Monday, 9 March 2020

Mihintale Maha Seya

Mihintale Maha Seya
Maha Seya (also known as Maha Thupa, Maha Cetiya) is a Stupa located in the ancient temple complex of Mihintale in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. It is considered the largest Stupa in the monastery complex (Nicholas, 1963; Wikramagamage, 2004).

The Maha Seya Stupa was built by King Mahadhatika Mahanaga [(7-19 A.D.) Nicholas, 1963; Wikramagamage, 2004]. It is believed that the Urnaromadhatu of the Buddha (the rounded hair in the middle of the forehead of the Buddha) has been enshrined here (Wikramagamage, 2004). King Dhatusena (455-473 A.D.) built Ambatthala Vihara around it and handed it over to the Mahayana fraternity (Nicholas, 1963; Wickremasinghe, 1912).
The Stupa has been referred to as Ambulu Dagoba in Pujavaliya and in the Lithic records of Mahinda IV (Nicholas, 1963; Wickremasinghe, 1912).

The spire of the Stupa is said to be collapsed before 1890 (Wikramagamage, 2004) and in 1893, it was attempted to be conserved under the patronage of a prince of Thailand, but the effort became fruitless. In 1950, The conservation of the Stupa was commenced again by the Department of Archaeology and in 1965, the State Engineering Corporation involved in the conservation process. Presently, the conservation work of the Stupa has been totally completed.

The conserved Stupa is about 153 ft (46.63 m) high.

1) 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.164.
2) Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.170.
3) Wickremasinghe, D.M.D.Z., 1912. Epigraphia Zeylanica: Being lithic and other inscription of Ceylon (Vol. I). London. Archaeological Survey of Ceylon. p.81,112.

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This page was last updated on 6 June 2022
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