Thuparamaya Temple - The Oldest Stupa in Sri Lanka

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Thuparamaya TempleThuparamaya, a pride in Sri Lanka Tourism is the oldest Sri Lanka Stupa and is the revered honor in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. It is located in the north of Ruwanwelisaya. The construction of this ancient Stupa was done during the reign of King Devanampiya Tissa (247-207 BC). It is a divine place among Buddhist devout. The splendid Dagoba has been destroyed many times like it was completely destroyed during the rule of King Agbo 2 and King restored it beautifully. The Dagoba which is seen now is not the original construction, it is the construction done in 1862 AD. The stupa serves as a residence to the monks as the name literally means.


An ambassador named Mahinda Thera was sent to Anuradhapura by King Ashoka to introduce the Theravada Buddhism and he also introduced the Chaitya worship in Sri Lanka. As per his request, King Devanampiya Tissa constructed this Dagoba in which the right collar bone of Buddha was enshrined. Thuparamaya is believed to be the first introduction of Buddhism in Sri Lanka and the earliest monument in Sri Lanka.


This studded Dagoba was built in the shape of a heap of paddy but after several attacks and renovations, it is now found in the shape of a bell. It is believed that the Dagoba had been destroyed several times and what is seen presently is the one which got renovated in 1862 AD. At the base, it is 59 feet in diameter and is 11 feet 4 inches high from the ground and 164 and a half feet in diameter. The Dagoba is encircled by 2 rows of stone pillars and the compound is adorned with granite. A Vatadage was built around Thuparamaya during the early period of construction. One can spot a ruined hospital located near to the South East side of the Dagoba which medicated and looked after many patients. You can find a small stupa (Padalanchana Stupa) on the opposite side of the walkway of this stupa.

Major Attractions

There are many medicinal stone troughs which were used to cure sicknesses including snake bites, a paralyzed patient or a patient in a coma through an immersed bath enriched with the proper medicinal potions required. The most interesting thing was the shape of a vessel which was easily molded in order to economize on the expensive fluid. The ruins of the ancient temples inside the premise of the Stupa are the other attractions of this Dagoba.

How to Reach

Thuparamaya is easily accessible from Colombo via any of the routes. Puttalam and Kurunegala are the two major routes to Thuparamaya. While traveling through Puttalam you can enjoy the scenic beauty of Wilpattu Area. If you are going from Kurunegala then you can opt for any of the two main routes going towards Anuradhapura. Dambulla Route is the most commonly used route and the other route is through Galgamuwa.

Places to Visit

Anuradhapura is the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka which holds a great significance in introducing Buddhism. It has many top-notch tourist attractions where a tourist can explore many things like the engineering marvels, water management system.

  • Sri Maha Bodhi: One of the greatest attractions of Anuradhapura is this sacred fig tree under which Lord Buddha gained his enlightenment. This holy tree is believed to be the world’s oldest living tree which has been surviving since 23 centuries ago.
  • Kuttam Pokuna: This ancient hydrologic engineering marvel of Sri Lanka belong to the Abhayagiri Ceramic Complex. Underground pipelines supply water to this twin pond and the water passes through several chambers before falling on the northern pond.
  • Elephant Pond: This is a great wonder in Sri Lanka as the pond was developed more than a hundred years ago and it’s still supplying water properly. This gigantic man-made pond is 159 meters long, 52.7 meters broad, and 9.5 meters deep and has a capacity to hold 75,000 cubic meters of water.

Best Time to Go

Sri Lanka experiences monsoon twice a year so you need to do proper planning. It depends on the area where you want to visit like the southwestern area of Sri Lanka experiences dry weather between December and March, northern and eastern regions witness dry season between May to September. Thuparamaya lies in the northern region so the best time to plan your Anuradhapura excursion is between May to September.

Food and Accommodation

If you are in Thuparamaya then do not worry about the stay and food as this northern region of Sri Lanka is rich in holding numerous hotels ranging from a normal hotel to a deluxe hotel depending upon your pocket. The Sanctuary at Tissawewa, Nilketha Villa Eco Hotel, and Hotel Flamingo are some of the nearby hotels of Thuparamaya. The cuisines of Thuparamaya tease your taste buds badly and their mouth-watering smell compels the tourists to try them. Rangiri Restaurant, Seedevi Family Restaurant, Rasa Gedara are the top-ranked restaurants at Thuparamaya.

Travel Tips

  • Being a functioning temple you need to dress modestly here. You can find locals carrying the white dress.
  • If you are wearing a hat and shoes then you need to remove them before entering the temple.
  • The floor gets immensely heated up so it is advised to carry socks to save your feet from getting burnt.
  • However, you can visit the temple throughout the day but the environment looks more stunning in the morning and even it saves you from the scorching heat.

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