Lankaramaya (Anuradhapura)

Lankaramaya (ancient names: Manisomaramaya, Manithuparamaya, Silasobbhakandaka) is a Buddhist temple situated in the ancient city of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. It is also one of eight sacred places in the country known as Atamasthana.

According to historical sources, King Valagamba (89-77 B.C.) built a Stupa named "Silasobbhakandaka Cetiya" on an elevated terrace to the north of Ruwanweliseya and the Stupa presently known as Lankarama is believed to be that Stupa (Jayasuriya, 2016; Nicholas, 1963). The ruins around the Lankarama Stupa have been identified as the Manisomaramaya established by King Valagamba (Wikramagamage, 2004). Later, a circular Stupa-house (Vatadageya) was added to this Stupa by King Kanittatissa (164-192 A.D.)

Lankarama temple
Initially, there were a square on the dome and a parasol to this Stupa (Wikramagamage, 2004), but its original shape has been altered due to the later renovation works (Jayasuriya, 2016). The present Stupa is 15.24 m (50 ft) in height, 45.72 m (150 ft.) in circumference, and has a diameter of 11.54 m (38 ft.). The shape of the Stupa is Amlakara (the shape of myrobalan fruit).

The Stupa has been built on an elevated circular platform measuring 3.1 m in height (Wikramagamage, 2004) and is surrounded by three concentric circles of stone pillars: 20 pillars in the first row, 28 pillars in the second row, and 40 pillars in the third row. The inner circle of pillars has been fixed on the raised floor immediately around the Stupa and the outer circle stands just outside the enclosure wall. Four flight of steps has been built to access the Stupa ground. The remaining evidence indicates that Buddha statues had been placed around the Stupa (Wikramagamage, 2004).

The relic of the Buddha (part of the belt) and the jewels of Queen Somadevi are believed to be enshrined in this Stupa.

Lankarama complex
The presence of Vatadageya, Bodhi-tree Shrine, Chapter House, image house, residential units, pond, and the boundary wall in the Lankarama complex indicates that it may have existed as an independent institution within the Abhayagiri Monastery. Another opinion suggests that this temple complex could be a monastery reserved for the Buddhist nuns of Abhayagiri Viharaya (Jayasuriya, 2016). 

2) This image (Anuradhapura Lankarama 1927) has been released into the public domain

1) Jayasuriya, E., 2016. A guide to the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka. Central Cultural Fund. ISBN: 978-955-613-312-7. p.25.
2) Nicholas, C. W., 1963. Historical topography of ancient and medieval Ceylon. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, New Series (Vol VI). Special Number: Colombo. Royal Asiatic Society (Ceylon Branch). p.136.
3) Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major natural, cultural, and historic sites. Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka. pp.106-107.

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This page was last updated on 14 January 2023

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