Yatala Vehera is believed to be built by regional king Mahanaga in the 3rd century BC on the grounds which his queen delivered a son. This stupa has been identified as Mani Chethiya and Yattalaya in various historical documents.
Mahanaga is a brother of King Devanampiyathissa (250-210 BC ). History states that that when Mahanaga was inspecting the construction of Walas Reservoir (වලස් වැව), the queen of Devanampiyathissa send him a bowl of Mangos with the top most one poisoned. Her intention was to kill Mahanaga to ensure the throne to her son after Devanampiyathissa. At that time the son was with his uncle at the tank and child ate the poisoned mango and died on the spot. Fearing reprisal he took his pregnant wife and escaped to Ruhuna where he built up his own regional kingdom surrounding Magama area.
Some believe that this was much larger stupa due the size of the the huge granite pinnacle (ගල් ඡත්රය) found on the grounds.
It is not known what was enshrined in this stupa but a large number of relic caskets has been discovered in the stupa.
This stupa was completely restored and a small opening has been left to observe the different phases of construction. The restoration work of the Yatala Stupa commenced in 1883 AD. It took over a century to complete the restoration. This stupa is surrounded by probably the oldest Elephant Wall in the country.
Ruins of large number of various image houses has been conserved. One image house contains 2 larger than life size Buddha statues carved from Rock. The head of one statue has been broken and can be seen at the feet. Another image house has been reserved for a large Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva image carved from stone. Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva is a concept from Mahayana Buddhism which had became Natha Deviyo in Sri Lanka.
On the ground of the stupa a statue of Avalokeshwara Bodhisattva, a concept originated in Mahayana Buddhism blended with the Sri Lankan culture and Theravada doctrine.
Yatala Vehera is located between Debaraweva and Akurugoda on the Hambanthota – Kataragama Road and about a 1 1/2 km a way from Tissamaharama Stupa.
Map of Debarawewa Yatala Stupa
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Travel Directions to Debarawewa Yatala Stupa
Route 01 from Colombo to Yatala Stupa
Route 02 from Colombo to Yatala Stupa
|Though : Southern Expressway – Galle – Matara|
distance from colombo :274 km
Travel time : 5 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
|Through : Ratnapura – Palmadulla – Udawalawe – Thanamalwila|
distance from Colombo : 225 km
Travel time : 4.30 hours
Driving Directions : see on google maps