Ruwanweliseya, sited in the sacred city of Anuradhapura, is a sacred place for many Buddhists all over the world. This stupa is the most venerated and most adored among the ancient stupas in Sri Lanka.
This was built by King Dutugamunu in 161-137 BC and was completed by his younger brother, King Saddhathissa. Soon after the war with King Elara. King Dutugamunu started building this stupa. And according to the Mahavamsa or Great Chronicle of Sri Lanka, King got the support from thousands of villagers to build this stupa.
In Sinhalese, it is also known as Ratnapali Stupa, Swarnamali stupa or Maha Stupa.
Like most of the stupas in Sri Lanka, this stupa was also built like a bubble floating on water (diya bubula).
Some of the Lord Buddha’s relics are enshrined in this stupa.
This stupa is 103m (338 feet) high and has a circumference of 290m (951 feet). And it is considered as one of the tallest ancient monuments in the world. Originally this stupa had a height of about 55m (180 feet) and was renovated by many kings later.
According to the Mahavamsa, this stupa was surrounded by two large paved platforms or courts, the inner one raised above the outer. Around the outer side of the boundary wall, there was a complete circle of elephants made out of bricks. And also Mahavamsa stated that each of these elephants had tusks with real ivory. Most of these figures have vanished by time, but some of the animal figures are still plainly discernible.
Ruwanweliseya is included in the “Solosmasthanas” (16 places of worship) and “Atamasthanas” (8 places of worship).