Anuradhapura Mirisawetiya Dagaba – අනුරාධපුර මිරිසවැටිය දාගැබ

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Mirisawetiya Stupa after restoration
Mirisawetiya Stupa after restoration

Mirisawetiya Dagaba has been built by King Dutugamunu (161-137 BC) and this belongs to Mahavihara Complex. King Dutugamunu is the great king who defeated the Tamil invaders who ruled the country for 30 years and brought the country under one ruler.

On the seventh day of the re-establishment of Anuradhapura as the Capital of Lanka after defeating Elara, the Indian invader who ruled Anuradhapura for 55 years, the King proceeded to the Tissa Wewa followed by a state retinue to celebrate an aquatic festival maintaining a custom observed by his predecessors.Kings attire and his imperial sceptre (kunta) which had a scared relic of Buddha inside, was kept at a place close the Tissa Wewa. When he returned to his surprise the sceptre was it was stuck to the ground and no one could retrieve it. So the king seeing this miracle decided to erect a stupa on that spot to enshrine the sceptre itself.

The stupa and the surrounding buildings were completed in 3 years and he held a inauguration ceremony for thousands of monks who had assembled from Sri Lanka as well as from India. This festival was held for 7 continuous days. Misriweti Stupa is the first of the great stupas to be erected.


It is said that he called this dagaba “Mirisavatiya” because the king forgot to present a food made out of chilli (miris) to the Buddhist priests before he consumed it. It was the practise of the king to present a portion of all the food which is cooked in this castle to the priests before he consume it.

The circumference of this massive stupa is 160 meters. The Salapathala Maluwa surrounding the stupa is paved with slabs of rock. This is a square with a length of 85 meters at one side. There had been four entrances on the east and west, south and north, whose traces are still to be found in the beautiful stone steps. Around the Salapathala Maluwa is the Weli Maluwa, the sand compound around the stupa. This is where possessions were held.

The stupa consists of some of the unique and well preserved Vahalkadas’ found. These are known as a frontispiece in English, is a structure constructed joining a stupa at its four cardinal directions as a decorative flourish. Later, these frontispieces came to be decorated or embellished with designs such as the creeper designs. Stone slabs erected for the purpose of offering flower at the stupa too have been added to these frontispieces

It was reported by Bell in 1890 Burrows in 1894 that the whole stupa was being elaborately restored using prison labour under the direction of the public works department at the expense of a Siamese prince but no further information is provided. The Dagaba was restored in the in the 1980’s but the whole construction collapsed in 1987. This also destroyed one of the best Vahalkada structures of Anuradhapura Era. The Dagaba you see now was completed in the 1993 and is enclosing the remains of the original Dagaba and has lost all historic features of the original. The present dagaba is 192 feet (59 metres) in height and 141 (43 metres) feet in diameter.


  • B.W. Harischandra, 1908. The Sacred City of Anuradhapura. With Forty-six Illustrations. 1st ed. Colombo: Brahmachari Walisingha Harischandra.
  • H.E. Weerasooriya, 1939. Historical guide to Anuradhapura’s ruins. Colombo: W.E. Bastian.\
  • Burrows, S., 1894. The buried cities of Ceylon : A Guidebook for Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa with Chapters on Dambulla, Kalawewa, Mihintale and Sigiri. 2nd ed. Colombo: J. Ferguson, pp.65-67.
  • Bell, H., 1904. Archaeological survey of Ceylon – North-Central Province – Anual Report 1890. Colombo, Sri Lanka: Gerorge J. A. Skeen. p.03
  • Seneviratna, A., 1994. Ancient Anuradhapura. 1st ed. Colombo: Archaeological Survey Department, Sri Lanka.

Also See

Map of Mirisawetiya Dagaba

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Driving Directions to Anuradhapura (Mirisawetiya Dagaba)

Anuradhapura can be reached through many routes from Colombo. The two main routes are through Puttlam (Puttalama) and though Kurunegala. Traveling from Puttlam 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 Anuradhapura

Route 02 from Colombo to Anuradhapura

Through : Negombo - Chillaw - Puthlam
distance from colombo :213 km
Travel time : 3 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Through : Ambepussa - Kurunegala - Dambulla
distance from Colombo : 221 km
Travel time : 3.15 hours
Driving Directions : see on google maps

Route 03 from Colombo to Anuradhapura

Route from Kandy to Anuradhapura

Through : Ambepussa - Kurunegala - Padeniya - Thambuthegama
distance from colombo :213 km
Travel time : 3 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Through : Katugastota - Matale - Dambulla
distance from Colombo :139 km
Travel time : 2 hours
Driving directions : see on google map

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