Built in the 3rd century, the magnificent Jetavaranama stupa was the largest brick structure in the world and the third largest structure of any type. Consisting of over 90 million bricks, this enormous bulbous stupa can get one be reflective and connect to its past with emotions of calm and serenity. Therefore it is well worth the visit for the scale of its structure shows the feat and determination at the time.
It is around 400ft in height and 113m in diameter. Elaborate shrines mark each of the 4 cardinal points. The non-plastered and gigantic stupa was the centrepiece of the great Jetavaranama monastery founded by King Mahasena.
It is said that this monument was built upon the enclosure where Mahinda, son of Indian Emperor Ashoka who brought Buddhism to Sri Lanka, was cremated. Around it stand the ruins of a monastery that had housed 3000 monks. This area was once part of an ancient pleasure park called Nandana uyana, said to be the site of the first sermons on Buddhism preached by Mahinda in the 3rd century.
When Anuradhapura was abandoned as the capital in the 11th century, this stupa along with other monuments was covered by the jungle. King Parakramabahu in the 12th century during the Polonnaruwa era renovated this stupa. It has come down in stature due to the loss of its spire and today it stands at 232 feet.
Since it can very hot during the day and footwear will be removed, it would be essential to have socks in hand so as to protect your feet during the walking.
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