According to the Mahavamsa, the Thuparamaya was the first stupa built in the ancient city of Anuradhapura, during the reign of King Devanampiyatissa. According to legend, it enshrines Lord Buddha’s right collarbone, which makes it an important site for Sri Lankan Buddhists.

The Thuparamaya Today

Thuparamaya is located within the Mahamewna Uyana, which itself is a highly sacred site for Buddhists. It was reconstructed in 1842, as it had become rather dilapidated over the years. The Thuparamaya measures 9 feet 6 inches at the base, and despite the only significant surviving remnant of the Thuparamaya being its stupa, it is also believed to have contained a residential complex. Based on the ruins of the structure, the complex would have covered an area of three acres surrounding the stupa. Though the temple’s vatadage (circular relic house) is mostly in ruins, the pillars still stand like sentinels around the stupa, exuding an atmosphere that is both mysterious yet comforting.

❂ Useful Tips:

  • The original structure was the oldest stupa in Sri Lanka. It has now been reconstructed.
  • Dress modestly when you visit the religious site. It would be wise to carry a shawl or sarong so that you can cover your shoulders and legs.
  • It is best to visit the site early in the morning, in order to avoid large crowds.