Thuparamaya is considered the oldest Stupa and was built after the introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka by Arahath Mahinda Thero. This bell shaped, visually pleasing stupa was built in the era of king Devanampiyatissa as a result of the request made by Arahat Mahinda, a representative of King Asoka during 250BC – 210BC as a monastery complex enshrining the sacred collar bone of the Lord Buddha. This is the first stupa to be built in Sri Lanka after the arrival of Buddhism to the country.
The temple is located in Mahamewna Uyana, in the sacred city of Anuradhapura which is one of the top must visit places in Sri Lanka. It has been officially identified as an archaeological site in Sri Lanka by the country’s government. The name Thuparamaya stands for a residential complex for monks which comes from "stupa" and "aramaya". It is believed to be the depositary for the consecrated right collar bone artifact of Lord Buddha and some believes that it originally held the sacred tooth relic before it was moved to temple of the tooth in Kandy.
It is believed that the stupa was covered with gold and silver casings and the stupa house was built with golden bricks and doors as the architecture of the stupa follows a special architectural feature called vatadage (stupa house). The golden doors made the Pandyans plunder a number of times.
The structure is adorned by a couple of delightful guard stones at the entrance. After various reconstructions of the stupa due to the damage caused time to time, it now stands as a ‘Bell Shaped’ stupa, as its original shape was a ‘paddy heap’. The sections found around the stupa were a part of the walkway that was bolstered by an arch molded rooftop which secured the holy structure. There have been 176 columns which upheld this stupa house and in 1896, a portion of the columns despite everything hold the lotus molded crown and smooth polished surface which has survived more than 2 centuries.
During the course of time, Thuparamaya is recorded to have been demolished by various forces and through natural disasters. It has been renovated many times throughout the years and the last known renovation in history was carried out in the 19th century CE and sees the dagoba with a diametre of 59 feet at its base and at a height of a little over 11 feet. You can visit this sacred site effortlessly when traveling in the country with Hayleys Tours.