Ruwanvali maha Seya was build by the great king Dutugamunu
who reigned from 137BC to119 BC.
The original stupa has been about 180 feet (55 metres) in height and was renovated
by many kings. The stupa is 350 feet (107 metres) in height and 300 feet (92
metres) in diameter today.
According to Mahavamsa, the great chronicle of the Sinhalese the preparation
for the foundation for the stupa is described as follows;
….The ruler had the site of the stupa dug
to the depth of seven cubits (about 17 ½ feet) …….round
stones brought by warriors and had them broken by small hammers
, then for the sake of firmness of the site he had the crushed stones
stamped by elephants with feet covered in leather. He had butter
clay laid over the stones and bricks over the clay. …. Rough
plaster over it, quarts over that, a network of iron over that,
and above that fragrant “marumba”.
The king had crystal spread over that and over
the crystal stones. Everywhere in the work was the clay called butter
clay with the resin of wood apple mixed with mercury. A bronze plate,
eight finger breadths thick was laid over the stones. A silver plate
seven finger breadths thick was laid over it with arsenic mixed
in the oil of sesame.
King Dutugamunu didn’t live to see the completion of this
chethiya. When the king fell ill he sent his brother to complete the work of
the stupa. On King Dutugamunu’s death bed he wanted to see this chethiya
and his brother covered the whole dome in white cloth and constructed the upper
portion of the stupa in bamboo and painter it in imitation gold and carried
the king to the stupa to show the “competed” stupa. After the kings
death the Saddhatissa finished the remaining work.
Around this stupa you will also see statues made out of stones of King Dutugamunu,
Queen Vihara Mahadevi (Mother of king Dutugamunu) and King Bhathika Tissa
of 2nd Century.