Anuradhapura Sights

Thuparamaya Stupa

Ruins located in Anuradhapura

Thuparama is the oldest stupa in Anuradhapura, and indeed in the island. It may be small, but it is very sacred to Buddhists since it is believed to enshrine the right collarbone of the Buddha.

Mahinda Thera, an envoy sent by King Ashoka himself introduced Theravada Buddhism and also chetiya worship to Sri Lanka. At his request King Devanampiyatissa built Thuparamaya. The name Thuparamaya comes from 'stupa' and 'aramaya' which is a residential complex for monks.

What you see today is not ancient at all, but a reconstruction undertaken in the mid-19th century – and not even the right shape, seeing as the original was built in the slope-shouldered “heap of rice” form, rather than the present bell shape. The crowd of stone pillars that surround it like windblown palms, which would once have supported a roof, have capitals decorated with carvings of hamsas (geese, a protective bird).