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Home > Heritage > Digavapi


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.

An ancient flower altar near Digavapi Stupa
Source :

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"
By Malinga Amarasinghe

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.

More Information

  • Deegavapi : The bulldozed heritage of the Buddhists: Ancient Buddhist heritage site Deegavapi is under threat. Already some areas had been bulldozed. Whenever the patriots bring this issue to the attention of the authorities the sinister activities stop. When the attention is no more, they continue again. In the decades to come, these pictures could be the only reminder that once there was a Buddhist heritage site in Deegavapi.
  • History & Archeology of Deegavapi Sacred City : Patriotism is not confined only to the Sinhalese or Sinhala Buddhists- every son and daughter who has been born and bred in this country whether they be Tamils, Muslims, Burghers, Sinhalese, Sinhala Buddhists, Sinhala, Tamil & Burgher Christians, Tamil Hindus must all have even an aorta of national pride about what the history & heritage of this country called “Ceylon” or “Sri Lanka” holds for them and their families.
  • Digavapi: the stronghold of Ruhunu kings : Digavapi Mandala or Digamadulla is supposed to be the settlement named after Prince Dighayu, one of six brothers of Baddha Katyana, the queen of King Panduwas Deva. It is said that the Indo-Aryan ancestors of the Sinhalese who came from North India and colonized the Island, named those settlements after them. Thompson A.Van de Bona/ Sunday Times
  • The pristine glory of Dighavapi : The current status of Dighavapi is a great tragedy not only for the Buddhists but for all Sri Lankans. It is sincerely hoped that at least this Government will take positive and meaningful steps to restore Dighavapi to its pristine glory. If this is not done, I dread to think of what might happen when the proposed Interim Council takes charge of the administration of the northern and eastern provinces. The Island - September 14, 2002


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Updated February 16, 2007
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