Ruins of Kiribath Vehera of Ancient Anuradhapura

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Ruins of Kiribath Vehera of Ancient Anuradhapura - අනුරාධපුර කිරිබත් වෙහෙර නටබුන්
Ruins of Kiribath Vehera of Ancient Anuradhapura – අනුරාධපුර කිරිබත් වෙහෙර නටබුන්

Kiribath Vehera is situated in the ancient sacred city of Anuradhapura between the Vijayarama Ruins and the stone bridge over the Malwathu Oya.  The remains of this dilapidated stupa, 30 feet in height and the 425 feet in circumference has been partially restored by the archaeology department but rarely visited by the pilgrims.

This site has been dated to early Anuradhapura period. However the patron of the site is not known. A pillar inscription known as “Aththani Kanu” which has been installed by king Kassapa IV (898-914) was discovered at this site and records of a medicine hall (dispensary) named “Uthurmeghiriwatte” bound on the east by Veherawatta and west by Sambada Forest which had been granted to Thuparama. Based this inscription, Dr. Paranavithana believes that this site may have been the Patamka Chethiya which also came to be known as Uttara Megagiri Viharaya built by king Devanampiyatissa.

This site was found lying in the jungles outside the main city of ancient Anuradhapura some work to clear this site has been done around 1890. It has been recorded that by 1892, the lowest “Pesava” of the dagaba has been completely exposed. The walls of the quadrangle platform on which the stupa was built on was also exposed as well as the steps on the north, east and the south. The relic chamber has been completely destroyed probably by the South Indian invaders. A shaft, 14 feet diameter has been sunk down from the center of the stupa mound to a depth of around 40 feet, to the bottom of the stupa in search of a relic chamber. This survey records that this stupa has been about 420 feet in circumference, or somewhat smaller than Mirisawetiya Dagaba.

The publication ‘Historical Guide to Anuradhapura’s Ruins’ By Hubert E. Weerasooriya published in 1939 provides a graphical view of this site.

‘Leaving Vijayarama behind, another half mile of tramping through the jungle path brings us to a grass covered mound similar in shape to the ruins of Dakkina Dagaba on the Kurunegala Road.

The Archaeological Commissioner’s efforts to excavate this dagaba are disclosed by two or three trenches, one alongside and the one cutting in to the mound from the north. This enabled the general features of the dagaba to be understood, they disclosed that it was one of the oldest of the larger dagabas completely built of brick but unlike others it has no stone works such as flower alters or cornices. Another point it differed from similar structures was that its quadrangular courtyard was laid in brick and not paved in stone.

A shaft thirty six feet deep was sunk through the center of the dagaba by Mr. Bell. That it had been earlier stripped of its relics and other treasures it had contained by Tamil invaders was proved by the gutted relic chamber.

However at the depth of 25 feet, several crystalline stone and a few beads were found. Five feet lower down, a brock built chamber was come across in which was discovered more crystalline stones, small shells and some coral. A few coins were also found at various depths.

This dagaba though called the Kiribath Vehera literally Milk-Rice dagaba, has not been definitely identified with any of the structures mentioned in the histories. It is also called the Menik Vehera or the Gem Dagaba by the local residents. On rainy days even now pieces of coloured stones are found.

No monasteries seem to have been attached to this dagaba, unless they had been made of a very endurable material.  But about 200 yards to the north east of it, a few roughly cut stone pillars standing in bleak solitude. Disclose and image house in utter disrepair. Here it is to be seen a piece of a giant statue of Buddha. The portion above the neck which is in fair condition measures about 2 feet, while the whole piece which is only up to the waist, is about nine feet long. Now it is lying on its side, fallen from grace and badly damaged, a sad change from the lofty exalted position, the statue must have occupied in the time of the Anuradhapura’s glory.’

Ruins of a large stupa, an image house belonging to the Anuradhapura period, an parts of a stone cut standing Buddha image are found at the site. This statue has been 12 feet tall. The stone pillars of the image house are also very tall, to fit in the tall image.


  • H. E. Weerasooriya, 1939. Historical guide to Anuradhapura’s ruins. 1st ed. Colombo: W.E. Bastian.
  • The Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1893. Council Meeting Proceedings (Annual General Meeting). XII(42).
  • C. W. Nicholas, 1963. Historical Topography of Ancient and Medieval Ceylon. The Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, New Series – VI (Special number).
  • Seneviratna, A., 1994. Ancient Anuradhapura. 1st ed. Colombo: Archaeological Survey Department, Sri Lanka.

Also See

Map of Kiribath Vehera Ruins

Please click on the button below to load the Dynamic Google Map (ගූගල් සිතියම් පහලින්)

The map above also shows other places of interest within a approximately 20 km radius of the current site. Click on any of the markers and the info box to take you to information of these sites

Zoom out the map to see more surrounding locations using the mouse scroll wheel or map controls.

Driving Directions to Anuradhapura (Kiribath Vehera)

Anuradhapura can be reached through many routes from Colombo. The two main routes are through Puttalam (Puttalama) and though Kurunegala. Traveling from Puttalam you will pass scenic Wilpattu area. the From Kurunegala there are two main routes to Anuradhapura. The most common route is through Dambulla. The other route is though Galgamuwa. Out of all the routes, the commonly used is the Kurunegala – Dambulla route (Route 2).

Route 01 from Colombo to AnuradhapuraRoute 02 from Colombo to Anuradhapura
Through : Negombo – Chilaw – Puttalam
Distance from Colombo :210 km
Travel time : 4.30- 5.00 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Through : Katunayake Expressway – Central Expressway – Kurunegala – Dambulla
Distance from Colombo : 223 km
Travel time : 4.30- 5.00 hours
Driving Directions : see on google maps
Route 03 from Colombo to AnuradhapuraRoute from Kandy to Anuradhapura
Through : Katunayake Expressway – Narammala – Wariyapola – Padeniya – Thambuthegama
Distance from Colombo :2o3 km
Travel time : 4.30- 5.00 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Through : Katugastota – Matale – Dambulla
Distance from Colombo :136 km
Travel time : 3.5 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Route from Anuradhapura Railway Station to Kiribath Vehera Ruins
Distance : 7.2  kilometers
Travel time : 20 minutes
Driving directions : see on google map


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