Silachetiya (Kujjatissa) Stupa at Anuradhapura (අනුරාධපුර සිලාචේතිය කුජ්ජතිස්ස පුරාවිද්‍යා නටබුන්)

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The stupa called Silachetiya (Sila Chetiya, Sela Chetiya) is also known as “Kujjatissa Stupa” and “Kukkatissa Pabbatha Viharaya” since this has been associated with a bikku by the same name who is said to have had miraculous powers. This is a small stupa on a square platform with entrances from all 4 sides. The planform is surrounded by a retaining wall made of large granite slabs. Exquisite guard stones and balustrades carved from rock are found on the southern and eastern entrances.

This stupa was nothing but a mound of ruined brickwork rising about 1 5 ft. above the platform and its architectural features were undistinguishable until excavated in 1895. The base has been about 37 ft. 5 in. in diameter, and it stands on a paved platform 46 ft. 9 in. square, rising 7 ft. 6 in. above the ground level, and enclosed by a stone parapet, with entrances on the east and south sides (Fergusson, Burgess and Spiers, 1910).

The stupa is estimated to have been built in the 8th century on a much earlier foundation. There are 2 legends about the origin of this stupa. According to one legend, this is associated with a life story of a monk with great psychic powers called Kujjatissa. Kujjathissa (humpback or deformed) of Mangana was an Arhat of great repute who loved the solitude life who’s death occurred during the reign of King Saddhatissa (137-119 BC) is metioned in the Manorathapurani (the Commentary to the Anguttara Nikaya) which was compiled in 500 AD by Ven. Buddhaghosa Thero based on a much older commentarial tradition. King Saddhatissa wanted to invite him to the palace and the thro not interested to to the city once resorted to a curious trick to deceive the king. When he heard the king coming to him he sat down drawing figures on the ground. The king was disgusted at the seeming lack of self-composure and went back without even saluting him. The Thera thus saved himself from the burden of visiting a noisy town and receiving respect and homage from the royal household (Adikaram, 1953).

The second legend is that this stupa contains the ashes of Elara, who was defeated by king Dutugemunu in 161 BC. Therefore this has been also called “Tomb of Elara” (Seneviratna, 1994). This beliefe has now lost its momentum. At some time Dhakkina Stupa in Anuradhapura was also believed to be the tomb of Elara.

According to the information board installed by the Department of Archaeology, it is believed that this stupa has been built during the period king Saddhatissa (137 – 119 BC). The Chronicles of Mahavamsa and the Manorathapurani identifies this stupa as Sila Chethiya. According to Manorathapurani, when the bikku Kujjatissa passed away, the body has levitated and moved to the location of Sila Chetiya and performed miracles. The existing structure has architectural features of late Anuradhapura period. The maps drown in the 19th century by Major Skinner also identifies this stupa as Sila Chetiya.

The stupa lies shaded by a large tree 265 meters north-east of weli-maluwa of the Ruwanweli Maha Seya. Even though this stupa lies close to a busy road to Ruwanweli Seya where pilgrims frequently travel, not much attention is given by them.

Other names : Silacetiya, Cila Chetiya, Cilachetiya , Kujjathissa, Kujjhatissa, Kujjhathissa


  1. Fergusson, J., Burgess, J. and Spiers, P., 1910. History of Indian and Eastern Architecture Vol 1. 2nd ed. London: John Murray, pp.235-237.
  2. Seneviratna, A., 1994. Ancient Anuradhapura. 1st ed. Colombo: Archaeological Survey Department, Sri Lanka.
  3. Adikaram, E., 1953. Early history of Buddhism in Ceylon, or, “State of Buddhism in Ceylon as revealed by the Pāli commentaries of the 5th century A.D.”. 2nd ed. Colombo, Sri Lanka: M. D. Gunasena & Co Ltd, pp.67-71.
  4. Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major natural, cultural, and historic sites. Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.73
  5. Bell, H., 1914. Archaeological Survey of Ceylon Plans and Plates for Annual Report 1895. Colombo, Ceylon: Archaeological Survey of Ceylon.

Also See

Map of Silachetiya (Kujjatissa) Stupa at Anuradhapura

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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

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Driving Directions to Silachetiya (Kujjatissa) Stupa at Anuradhapura

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 : 4.30- 5.00 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Through : Ambepussa – Kurunegala – Dambulla
Distance from Colombo : 217 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 : Ambepussa – Kurunegala – Padeniya – Thambuthegama
Distance from Colombo :210 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 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Route from Anuradhapura Railway Station to Silachetiya (Kujjatissa) Stupa at Anuradhapura
Distance : 2 kilometers
Travel time : 10 minutes
Driving directions : see on google map


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