Make a Visit to the first Dagoba in Sri Lanka

Make a Visit to the first Dagoba in Sri Lanka

Dagoba is a unique architecture that found only in the Buddhist temples around the world.  Sri Lanka being a Buddhist country is home to hundreds of thousands of dagobas. Travellers encounter these dagobas every day, as they make sightseeing tours. A tour itinerary without Couple of Dagoba is very rare to get on the island. As such Dagoba has become a leading tourist attraction in Sri Lanka. In archaeological sites such as Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, dagobas are the most impressive historical constructions and they are included in most Sri Lanka road trips. In this post, I’m talking about one of the most ancient Dagobas in the country.

Thuparama

Thuparama is a dagoba found in the historical city of Anuradhapura. Thuparama was built in the 3rd century BC by King Devanampiyatissa. King Devanampiyatissa was the first Buddhist king of the island. The teaching of Buddha was introduced to the island from India in the 3rd century BC, since then, Buddhism is the main religion in Sri Lanka. According to the information the site of the Dagoba was selected by unseen forces. It is said that, when the collarbone relic was transporting over the site, the elephant, which was carrying the relic stopped and could not be moved. Then the king had decided to build the Dagoba at the same spot where elephant stopped.  Once the relic removed from the animal, it had started to move.

Thuparama is the oldest such construction in the historical city of Anuradhapura. The Dagoba is about 65 feet in height and 60 feet diameters at the base, which is smaller than most leading tourist attractions such as Jetawanarama or Ruwanweliseya. Thuparama is located in the historical city next to Ruwanweliseya. The travellers need to go about 200 meters in the north-ward direction from Ruwanweliseya to reach Thuparama. Next to Thuparama dagoba is another tourist attraction of Anuradhapura, known as Basawakkulama or Abhaya wewa, which is one of the oldest man-made reservoirs in the country.

The name “Thuparama” is originated from Pali language and it can be divided into two words, “Thupa” and “Arama”.  Arama denotes the garden or park according to Pali and Thupa means stupa. Like most historical temple such as Jetawanarama, Veluwanarama, Thuparama was also located in a garden. Historians believe due to this fact it was named as Thuparama. Dagoba had been a part of a large monastery complex and it was called Thuparama. However, the rest of the monastery is slowly diminished during the last several hundred years. As nothing much of the monastery to be found, people started to apply the name “Thuparama” to the dagoba. The stupa was built after the shape of paddy heap and right collar-bone of Buddha is deposited in the dagoba.

The Dagoba reside on a circular elevated platform. There had been four concentric granite stone pillars all around dagoba, supporting a roof. This type of architecture (circular building protecting a dagoba) is known as Cetiyagara. Today cetiyagara is not to be found anymore and what is let from cetiyagara are several stone pillars with beautiful, intricate stone carvings. There had been 48 stone pillars in the outer-most row of the four concentric stone pillars. The pillars were decorated with beautiful stone carving. Some of the stone carvings depicting figures of animal, human and floral designs can be seen even today.

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Sanjeewa Padmal (Seerendipity tours)

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