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Sandagiri Stupa – Tissamaharama

Description

The Sandagiri Stupa in Tissamaharama is built on a 200-by-200-foot platform with a brick-tiled floor. Only about half of the stupa remains today, with a circumference of 340 feet (103 meters) and a current height of 60 feet. The stupa has flower altars at the four cardinal points, and a remarkable piece of stone carving that is perfectly cut and polished can be found on the north side.
To the southwest of the stupa lies a large bodhigara (bo tree house) that has been recently conserved. An unneatened large building structure surrounding the Bo tree has been found, and the square cavity at the centre marks where the Bo tree had once been.
All the ruins discovered around the Sandagiri Stupa have been displayed around the weli maluwa. These include the Siri Pathul Gal (footprint of the Buddha carved in rock slabs), objects of veneration in the 2-3rd century BC, before the use of Buddha statues. The granite Yupa Kanuwa and the pinnacle of the ancient stupa, built before Devatha Kotuwa architecture in stupas, are also on display. A replica of how the stupa would have looked 2000 years ago is also displayed on the maluwa.

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According to the Great Chronicle Mahavamsa, the Sri Maha Bodhi was brought to Sri Lanka by Theri Sangamitta, and members of the Kshethiya clan of Chandana Grama participated in the celebrations in Anuradhapura. It is now believed that Chandana Grama is the area known as Sandagiriya.

Emperor Asoka also sent various relics as gifts to King Devanampiyathissa (250-210 BC) of Sri Lanka, which was handed over to his brother Mahanaga, a regional king in Ruhuna. As a result, King Mahanaga built the Sandagiri Stupa in the 3rd century BC to enshrine these relics and a rare conch shell. This shell was later enshrined in the Tissamaharama Dagoba. As a result, the Sandagiri Stupa is considered the oldest in the southern part of Sri Lanka. In addition, nearby inscriptions record land donations to this temple by the Kings Bathikabhaya and Vasaba.

Histories say that King Mahanaga and King Kakavannatissa built this complex of monasteries around 200 BC. However, according to inscriptions, several grants were donated to this monastery during the reign of King Amanda Gamini Abhaya (22-31).

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