Mirisawetiya is one of the most ancient stupas situated in the Ancient City of Anuradhapura. It was built by the great King Dutugamunu in 151-137 BC. King Dutugamunu is one of the greatest kings of Sri Lanka, who defeated the Tamil invaders and brought the country under one ruler.
This stupa belongs to the Mahavihara complex. It lies on the shores of Tissa Wewa.
The strory behind the Miriswetiya
There is a rumor saying that this stupa naming as “Mirisawetiya”, as the king forgot to offer a pot of chilies to the monks before consuming it. In Sinhalese chilies means “miris”. It was a practice by the king to present a portion of all the foods made in the palace to the monks before consuming it.
According to the “Ancient Anuradhapura” by Professor Senevirathne, “Mirisawetiya” is the name of the village in which the stupa was in.
There is an interesting story behind the construction of this stupa. Some states that King Dutugamunu had gone for a bath in the Tissa Wewa. And leaving the sepulcher which contains the Buddha Relics on the banks. When he returned to the place where he kept the sepulture after the bath, he could not remove the sepulture from its position. And thus built the stupa in this place where the sepulture stood.
King Kashyapa 1 and King Kashyapa V renovated this stupa, but it got dilapidated from time to time.
What are the findings of excavations?
In 1873, when the Englishman Henry Parker saw the Mirisawetiya. And he saw nothing but a mound completely covered with large trees and bushes. Anuradhapura’s first government agent, Mr.J.F.Dixon cleared the area around the stupa with the help of Mr.Smither. And discovered a large Vahalkada. And also they found an image house to the west of the stupa.
Later on Dixon became the president of the Royal Asiatic Society’s Ceylon Branch. And with the help of the donations from the society, he enabled excavations around the stupa under the supervision of Mr.Burrow.
During the excavations, their main goal was to find image houses. And which are similar to what they found on the western side of the stupa. However, after discovering that the image houses on the eastern side of the stupa are already destroyed. And they were discourages and stopped the work.
In 1883, excavations started again. And they were able to find two image houses in the northern and southern sides of the stupa.