Padalanchana Chethiya of Ancient Anuradhapura – අනුරාධපුර පාදලාඤ්ජන චේතිය

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Padalanchana Chethiya
Padalanchana Chethiya

Fifty meters to the south east of Thuparama Dagoba lies a small stupa identified as the Padalanchana Chethiya. This is also referred to as Sila Chethiya and Digha Stupa and has been originally built by king Lagnatissa (119-109 BC), son of king Saddhatissa covering footprint of Buddha.

According to Mahavamsa this place has been one of the four places where all the Buddhas of this aeon have left his foot prints. Thus all four Kakusanndha, Konagamana, Kassapa and Gouthama Buddha has at one time come to this small island at one time and come to this place before leaving this island and left their foot prints.

Pali Mahabodhiwanmsa gives an account of four Buddhas of this kalpa the ion who had visited this island and hollowed four spots spending few moments in meditation. The account of the visit of Kakusandha, the first Buddha of this kalpa, ends with the statement that the Teacher, after hallowing the site of the future Thuparama, and after preaching the dhamma, proceeded to the terrace named Ratanamalaka, rose into the air from that site, and returned to Jambudipa. The Sinhalese gloss explains Ratanamalaka, not only by giving the Sinhalese equivalent of the name, Ruvanmaluyehi, but also with the comments: He dan satara-Budun pada-lasa padum-dese maha-Sa-thanhi ‘ that is at present the site of the main chethiya (stupa) in the shrine of the Footprints (padalasa) of the four Buddhas.’


Konagamana, the second Buddha of this kalpa, is said to have hallowed the same spots as did his predecessor. He likewise terminated his tour of Anuradhapura at the future Thuparama, and rose into the air for the return journey from Sudassanamalaka to the east of the last mentioned place. For Sudassan-amalaka , the Mahabodhiwanmsa has the following gloss: Sudasun-maluyehi he-dan Padalasa padum-desen devana maha-sa-tan, ‘at the Sudasunmalu, that is at present the site of the great cetiya which is the second from the east at Padalasa.’

The corresponding account of the visit of the Buddha Kassapa ends with the statement that the Teacher rose to the air for the return journey from the Somanassa-malaka, which, too, was to the east of the site of the future Thuparama, The gloss in the Mahabodhiwanmsa for Somanassa-malake is Somans-maluyehi : he dan Padalasa padum-densen piidum-desen tun-vane mahasa-tan, at the Somnas-malu, that is at present the site of the great cetiya, which is the third from the east at Padalasa.’ The historic Buddha, during the last of the three visits he is believed to have paid to Ceylon, rose to the air for the return journey after spending a few moments on the site cf the future Sila-cetiya. The gloss of the Mahabodhiwanmsa on the word Sila-cetiyatthane of the Mahabodhiwanmsa is Sala-sa-tanhi du, he Padalasa satara-vana kuda dagaba ya , ‘ also at the site of Sala-sa ; that is (at present) the small forth dagaba at the Padalasa.’

Thus three of the four Footprints to the cast of the Thupararna were left by the three previous Buddhas rising to the air from that spot. According to Paranavithana, the Culavamsa states that, at the Padalanchana, where a shrine or shrines were restored by king Mahinda IV (956-972), there were four chetiyas. It is therefore reasonable to take the Padalanchana referred to at Culavamsa, LIV, v. 44, as identical with the Padalasa of the Mahabodhiwanmsa. Three of the cetiyas at this Padalasa (Padalanchana) were believed, at the time the Mahabodhiwanmsa was written, to mark three legendary sites which arc definitely stated in the Mahabodhiwanmsa as well as in the Mahavamsa, to have been to the east of the Thuparama.The Padalanchana referred to in the Culavamsa, LIV, 44, was thus situated to the east of the Thuparama which the current stupa called Padalanchana Stupa today.

The restored stupa is built on a circular platform. A flight of steps decorated with moonstones, Guardstones and balustrades takes you this platform. Sadly not much attention is given by the visitors to this stupa.


  • Paranavitana, S., 1958. Padalanchana at Anuradhapura. University of Ceylon Review, vol. XVI(No. 1 & 2), pp.56-61.
  • Seneviratna, A., 1994. Ancient Anuradhapura. 1st ed. Colombo: Archaeological Survey Department, Sri Lanka.

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Map of Padalanchana Chethiya

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Driving Directions to Anuradhapura (Padalanchana Chethiya )

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

Route from Anuradhapura Railway Station to Padalanchana Chethiya

Distance : 2.7  kilometers
Travel time : 5 minutes
Driving directions : see on google map

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