This is the first stupa to be built in the country after the introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka. Built in the time of king Devamnampiyatissa (250BC – 210BC) this was a stupa as well as an Aramic complex (monastery). Today ruins of this complex covers nearly 3 ½ acres. The stupa was built on the instructions of Mahinda Thero who brought Buddhism to the island to enshrine the right collar bone of Lord Buddha.
On this stupa you can see a unique architectural feature called vatadagê, a stupa-house. This building completely housed the stupa. At present four concentric circles of stone pillars are found around the stupa. They diminish in height from inner most circle and at one time carried the weight of a dome shaped roof over the stupa. The vatadagê has been built in the 1st centaury AC.
In the seventh century BC the stupa was covered with a gold and silver casing and the vatadagê (stupa-house) with golden bricks and golden doors. Then Pandyans (south Indian Tamil) plundered the stupa of its all gold, jewels and treasures.
Again Mahinda IV (956-972) re installed the golden casings and the golden doors but again in the late 10th centaury Colas (south Indian Tamil) completely plundered the complex of its valuables.
On the left to the stupa you can see the conserved remains of an Image house belonging to this stupa complex
The renovation of the present stupa was completed in 1862 which as completely changed the ancient features of this most ancient stupa.
.On the north-western side of the stupa you can see the Basawakkulama tank. This is the most ancient monument in Apura. This was built by king Pandukabhaya in the 4th century BC as a small reservoir.
Photos before restoration from Images of Ceylon
May 5, 2007