Digavapiya is one of the 16 places which has been blessed by the Buddha's presence. Buddha was invited to Kelaniya by Mani Akkika of Naga Tribe, ruler of the Kelaniya region on his second visit to Nagadeepa. On the 8th year of attaining nirvana Buddha decided to visit Sri Lanka for the third time specially to Kelaniya. During this visit he came to Digavapi with 500 arhaths and spend time meditating.
According to the the Mahavansa, great chronicle of Sri Lanka, this stupa was built by king Saddhatissa (137-119 BC). According to the same the king has also donated a jacket decorated with gold lotus flowers and various gems to cover the stupa. Since this location has been blessed by Buddha's presence, it is generally believed that this stupa is a "paribogika" stupa and no special relics has been enshrined. But historian venerable Ellawela Medananda thero believes that this stupa enshrines a nail relic of Buddha. An inscription on a gold foil unearthed during excavations discloses that King Kawanthissa (164-192) has done renovations to the stupa.
In 1886 the Batticalore governor instructed the government works department to dig this stupa and and this uncontrolled digging has brought a grave destruction to the stupa later on. In 1916 a priest called Kohukumbure Revatha started developing this temple area but in 1950 he was brutally murdered by a Muslim in the area.
The stupa has been 110 feet height when the archeological department started its renovation work in 1964, but a document by Badigode Buddharakitha thero has put the height to 185 feet in 1845. The circumference of the stupa is about 1000 feet.
The Digavapi Stupa lies about 13 kilometres east from Ampara town in a area dominated by Muslims. Today the land belonging to the temple premises including historical artifects are under threat from Muslims and Muslim Politians who attempt to wipeout any signs Bhuddhist heritage in these area.
Due to the Terrorist activities of the LTTE access is now very limited.
Primary Source : "Sri Lankave Purana Stupa"
How To Get There
Ampara is the nearest main town to Dighavapi. From Ampara take the road to Irakkamam and then proceed for another 5 km, a total distance of about 17 km. Beyond Irakkamam the road is very poor and there are no buses.
February 16, 2007