According to the chronicles of Sri Lanka, there are 16 places hallowed
by visits of the Buddha.
These places are venerated daily by Buddhists of Sri Lanka by reciting the following stanza:
Mahiyanganam Nagadipam Kalyanam Padalanchanam
Divaguha Dighavapi Cetiyam Mutiyanganam
TissaMahaViharancha Bodhim Marichavattiyam
Suwarnamali Maha Cetiyam Thuparama Bhayagirim
Jetavanam Sela Cetiyam Tatha Kacharagamakam
Ethe Solosmasthani Aham Vandami Sabbada
(These sixteen places I worship always)
- Mahiyangana Raja Maha Viharaya
- Nagadipa Purana Vihara
- Kelaniya Raja Maha Vibara
- Sri Pada
- Diva Guhava
- Dighavapi Raja Maha Vihara
- Muthiyangana Raja Maha Vihara
- Tissamaharama Raja MahaVihara
- Sri Maha Bodhiya
- Mirisawetiya Vihara
- Swarnamali Vihara (Ruwanvelisaya)
- Thuparama Vihara
- Abhayagiri Vihara
- Sela Cetiya (Stupa) Mihintala Raja Maha Vihara
- Kiri Vehera
1. Mahiyangana Raja Maha Viharaya. Mahayangana (Badulta District)
This Cetiya (stupa) was built during the lifetime of Lord Buddha enshrining the lock of hair given by Him to God Saman an the occasion of His first visit to Sri Lanka, 9 months after attaining enlightenment. It is the first ever stupa to be constructed in Sri Lanka.
It was enlarged by Arhat Sarabhu to a Cetiya 12 cubits high after receiving and enshrining the collar bone relic of the Buddha taken from the funeral pyre. The son of King Devanampiyatissa's brother, for greater protection, covered it over and made it thirty cubits high. King Dutugemunu -(161-137 BC). dwelling there, while fighting the invading forces of the Tamits, enlarged it to eighty cubits high. It was subsequently rebuilt by Vijayabahu 1 (1055-1110 CE) and restored again during modern times.
2. Nagadipa Purana Vihara, Nagadipa, Nainativu Island (Jaffna District)
Constructed by the two warring Naga kings, Chulodara and Mahodara, at the site where Lord Buddha during His second visit to Lanka, five years after attaining Enlightenment intervened and mediated in settling a dispute over the possession of a gem-studded throne; This precious throne. which was offered to the Buddha, was returned to the Naga Kings and was later enshrined in this stupa.
3. Kelaniya Raja Maha Vibara, Kelaniya (ColornboDistrict)
This temple, hallowed during the third and final visit of Lord Buddha to Sri Lanka, eight years after gaining enlightenment, is situated 7 miles from Colombo. Its history goes back nearly 2,563 years. The Mahawansa records that the original Dagoba at Kelaniya enshrined a gem studded throne on which the Buddha sat and preached. The temple is also famous for its image of the reclining Buddha and paintings which depict important events in the life of the Buddha, in the history of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, also incidents from the Jataka tales lt is the venue of the annual Duruthu Perahera held in the month of January.
4. Sri Pada (Ratnapura District)
It is believed that Lord Buddha during his third visit to.Sril Lanka placed his footprint on the summit of this sacred mountain. So,the name Sri Pada the sacred footprint. 7,360 feet high, it is the fifth highest mountain in the country and has several approaches, the main ones being through the Hatton town and Ratnapura District. Annually, during December April, devotees climb the mountain to pay obeisance.
5. Diva Guhava (place unknown)
The cave in:which Lord Buddha spent the day after placing,His footprint on Sri Pada. From here He proceeded to Digha Vapi. The place is yet unidentified.
6. Dighavapi Raja Maha Vihara, Dighavapiya (Ampara District)
The cetiya constructed by King Saddha Tissa In 137 BC.at the site where Lord Buddha spent sometime with.Arhants absorbed in ecstatic meditation,during: His final visit. Enshrined are the relics of Lord Buddha.
7. Muthiyangana Raja Maha Vihara, Badulla.
A cetiya erected by King Devanampiya Tissa enshrining the relics of Lord Buddha. The site has been consecrated by Lord Buddha, who spent a few moments absorbed in ecstatic meditation.
8. Tissamaharama Raja MahaVihara, Tissamaharama(Hambantota District)
One of the largest Dagobas (Stupas) in Ruhuna is situated in the temple which is said to have been built by king Kavantissa in the 2nd Century BC. The Silpasena Pirivena has been at this site.
9. The Sri Maha Bodhiya, Anuradhapura.
The Sri Maha Bodhi Tree is the oldest historically authenticated tree in the world (2,200 years). It is the right branch of the very tree beneath which, at Buddha Gaya in North [India, Lord Buddha gained enlightenment, and was brought to Sri Lanka in the 3rd Century BC by Princess Sanghamitta, sister of the Arhant Mahinda, who brought Buddhism to Sri Lanka.
10. Mirisawetiya Vihara, Anuradhapura
The first religious edifice built b King Dutugemunu (161-137 BC), and according to the Mahavansa, the relic studded sceptre of the King is deposited in the Dagoba.
11. Swarnamali Vihara (Ruwanvelisaya), Anuradapura.
Commonly referred to as the Maha Stup.A, wbrk on it was commenced by King Dutugemunu and completed by King Sadda Tissa (137-119B.C.) For the relic enshrinement ceremony Arahants came from. all Buddhist countries at the time, which included India, Kashmira, Persia, Alexandria. OF the 6 dronas (a certain measure of capacity), of 'the bodily relics of Lord Buddha, one drona of sacred relics is ensbrined here. The Cetiya is 338 feet high.
12. Thuparama Vihara, Anuradhapura
The f irst historical Dagoba (Stupa) in Sri Lanka, was built by King Devanampiyatissa in the form of a paddy heap. The sacred right clavicle bone of Lord Buddha is said to be enshrined here, : The pillars capped with sculptured capitals ranged in concentric circles round the dagoba indicate that it was roofed over at one stage.
It is the first cetiya to be erected after the establishment of the Buddha Sasana in Sri Lanka. It stands upon a spot hallowed by the visit of Lord Buddha;
13. Abhayagiri Vihara, Anuradhapura.
Built by King Valagambahu (89-77 BC) on a site which too has been. hallowed by Lord Buddha. Relics of Lord Buddha, and the Tripitaka inscribed in gold leaves are said to be enshrined here.
14. Jetavanarama Anuradhapura,
It was constructed by King Mahasena (276-303,CE) the last King of the Mahavamsa Chronicle of Sri Lanka. The waist-band used by Lord Buddha is said to be enshrined here.
15. Sela Cetiya (Stupa) Mihintala Raja Maha Vihara, Mihintale (Anuradhapura District)
Situated 8 Miles from Anuradhapura, Mihintale is the cradle of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. It was here that in the 3rd Century BC. Arhant Mahinda met King Devanam Piyatissa who was out hunting, and converted him to Buddhism.Mihintale became the abode of Arhant Mahinda and 3,000monks. The Mihintate rock is honeycombed with shrines and caves where the monks lived. A stairway of 1840 wide steps leads from the bottom of the rock to the summit.
The Sela Catiya, The Kantahka Cetiya, Ambasthale Dagoba, Maha Seya endikatu Dagoba are all in this temple complex.
The Urna Lome, the sacred hair relic between the eyebrows, is said to be enshrined in Sela Cetiya.
16. Kiri Vehera, Kataragama (Moneragala District)
First built by a local ruler called Mahasena, upon a site hallowed by
a visit of Lord Buddha, it is said to have enshirned in it the golden seat,
from which Lord Buddha delivered the sermon, a lock of hair and the royal
sword (magul kaduwa) used by Prince Siddharthe to cut off his hair
at the time of the Great Renunciation. The place is also connected with
the reign of late Dappula 1 (659 CE) and King Vijaya Bahu 1 (1055-1110