The Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura stands as the sole remaining sapling of the original Sri Maha Bodhi tree in India. In the year 249 BCE, during a Full Moon Day in December known as Unduvap, Theri Sangamitta arrived at the Dambakolapatuna port in Jaffna, carrying a sapling from the original tree. King Devanampiyatissa received this sacred sapling and, in a grand procession, planted it in Anuradhapura, where it continues to flourish to this day.
According to historic Mahavamsa, Maha Bodhivamsa (possibly of the late 12th century), and Sinhala Bodhivamsa (A translation of Mahabodhiwamsa into Sinhala in the 14th century), eight saplings grew out of the Sri Maha Bodhi and King Devanampiyatissa plated these at the following places. These are known as Ashta Pala Maha Bodhi. Out of four other twigs, thirty-two (32) saplings sprang, eight from each.
The locations where these Saplings were planted are found on the Sinhala Bodhivamsa. The locations where these Bodhi were planted are as follows;
- Malwessa Vehera
- Thantirimale Viharaya
- Maha-jallika Kevulgama near the shore
- Matale Raigama
- Ruhunurata Magama
- Seruwila Nainge Wilgam Vehera
- Muthiyanganaya in Uwa Badulla
- Buttala Happoru Vehera
- Situlpawwa of Ruhunu Rata
- Wanawasa Vehera in Tangalle (west of Tangalle Vehera)
- Weligama Vehera
- Pusulpitiya in Kotmale
- Watura in Maya Rata
- Wattarama Rajamaha Viharaya
- Yapawwa Sundaragiri Pawwa
- Kasagalu Vehera
- Ratgal Vehera in Ambalawa
- — Not mentioned
- — Not mentioned
However, some later books include Giriba Vehera and Pepiliyana to complete the 32 locations.
- Mahanama, Geiger, W.H. and Bode, M. (1912) The Mahavamsa: Or The Great Chronicle of Ceylon. London: H. Frowde for the Pali Text Society.
- Wilgammula Thero, S.P. (1970) සිංහල බෝධිවංශය. Colombo: Lake House.