worship and reverence.
  • There will be devotees performing rituals and worshipping at the premises, do not hinder them as you walk around and take photographs.

Learn more about the history of Anuradhapura