One of the most significant and sacred cities that belong to the ancient world, Anuradhapura was the first capital of Sri Lanka. Hosting UNESCO world heritage sites this city is the core of Buddhism and its people due to its grandeur history and the vast array of Buddhist monuments that dates back to more than 2000 years. The largest brick monuments of the world named, Jethavanaya and Abhayagiriya were situated there. Sri Mahabodhi the sacred Bodhi tree shrine of the Mahaviharaya which was planted in the 3rd Century B.C. .

King Devanampiyatissa (250-210 BC) having donated to the bhikkhus the Nandanavana and Mahameghavana located near the southern entrance built the first Sangharama (Monastery) within the Mahameghavana. This was first named ‘Tissarama.’ Later it came to be known by the names of ‘Mahameghavanarama’ and ‘Mahavihara.’ Since then Mahavihara was the headquarters of the community of Sri Lankan bhikkhus for centuries. It is by the bhikkhus of Mahavihara that the Triptaka and the Commentaries (atthakatha) were committed to writing. Mahavihara exerted direct influence on religious, political, economic, social and cultural fields of the island. Within this zone could be seen the Sri Maha Bodhi, Ruvanveli Seya and Thuparama


The Most Attractive Places in Mahavihara


ruwanwalisayaRuvanveli Maha Seya


Of the stupas built in Sri Lanka Ruvanveli Seya is the first stupa that is worshipped with great reverence. Hence it is known as ‘Mahathupa’ (Great Stupa) and Ratnamali, Mahaseya and Swarnamali Seya in various literary works. This stupa was built by King Dutugemunu (161-137 BC) Bubble-shaped in form; a large number of bricks had been used for the foundation.  It is about 150 ft in height. It is mentioned that paintings had been done in the relic chamber. After King Saddhatissa, most of the rulers who became kings not only in Anuradhapura but also in the entire country had contributed towards it restoration.

A unique feature in this stupa is the elephant-faced wall between the stone-paved terrace and the flight of steps. Similarly, there are four vahalkadas in the four directions. After subsequent restorations the stupa is 350ft in height and 300 ft in circumference.

Ruvanveli Maha Seya is an important monument that has received the veneration of both local and foreign Buddhists and as a mark of reverence a special offering of one hundred thousand jasmine flowers is made in July each year.




Thuparama is the first stupa built in the country after the introduction of Buddhism in the third century BC. According to Mahavamsa it has been named Thuparama because the stupa and the monastery (arama) complex are located together. The stupa has been built by King Devanampiyatissa enshrining the right collar bone of the Buddha. The stupa has been subsequently renovated by kings of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruva. A unique architectural feature here is the vatadage (round relic chamber) built around the stupa, which has been built by King Vasabha (65-109 AC). The present height of the stupa is 63 ft and the diameter 59 ft. Among the surrounding buildings are the building supposed to be that of a hospital, an image house, a bhikkhuni arama and an uposathaghara (chapter house).