kiri vehera -polonnaruwa
Exploring the Ancient Grandeur of Kiri Vehera


Nestled amidst the historical treasures of Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka, Kiri Vehera stands as a testament to the architectural brilliance and spiritual significance of the ancient city. This sacred stupa, also known as the “Milk White Dagoba,” is a captivating site that beckons travelers and history enthusiasts alike. In this article, we will delve into the rich history and cultural significance of Kiri Vehera, shedding light on why it continues to be a must-visit destination for anyone exploring Sri Lanka’s cultural heritage.

A Glimpse into Polonnaruwa's History

Polonnaruwa, a UNESCO World Heritage site, served as the second capital of ancient Sri Lanka during the 11th and 12th centuries. It was a thriving city and a testament to the advanced engineering and architectural prowess of its time. Kiri Vehera, one of its many architectural marvels, was built by King Parakramabahu I, an illustrious ruler known for his contributions to the country’s culture and infrastructure.

The Architecture of Kiri Vehera

Kiri Vehera is a classic example of a Buddhist stupa, an architectural structure revered by Buddhists around the world. What makes it stand out is its stunning simplicity and purity of design. The name “Kiri Vehera” translates to “Milk White Dagoba,” which aptly describes its pristine white appearance.

Standing at a height of 55 meters, Kiri Vehera exudes an air of majestic tranquility. The stupa is constructed with bricks, and its surface is covered in a layer of lime plaster, which gives it the characteristic radiant white sheen. The stupa is surrounded by a beautifully landscaped area, which enhances the overall ambiance and serenity of the site.

Spiritual Significance

Kiri Vehera holds deep spiritual significance for Buddhists in Sri Lanka. It is a place of worship and meditation, drawing both pilgrims and tourists alike. The stupa is believed to house relics of Lord Buddha, making it a revered sacred site for Buddhists.

Visitors to Kiri Vehera often witness a profound sense of calm and serenity that envelops the area. The peaceful ambiance and breathtaking beauty of the stupa’s surroundings create an ideal environment for introspection and spiritual contemplation.

The Importance of Preservation

Preserving Kiri Vehera and other ancient monuments in Polonnaruwa is of paramount importance. These historical sites provide valuable insights into Sri Lanka’s rich cultural heritage and serve as a bridge between the past and the present. The Sri Lankan government, along with UNESCO and other organizations, has undertaken significant efforts to protect and conserve these sites for future generations.

Visiting Kiri Vehera

For those planning to visit Kiri Vehera, Polonnaruwa offers a rich tapestry of historical and cultural attractions. The ancient city is a treasure trove of archaeological wonders, including the Royal Palace, Gal Vihara, and the Polonnaruwa Vatadage. A visit to Kiri Vehera can easily be combined with exploring these nearby sites, offering a comprehensive experience of the city’s grandeur.

When visiting Kiri Vehera, it’s essential to adhere to respectful behavior and dress modestly as a mark of reverence to the sacredness of the site. Remove your shoes before entering, and be mindful of the tranquility that surrounds you.


Kiri Vehera, the Milk White Dagoba of Polonnaruwa, is a jewel in Sri Lanka’s crown of cultural heritage. Its timeless beauty and spiritual significance make it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in exploring the country’s rich history and architecture. As you stand in awe of its radiant white form, you can’t help but feel a profound connection to the past and the enduring legacy of ancient Sri Lanka. So, whether you are a history buff, a spiritual seeker, or simply a traveler in search of extraordinary experiences, Kiri Vehera awaits your exploration in the heart of Polonnaruwa.

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Useful Tips

  • Location: The Kiri Vehera is located in the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, which is situated in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka.

  • Dress code: It is recommended to wear clothing that covers your shoulders, knees, and midriff. Additionally, it’s customary to remove your shoes before entering the shrine.
  • Photography: Photography is usually allowed at the Rankoth vehera, but it’s important to be respectful and avoid using flash photography, which can damage delicate carvings and artifacts.
  • Nearby attractions: The Gal Vihara, Royal Palace of King Parakramabahu, and the Shiva Devale No. 2
  • Respectful Attire: Since Kiri vehera is a religious site, dress modestly and remove your shoes before entering the premises to show respect.
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