A Majestic Symbol of Ancient Anuradhapura


Located in the historic city of Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka, the Jethawanaramaya is a remarkable architectural masterpiece that stands as a testament to the grandeur and sophistication of ancient Sri Lankan civilization. This colossal stupa, constructed during the reign of King Mahasena in the 3rd century AD, is not only a revered Buddhist site but also an engineering marvel. With its rich history and awe-inspiring presence, the Jethawanaramaya continues to captivate visitors from around the world.

Historical Marvel

The Jethawanaramaya holds great historical significance as one of the largest brick structures in the world and a significant landmark in the ancient city of Anuradhapura. This sacred site was built to enshrine the relics of Gautama Buddha and served as a place of veneration for Buddhist pilgrims. The stupa was initially constructed to a height of approximately 400 feet (122 meters), making it the third tallest monument of its time.

Architectural Splendor

The Jethawanaramaya is a testament to the architectural brilliance of ancient Sri Lanka. Constructed entirely out of bricks, it boasts a unique design characterized by concentric rings and intricate carvings. The stupa was adorned with lavish decorations, including statues of deities, elephants, and lions, which have unfortunately been eroded over time. The sheer magnitude of the structure, coupled with its aesthetically pleasing design, reflects the architectural prowess of the ancient Sri Lankan civilization.

Religious Significance

For Buddhists, the Jethawanaramaya holds immense religious importance. It is believed to house the relics of Lord Buddha, making it a sacred pilgrimage site for followers of Buddhism. The stupa also served as a center for monastic activities, with many monks residing in its vicinity. Even today, it continues to be a significant place of worship, attracting devotees who seek spiritual solace and enlightenment.

Preservation Efforts

Over the centuries, the Jethawanaramaya faced natural decay and human-induced damage, with parts of the structure crumbling and falling into disrepair. However, concerted preservation efforts by the Sri Lankan government and local authorities have helped restore and safeguard this cultural treasure. Conservation projects have focused on stabilizing the structure, preventing further deterioration, and enhancing visitor facilities to ensure the continued preservation of this remarkable ancient monument.


The Jethawanaramaya in Anuradhapura stands as an awe-inspiring testament to the architectural brilliance and cultural heritage of ancient Sri Lanka. With its colossal size, intricate carvings, and religious significance, it continues to enthrall visitors from around the world. As a revered pilgrimage site for Buddhists, it serves as a reminder of the country’s deep-rooted spiritual traditions. Through dedicated preservation efforts, the Jethawanaramaya remains a living testament to Sri Lanka’s glorious past and an enduring symbol of its rich cultural heritage. Visiting this ancient marvel allows one to step back in time and experience the grandeur and spirituality of ancient Anuradhapura.

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Useful Tips

  • visitors are expected to dress modestly, covering their shoulders and knees. Remove your shoes before entering the temple premises.

  • The temple is open daily from 6 am to 6 pm. The best time to visit is in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the crowds and heat.
  • Consider taking a guided tour to learn about the history and significance of Jethawanaramaya.
  • Photography is allowed inside the temple premises, but be respectful of the worshippers and do not use flash photography.
  • There is a small entry fee to enter Jethawanaramaya.
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