Thuparamaya: The Oldest Stupa of Sri Lanka
Have you ever wondered which the oldest Stupa in Sri Lanka is?
Constructed in the reign of king Devamnampiyatissa, Thuparamaya is the first Stupa to be erected in 250BC-210BC in the watch of Mahinda who was an envoy sent to Sri Lanka by the Indian King Ashoka. It was Mahinda and Sangamiththa, son and daughter of King Ashoka, who brought Buddhism to Sri Lanka. Mahinda brought Buddha's collar bone to be enshrined in the stupa, which is still here. It is noticeable that it was not only a Stupa but an Aramic Complex too. However, the Aramic Complex that covered nearly 3½ acres around the Stupa is in ruins now. One of the starkest attractions of the Stupa is Stupa-house, known as Vedagate. The two circles of pillars around the Stupa supported the ceiling, which was another dome as is indicated by the diminishing height of the pillars circles, of the walkway around. It is a relic of beautifully done wookwork.
A history of gold and bricks
The Vedatgate had an exterior made of gold and silver until the Pandyans plundered it off by the seventh century. Two and a half centuries later when Mahinda IV again got the Vedagate covered in gold and silver somewhere around 956-972AD, yet again it was looted by the Colas.
Then after a long period of 900 years, in 1862, it was renovated again in the modern times, which transformed the ancient features of the Stupa.
In the view of construction
This most ancient Stupa is situated in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. It is constructed in the shape of a bell. The dome stands 3.45 meters tall with a diameter of 18m at the base, paved with granite. The stupa was demolished and reconstructed for quite a few times in the past. The Stupa in Sri Lanka is known as the Dagoba.
Things To Do
Apart from the Thuparamaya Dogba, there are several beautiful places around that you must visit.
It is a very small Stupa situated just 130 meters east of Thuparamaya Stupa. It was named after the Indian King Ashoka's daughter who reached Sri Lnaka somewhere around 249 BC.
Walking 50 meters southwards of Thuparamaya Stupa there is other small Stupa knowns as Pedalanchana Chethiya which was built by king Lagnatissa. It is believed that Buddha stepped in the middle before rising in the air to return to India right after his third visit to Sri Lanka.
The ruins of ancient Hospital:
On the east south premises of the Stupa, there are the ruins of an ancient hospital where the patients were looked after and medicated during the Anuradhapura era. You will find the medical stones around the ruins which were used to heal the sick and ailing. It used to cure the ailments i.e. Snake Bites through the baths which were enriched with medical concoctions.
Royal palace of King Vijayabahu:
After battling with Colas of India, King Vijayabahu constructed this temporary palace in the celebrations. In the present time, the building measures 39*66m. There are two Guardstones that appear at the entrance of the palace, known as Sankhini and Padmanidhi.
How to reach Thuparamaya?
Thuparamaya is well connected to the entire continent. You can reach there by bus, by rail and by air.
By Air: The nearest airport to Thuparamaya is Colombo airport which is 183km away from it. You can either take a bus, a cab or a taxi from the airport directly to Thuparamaya.
By Rail: There are two train stations in Anuradhapura city. The main Anuradhapura station is nearby the old bus town and the other one is New Town Station which is situated in the southern part of the city. You can either take a taxi from there to the Stupa or take a walk and reach the Stupa while exploring the city.
By Bus: Same as the railway stations of the city, there are two bus stations. The Old Bus Station takes you to the southern part of the city, whereas the New Bus Station takes you to the north and east.
Where to sleep? (For later)
Where to eat?
If you want to tease your taste buds with some really tasty food then this is the place for you. The rice and curry of this place is a really lip-smacking combo.
The interior of this place is beautiful. One could come here for dinner after a long day. The service is good. Come here for the authentic Sri Lankan cuisine.
Seedevi Family Restaurant:
Claimed to be the cleanest restaurant by the travelers, Seedevi Restaurant is known for its terrific service. Although the options are very limited here when it comes to food, yet buffet of this place is renowned for its variety and taste.
In case you want to visit an international food chain, Pizza Hut is there for you.
Harvest Café and Restaurant:
With modern interiors, Harvest Café and Restaurant is known for its delicious pizzas, sandwiches and biryani for biryani lovers.
With a rich enthralling history and the beautiful monuments around the temple, Thuparamaya is a must visit place if you want to learn about and understand Buddhism. Make sure you visit this place the next time you are in Sri Lanka. It will be a serene experience.
PS: An advisor tip- Make sure you that you wore socks when you entered the premises, the floor gets really hot in summer days.
For a perfect day infused with Buddhist spiritualism, Thuparamaya stands in all its glory and majestic ambience. With places like Sangamiththa Stupa, Padalanchana Chethiya and Royal palace of King Vijayabahu around, this place makes for a stunning and beautiful symbol of Sri Lanka's rich past. The place is easily accessible from all the major transport facilities and the area around is equipped with all the modern amenities.