With a circumference of more than 300 meters, Yudaganawa near Buttala is the largest stupa in the southern plains of Sri Lanka. It is built not as a hemispherical dome but in the Kotavehera type, this means, it’s cut at one third of the height, with a small stupa placed in the center of the upper level. Previous stupas at the same place, presumably smaller ones, are said to have been built hemispherical originally.
Local tradition has it, that Yudaganawa is the location where Prince Saddatissa fought against his elder brother, later Anuradhapura King Dutthagamani (2nd century BC). The term „Yuda“ means „battle“. Their mother, Viharamahadevi, and the Buddhist Sangha managed to reunite the two brothers, a stupa was erected on the battlefield in commemoration. However, the giant stupa that can be seen today, is more likely from the Polonnaruwa period (13th century AD).
Where is Sri Lanka’s largest hemispherical stupa building? Surprisingly, it’s neither in Anuradhapura nor in any other heritage site but in the town center of Kalutara, capital of the district of the same name in the Western Province. The dome is modern and in contrast to historical stupas, it’s hollow. Stupas in Sri Lanka were massive brick constructions sheltering very small relic chambers. Kalutara’s Gangatilaka Viharaya, built in the 1960s in thin-concrete technology, is the roof of a large hemispherical hall, which is open to the public. To learn more about the modern stupa and Kalutara town, please click here...
Nuwan Chinthaka Gajanayaka,