Sandagiri Monastic Complex of Tissamaharama – සඳගිරි ස්තූපය

RATE THIS LOCATION :1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 3.00 out of 5)
Sandagiri Stupa
Sandagiri Stupa

According to the Great Chronicle Mahavamsa, when the Sri Maha Bodhi was brought to Sri Lanka by Theiree Sangamitta, members of the ‘Kshethiya’ clan of ‘Chandana Grama’ was present at Anuradhapura taking part of the celebrations. It is now accepted that the ‘Chandana Grama’ is the area now known as Sandagiriya.

Emperor Asoka also send various relics as gifts to the Sri Lankan king Devanampiyathissa (250-210 BC) and it is believed that they were handed over to his brother Mahanaga who was a regional king in the Ruhuna. The king Mahanaga built Sanadagiri Stupa enshrining these relics and a rare conch shell in the 3rd century BC. This shell has been later enshrined in the Tissamaharama Dageba. Therefore this stupa is believed to be the oldest stupa in the southern part of the country. Nearby inscriptions records land donations to this temple by the Kings Bathikabhaya and Vasaba.

The temple is built on 200×200 feet platform. The floor is tiled with bricks. Only about 1/2 of the stupa remains today. The circumference of the stupa is 340 feet (103 meters) and the current height is 60 feet.

It has flower altars at the four cardinal points and on the north side a remarkable piece of stone carving, perfectly cut and beautifully polished, can be found.

To the south west of the stupa lies an large bodhigara (bo tree house) which has been conserved recently. A large building structure surrounding the bo tree has been unneatened.  The square cavity at the center marks where the Bo tree had lie.

All the ruins which had been discovered around the Sandagiri  Stupa has been displayed around the weli maluwa. These include “Siri Pathul Gal” (foot print of Buddha carved in rock slabs) which were objects of veneration in the 2-3 rd century BC, before the Buddha statues were used.  A large The granite Yupa Kanuwa (යූප කනුව) and the pinnacle (ගල් ඡත්‍රය)  of the ancient stupa which was built before the development of Devatha Kotuwa architecture in stupas is also on display. A replica of how this stupa would have looked 2000 years ago is also displayed on the maluwa.

According to the information furnished by the historical chronicles, this monastic complex was founded by King Mahanaga and King Kakavannatissa (200 BC). However according to the inscriptions several grants have been donated to this monastery at the time of King Amanda Gamini Abhaya (22-31).


  1. Somadeva, R., 2006. URBAN ORIGINS IN SOUTHERN SRI LANKA. Doctoral Thesis in Archaeology. Uppsala University.
  2. මාලිංග අමරසිංහ, ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ පුරාණ ස්තුප

Also See

Map of Sandagiri  Stupa  of Tissamaharama

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.

Travel Directions to Sandagiri  Stupa

Route from Colombo to Sandagiri  Stupa

Route from Weerawila Junction to Sandagiri  Stupa

Through : Avissawella – Ratnapura – Pelmadulla – Udawalawe – Tanamalwila – Tissamaharama
Distance : 225 km
Travel time : 5 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Through : Demarawewa – Tissamaharama
Distance : 10 km
Travel time : 10 minutes
Driving directions : see on google map


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: