The Kotavehera in Dedigama in Sabaragamuwa Province is the largest stupa in Sri Lanka’s wetzone, which corresponds to the west and southwest of the island. It’s situated halfway between Pinnawela Elephant Camp and the river rafting destination Kitulgala, but not many tourists find their way to Dedigama. The Kotavehera stupa was built by King Parakramabahu as a memorial at his place of birth, as Dedigama was the capital of his father Manabharana, who was one of the three independent rulers of the island in the mid 12th century.
The Kotavehera is one of Sri Lanka‘s very few stupas the relic chamber of which was opened by achaeologists with special permission of the government. Actually, the brick cnstruction consisted of were two stupas with separate relic chambers, an earlier one was overbuilt by the large Kotavehera of Parakramabahu. The findings were spectacular. Some of them were brought to the National Museum in Colombo for safekeeping, whereas others are on a display in a newly erects archaeological museum close to the Kotavehera stupa.
Nuwan Chinthaka Gajanayaka