Jethawanaramaya Stupa: An Ancient Marvel in Anuradhapura

Standing proudly in the ancient city of Anuradhapura, the Jethawanaramaya Stupa is a colossal architectural masterpiece that echoes the grandeur of ancient Sri Lanka. Constructed during the 3rd century AD under the reign of King Mahasena, this stupa is a testament to the advanced engineering and cultural sophistication of the time.


Architectural Grandeur:

Jethawanaramaya is renowned for being one of the tallest stupas in the world, soaring to a height of 122 meters. The sheer magnitude of its brick construction and the precision with which it was executed highlight the engineering mastery of ancient Sri Lankan craftsmen. The stupa’s shape, with its bell-like dome and spire, is a classic example of traditional stupa design.


Religious Significance:

Originally built to enshrine the sacred relics of Lord Buddha, the Jethawanaramaya Stupa holds profound religious importance for Buddhists. It is considered a hallowed site where devout pilgrims gather to pay homage to the revered relics. The stupa’s spiritual significance is deeply woven into the cultural fabric of Sri Lanka.


Why Visit Jethawanaramaya Stupa:

  1. Architectural Splendor: The stupa’s colossal size and architectural finesse make it a compelling destination for those fascinated by ancient constructions and engineering marvels.
  2. Spiritual Pilgrimage: For Buddhists, visiting Jethawanaramaya is a spiritual pilgrimage, providing a connection to the sacred relics of Lord Buddha and the rich Buddhist heritage of Sri Lanka.
  3. Historical Exploration: Exploring the stupa offers a journey into the historical narrative of Anuradhapura and its prominence as a flourishing center of ancient civilization.


Preservation and Restoration:

Preservation efforts are underway to safeguard the Jethawanaramaya Stupa and ensure its longevity. Ongoing restoration projects aim to maintain the stupa’s structural integrity, allowing future generations to witness and appreciate this ancient marvel.


Other Nearby Wonders:

  1. Ruwanwelisaya: Close to Jethawanaramaya, Ruwanwelisaya is another monumental stupa and a significant pilgrimage site in Anuradhapura, adorned with intricate carvings and surrounded by a beautiful terrace.
  2. Thuparamaya: Explore the nearby Thuparamaya, known as the oldest stupa in Sri Lanka, showcasing early stupa architecture and historical significance.
  3. Abhayagiriya Monastery: The Abhayagiriya Monastery, with its stupa and monastic ruins, provides insight into the vibrant Buddhist culture that once thrived in Anuradhapura.


Cultural Festivals:

During religious festivals, Jethawanaramaya Stupa becomes a focal point of cultural celebrations. Pilgrims and visitors witness the stupa adorned with lights, creating a vibrant and spiritually charged atmosphere.



Jethawanaramaya Stupa stands as a silent sentinel, embodying the architectural prowess and spiritual depth of ancient Sri Lanka. A visit to this monumental stupa is not merely a journey through time but a profound experience that connects visitors to the cultural and religious heritage of the island. Whether appreciated for its sheer size, religious significance, or historical value, Jethawanaramaya Stupa invites all to witness the enduring legacy of a civilization that left an indelible mark on the landscape of Anuradhapura.




(Jethawanaramaya Stupa Cover Image Credit: @meish_moon from IG )

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harshana piyasinghe


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