Samgamiththa Stupa of Ancient Anuradhapura – අනුරාධපුර සංඝමිත්තා ස්ථුපය

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Sangamiththa Stupa near the Thuparama Stupa in Anuradhapura
Sangamiththa Stupa near the Thuparama Stupa in Anuradhapura

About one hundred thirty meters to the east of Thuparama Dagoba lies a small stupa identified as the Sangamiththa Stupa.

Theri Sanghamitta ( also spelled Sanghamiththa, Sanghamittha) was the daughter of the Indian emperor Asoka who arrived in Sri Lanka in the 249 BC with the southern branch of the original Sri Maha Bodhi in India.

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The son of the emperor Asoka, the great Mahinda Thero and Theri Sanghamitta lived in Sri Lanka helping the king to establish Buddhist philosophy in the country until they passed away.

According to Mahavamsa, Theri Sanghamitta lived to be 59 years old and after fulfilling duties of the docterine, passed away in Hatthalhaka Nunnery on the 9th year of king Uttiya’s consecration. King Uttiya was the brother of king Devanampiyatissa who came in to the throne after the demise of Devanampiyatissa. The king commanded the same honours he had offered to the elder Mahinda on his passing away. The body of the theri was laid for honors for a week and at the end of the week she was cremated near Cittasala, east of Thuparama in sight of the great Bodhi tree on the ground that theri has selected herself. Thereafter king Uttiya built a stupa enshrining her ashes on the spot the cremation took place. Archaeologists believe that this is the stupa mentioned in the chronicles.

From the beginning of the discovery of the ruins around Thuparamaya, archeologists have been attempting place the stupa’s which enshrined the remains of Mahinda Thero and Sangamitta Theri based on the locations as described in Mahavamsa. Until the late 19th century, the British archaeologists believed the ruins of Padalanchana Chethiya on the grounds of Thuparama to be the Sanghamitta Stupa, stupa built enshrining the ashes of Samghamitta Theri, the sister of Mahinda Thero as Mahavamsa describes the location of east of Thuparama in sight of the great Bodhi tree on the ground that Theri has selected herself. However this confusion has now been resolved and the Sanghamitta Stupa has been identified lying about 130 meters east to the stupa.

However H.E. Weerasooriya in his 1939 publication states, “On the east of the dagaba is the so-called Sanghamitta Thupa, very probably the real Sela Cheitiya Dagaba. According to the Mahavamsa the Theri was cremated on the spot between the Thuparama and the bo tree which was one of the eight original shoots of the sacred Bo tree. The ashes were collected and a daqaba built on the spot where she was cremated. Thus, this spot must be on the west of the Thuparama. No sign of it now remains.”

References

  1. Mah|can|cama and Geiger, W., 1912. The Mahavamsa or the great chronicle of Ceylon. London: Henry Frowde, Oxford University Press.
  2. Seneviratna, A., 1994. Ancient Anuradhapura. 1st ed. Colombo: Archaeological Survey Department, Sri Lanka.
  3. H.E. Weerasooriya, 1939. Historical guide to Anuradhapura’s ruins. Colombo: W.E. Bastian.
  4. Smither, J. and Wikramagamage, C., 1993. Architectural Remains, Anurádhapura, Ceylon; comprising the dágabas and certain other ancient ruined structures. Measured, drawn and described by J.G. Smither. 2nd ed. (revised) Colombo: Academy of Sri Lankan Culture, pp.1-18.

Also See

Map of Samgamiththa Stupa

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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 (Samgamiththa Stupa )

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 – Chillaw – Puttalam
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 AnuradhapuraRoute 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 Samgamiththa Stupa

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

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